These are just a few of the ways hikers with dogs can maintain a safe and harmonious trail environment. You don’t need to make these rules fit every situation, just be friendly and courteous to other people on the trail. If they have questions about your dog, try to be informative and helpful. Many of the folks unfamiliar with dogs on trails will be reassured about the friendliness and trail-worthiness of your dog if they see the animal wearing a pack or reflective vest of some sort. (Indeed, I often encountered people on the trail who were enchanted by the fact that Parka carried her own gear.) If they have dogs, they’ll often ask advice on training dogs to carry a pack; if they are non-dog owners, they’ll at least smile and give her a pat.
Those of us who love to hike with our dogs must be the epitome of respectful and responsible trail users. When other hikers encounter dogs and their people behaving responsibly, they will come away with a positive experience. In this way, we also help ourselves by preventing actions that could lead to additional trail closures or restrictions for dog hikers.
In short, hikers can usually avoid problems with other trail users by always practicing the Golden Rule of Trail Etiquette: Common sense and courtesy are the order of the day.