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Rant About Dog Poo on the Hiking Trail

Fittingly Mad: Dog Poo and Hiking Don't Mix

I planned a two hour family hike last weekend and everything was going well, until my little daughter stepped in dog poo. I was so thoroughly disgusted. Not by the smell, but by the irresponsible hikers that walked the trail before us. Not to be gross, but the doggy deposit was definitely fresh. As we were hiking up the mountain, I tried not to glare at every hiker we passed with a pooch.

I have no problem with dogs on the trail. We take Bonnie the dog with us all the time. I also carry a couple of bags in case she goes on the trail. I do, however, have a problem with a dog owner not picking up his or her dog's business especially when it is in the middle of the path. It's rude and disrespectful to the mountain and to the fellow hikers to not clean up a mess your pet leaves behind. I think it is a lot like littering (although it does eventually decompose, but like trash it doesn't belong on the trail). Do you have issues with this too? If you do, share them in the comments section below.


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SteveNO SteveNO 8 years
I agree that pet owners should clean up after their dog's mess. But what about humans? Imagine all those people in the third world DYING because of our mess? Where do you think HUMAN poop goes? Does it just go down your toilet and magically disappear? Does it flush down to no where land? What about our showers? What about the crap that goes down in our sink? Whether you guys know it or not, this affects the environment so far away that you just look the other way. Truth is that those in less affluent countries (third world) may not have water cleaning systems like affluent countries do and they suffer from all the pollution we cause. That is disrespectful in itself. Next time tell your daughter to not be so careless and step on poop.
steamboatdog steamboatdog 9 years
As a dog owner and a big hiker, I have to say I wouldn't be that upset. Certainly if you are close to the trail head or on a nature path thats only a mile long that tons of people walk through everyday, pick it up. If you are on a more remote trail, then just flick it off to the side. Its slightly rude to leave it on the trail, but poop is natural and you are in the woods. There is plenty of other poop from the Bears, deer, moose, fox etc. I am always side steeping moose poop and especially horse poop. Its just part of being in nature. But yes, dog owners please flick it to the side if you can find a stick, its just polite.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 9 years
Normally my doggie poops off-trail so I don't worry about picking it up (thankfully!). If she does poop too close to the trail I usually find a stick or something to flick it off.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
I agree with everyone who has said it is ridiculous to get upset about poop in the wilderness. If it was in the middle of the path, yes, the hikers should have moved it off, but are you going to get pissed that Thumper or Bambi pooped in the woods? I mean, it'a mountain. It's not a sidewalk. I get pissed when I step in poop that was on the sidewalk. Or dog pis in the elevator...yes, dog pis in the elevator because lazy dog owners don't take the stairs like the sign says. I have stepped in it so many times it isn't funny. Long story short...and this is from a girl who grew up playing in the woods and whose neighborhood didn't have a leash law...get over it.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
I went to a trail yesterday with lots of horse poop. It didn't really bother me. My dog went on the path; I cleaned it up even though my husband thought it was silly. However, for me it is an etiquette issue and a health one as well.
tngirly tngirly 9 years
depending on where you were it easily could have been deer or racoon poop too- so it may have been wild animals who left that for you to step in, not irresponsible dog owners. I always clean up our doggie's mess or at least sweep it off the trail if we are not close to a trash can but the places that we hike, we are just as likely to step in horse poop (and THEIR riders do not stop to clean it up!) or wild animal poop.
elsieoutside elsieoutside 9 years
As a dog owner I realize there must be some downside to my wonderful dog - that is poop. For all of the wonderful things he brings to my life I can pick up a little poop. So everytime we leave the house I pack a poop bag. Any for those of you who are so worried about the plastic there are many types of biodegradable dog bags available anywhere and they work great. Your dog is your responsibility and you should pick up after it, the same way you are supposed to pick up after yourself. Period.
karlorene karlorene 9 years
that is so rude- they could have at least moved it off the trail, and then it wouldn't have even been an issue
phatE phatE 9 years
I agree w/ Groby here.. if this was a sidewalk on a street, that would be different, but to compare dog poop to littering is just over-dramatic when you consider you're on a MOUNTAIN in the WILDERNESS, where any wild animal could (and actually does) do the same thing.. It is NATURE and dog poop is not a bottle, or newspaper, it's about as natural as anything else out there.. It would actually be worse in my mind for someone to scoop it up and then throw the plastic bag somewhere ( alot of times trashcans aren't readily available). SO, really all you environmental activists saying it's ruining the mountain and environment, would plastic be any better? If there is no trashcan, would you like them to put one in there especially for this kind of thing, so it can fill up and overflow? I am not saying it's not annoying, but in a situation like that, it's just expected.. I think any avid mountain hiker/climber would say the say that they don't expect to come back clean, and smelling like a rose.. Heck, when we bike, we run over thousands of disgusting cow "patty's" and while yes, it grosses me out..I am not going to go find the owner of those random mountain cows and glare or complain..It's not a sidewalk, so therefore I better watch where I am going, or else suck it up. It is what it is, and it's probably not going to be the last time it happens either (ESPECIALLY when you go hiking). I sound rude, and so I am sorry.. I just never read this section of the website because everytime I do, it's someone going on and on about someone else doing something appalling.. It's constant rants about diet coke, and not wearing suncreen, and now leaving dog poop on a trail in the middle of the mountain.. I mean, come on here.. Is it worth writing a post about? I mean, yes.. it's a hassle whenever things like this happen, and it's disgusting.. but wash it off and move on..
CoMMember13627830035102 CoMMember13627830035102 9 years
Actually, it just irritates me when people don't pick after their dogs where ever they happen to be (nature areas, parks, street corners, other peoples yards, etc). It's really about being courteous to the people coming behind you. That said, if on a walk and my dog leaves a present in the bushes I'm perfectly happy to leave it in the bushes.
Sumhope Sumhope 9 years
i can completely understand why you would be disgusted and annoyed. My dog is little and i make her poo in the bushes when we walk so i dnt have to mess with cleanup.
peregrine peregrine 9 years
Yeah, I have to agree with the above commenter. This is not an "environmental" issue. The plastic baggies and other bags specifically designed to pick up dog s*** are the real environmental issue, and some larger cities are starting to get concerned about it and trying to find solutions. Plastic doesn't really decompose for lifetimes. It's kind of silly to use plastic to "put away" something that will decompose, but people do it all the time (me included). There's nothing wrong with wanting clean places to walk, but there's nothing environmental about picking up dog poo. Hiking and making paths is actually itself damaging to the environment, if you want to get strict about it. Everywhere people go they bring their impact (dogs also bring an impact that involves how wildlife react to their presence). All that aside, I'd rather see people hike and enjoy and appreciate nature than not at all.
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 9 years
Oh and no parent can see the poo everytime before their kid does, I too look out for it (as I'm sure Fit does,too) but there are times when no one see's it, 'till it's too late. I ALWAYS carried a baggie with me when I had a dog. How hard is it to carry a baggie???
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 9 years
This is a pet peeve of mine too, I consider it littering,just like water bottles and granola bar wrappers. I don't wanna see the outdoors all messed up by peoples trash, and I don't think they do, either. I have had to pick up other peoples left behind dog doo and trash many times so my, or someone else's kids, wouldn't step in it. I think the people who litter just figure someone else should have to pick up after them. So aggrivating...
Allytta Allytta 9 years
it is frustraiting. but just in case remind your kids to watch where they're going. and look out for them yourself. my mom never let me step into poo, watching where me and my sister were going was her job :) of course i would watch as well... and it annoyed heel out of me that my mom would tell me to watch out, when i saw it already. i wanted to be independent :))))
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I like to take my dog hiking and on walks in the city and I always carry baggies. I always clean up after her, but it bothers me when I see other pet owners being less than responsible. It's a privilege to let your dogs hike on trails, not a right...if enough people don't clean up after their dogs, whoever's in charge of the park/trail may decide to ban dogs, which isn't fair to the responsible people.
groby groby 9 years
Yes, it's disrespectful to fellow hikers. (And gross, to boot) However, for those of you complaining it's disrespecting "the mountain" or "the environment", I suggest you get a grip. The mountain doesn't care, and dog poop is a part of the environment. It's a part nobody likes much, but that doesn't change the facts. (And if you're worried about dog poop runoff, you really don't want to know what else is in our streams... ;) If you want to do something for the environment, go after the hikers who litter instead. They are the real threat to the environment.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
Yes, I don't like irresponsible pet owners and irresponsible hikers either. It really bothers me when people trash trails andn scenic spots. I mean it bothers me when people litter in general, it's just worse when it's in a nature preservation area or something. I also don't like when people allow their pets on a trail without a leash (only if they're supposed to be on a leash obviously), I've seen more dogs go after small animals in the canyon because their owner didn't have them on a leash and it bugs me to no end. If you don't care about nature then why are you in a preservation area to begin with? ugh - this is a huge pet peeve of mine. and I don't know if the trail you hiked when this happened is in a preservation area or not, this is just what we deal with when we hike and it's upsetting.
cmd0610 cmd0610 9 years
Yeah at least bury it under some dirt or something! Dog owners should be smart enough to always carry a bag or something- not only is it icky for our shoes, but the run-off of the dog poo can get into streams and such- which then another dog might drink or you might wade in . . .it's a respect issue and I guess some people just don't have that for the environment or their fellow hikers.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 9 years
i agree...even if you don't have bags, if your dog goes in the middle of the trail its just common courtesy to find a piece of wood or something to get it off of the trail.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 9 years
Yes this is gross, not just on hiking trails either. On the beach even moreso! If you're out and about outdoors and your dog does go (and you don't have a bag handy), it takes nothing to scoop the shit up (using whatever you can get your hands on! A big leaf or a piece of wood or whatever) and put it somewhere you know no one is going to walk.
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