Hiking: A pleasure for you and your dog
What could be better than sharing a hike with your best friend? Any dog owner who has witnessed the pure joy expressed by their pet when brought along on an excursion to the mountains knows how much satisfaction it brings. Dogs love exploring unspoilt nature and all the different smells and sights along the path. Many dogs also turn out to be talented climbers, confidently leaping from one rock to the next. Most importantly though, a dog’s joy is utterly infectious, provided a few important principles for hiking with dogs are observed.
Safety comes first, also when hiking with dogs
While the mountain landscape holds many delights for dogs and their owners, it is worth bearing in mind that the unfamiliar environment also holds some dangers. However, most risks can be minimised with sufficient preparation and all that remains is the enjoyment of nature and the fun of hiking with your own dog.
When it comes to safety, the key questions are always about the use of the dog lead. When should the dog be kept on the lead and when can it roam free during the hike? Experienced dog owners generally prefer not to restrict their pet, in order to make the most of their time together in the great outdoors. Nevertheless, three important points should always be taken into account when hiking in the mountains with a dog:
- In some areas it is compulsory to keep dogs on the lead
- The hiking trails are also used by other people and their pets
- Always bear wildlife and grazing livestock in mind
As a rule of thumb, remember that it is compulsory to keep dogs on the lead in Austria’s national parks, such as the Hohe Tauern park. For more specific information on this point, check with your dog-friendly accommodation provider, who will be happy to advise you.
Also bear in mind that other hikers may feel troubled by free running dogs. In addition, it is difficult to fully predict how different dogs may react towards each other. As a basic principle, please keep your dog on the lead when using a highly frequented hiking trail.
Lastly, consider how your dog is likely to react to other animals when deciding whether to keep it on the lead. Wildlife can often become the victim of a pet dog’s hunting instinct. Most commonly though, it’s the contact with grazing livestock that causes problems. As a rule, always put your dog on the lead when such an encounter becomes foreseeable, though the Alpine club does recommend releasing your dog as soon as a cow or other grazing animal shows signs of aggression. Equipped with this information, all that remains is to find the right dog-friendly accommodation and the most beautiful hiking routes for dog and owner.
Tip: When no lead is used, it can happen that a very active dog gets lost in the unfamiliar mountain landscape. This can occur if the dog runs too far ahead and the owner takes a different turn. Once a dog realises it cannot find its owner, it will generally return to the most recent resting spot, for example a mountain hut that was visited.
Dog-friendly accommodation and trails…
… are easier to find in Austria than many a dog owner might suspect. Our four-legged companions are welcome visitors in the Alps. Many mountain hut keepers are dog owners themselves and virtually all farms are guarded by a dog of course. Nevertheless, we like to make planning your stay that little bit easier by offering attractive packages to speed up the search for the right accommodation when travelling with dogs. Many of the hiking tips even include information on ideal stopping off points along the trails, to ensure both dog and owner get to recharge their batteries with a refreshing drink in pleasant surroundings.
o ensure that visitors with dogs can fully enjoy their holiday in the Alps, we select each hotel and hike with great care. After all, your time in the mountains should be special. We hope your stay will bring you lasting memories of shared fun, leaving both you and your pet keen to return.