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This happened on one of my hikes. It was a hike with two villages en route. Somehow a dog from the first village decided to stick with us. We were OK with it. Then he was followed by a small Puppy. Now we tried to shoo them away but they still decided to tag along. When we reached the second village, the dogs from that village joined us too. So now there were 5 dogs with us. They were with us for the whole hike.

It was raining so water wasn't an issue for them, but we couldn't feed them, this was a few hours of hike so that wasn't an issue either.

What are the implications (If there are any) when a few dogs/puppies decide to stick with you on a hike?

How do you shoo away a stubborn dog/dogs/pup/puppies, for their own safety? (I think it't not safe say for a stray pup to join you on a hike, considering that it might get displaced/lost/hunted).

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    be grateful it's just dogs. I've hiked with piglets (cute, but where is mama? she's dangerous) and chickens (just plain rude.) – Kate Gregory Mar 1 '17 at 15:29
  • Not a solution, but very similar story: we had the same happening on Corsica walking the GR20 from Conca northward. A dog accompanied us, even when pitching our tents in the middle of the macchia, to the next village. Talking to a local over there it turned out to be a dog having an owner in Conca, who regularly walked back and forth with hikers between the two villages. Moral of the story: do not conclude to quickly that it's a stray ;-) – Jan Doggen Mar 18 at 9:23
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I think the biggest issue here is that you're likely to find strays won't respond to commands that, for a normal dog, would work at keeping them from following (stay or wait).

I've actually had this experience as well when walking along a canal with my husband, a narrow boat owners dog followed us for a good 200 yards before we walked him back and got them to take him inside. Unfortunately with a stray, or dogs that are allowed to freely wander, there's usually no one to give them back to.

What are the implications(If there are any) when a few dogs/puppies decide to stick with you on a hike?

From the dogs point of view:

For a stray dog probably very little, most dogs have a good directional sense and can probably make it back to wherever they call home without an issue.

For an owned dog walking free probably again little - however, if the dog has tags, try and return it to its owner as it may have actually wandered off without them wanting it to.

For any puppy depending on age, probably this is the least favourable walking companion as for one, puppies don't have fully developed bones until approximately a year old, their bones are soft, and long hikes are never advised by vets until about 6 months old. They can damage their bones when they're still soft from walking too much. Also, puppies are much more susceptible to diseases like parvovirus, and other viruses which are spread by rats urine (commonly found along rivers and water sources).

From a hikers point of view:

Irritation is probably the biggest factor. You may find issues if the dogs are aggressive or there are a large number of them in a pack. If this is the case, try avoiding going near the dogs in the first place.

This answer gives great information about dealing with wild dogs, especially if they are aggressive.

How do you shoo away a stubborn dog/dogs/pup/puppies, for their own safety?

The usual way to get a dog to stop unwanted behaviour is to ignore them - this is a very powerful tool for a human as dogs want eye contact. Don't look at the dog and don't speak to it. Any form of attention to attention deprived dogs (so positive OR negative) will fulfil the need, common in owned dogs in the form of separation anxiety.

Also do not run from the dog! This is a game, you are prey, you're invoking the dogs natural want to chase. And stay calm, if you calmly walk away from the dogs they'll likely get bored. If there are locals around you can ask them to help you out, especially if the dog is known to them.

5 non violent ways to deal with stray dogs

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    "The usual way to get a dog to stop unwanted behaviour is to ignore them" +1 for this -- it's amazingly powerful. You can even go so far as to stand still, hands at the side, and look up at the sky. Even totally untrained dogs get the message very quickly that what they're doing isn't going to give them the attention they want. – Kathy Dec 11 '15 at 15:29
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    And don't feed a dog anything - this irritates me when I'm with a group and someone is trying to be nice and gives a stray a treat while on a hike. – Mikey Mar 4 '17 at 8:21
  • @Mikey very true! That's exactly how to keep the dog with you, and you can do them more harm than good – Aravona Mar 4 '17 at 8:49
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What always worked for me, when I used to live in a place where stray dogs were common, was to slow down, crouch, and reach down, pretending to pick up a rock to throw at them. Stray dogs are usually dumb enough to fall for this, even on a blacktop road with no rocks in sight! They'll go running. Immediately stand up and keep walking. (Walk, don't run.) They might come back. If so, repeat this trick. It shouldn't take more than two or three times before they give up and leave you alone.

Note: Just so no one misunderstands, actually picking up rocks and throwing them at stray dogs is not recommended.

  • This may or may not work depending on the dogs previous traumatic experiences. – Aravona Dec 11 '15 at 15:41
  • @Aravona: It worked essentially 100% of the time for me, but of course your mileage may vary. – Mason Wheeler Dec 11 '15 at 15:42
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    As I said it'd depend on the dogs traumatic experiences, not all strays were born on the streets, it may have been recently dumped. If that's the case crouching down won't necessarily work - if I crouch down my dog comes over to see what I'm doing. Only dogs which have been stoned will 100% react to this as a negative move. Also for dogs who are unsure as to if you'll actually throw a stone of not 2-3 times might be enough for them to realise you wont - intelligence dependant of course. – Aravona Dec 11 '15 at 15:44
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    This seems like a very bad idea, if the dog is aggressive it may just attack you. – marsh Dec 11 '15 at 22:12
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    The issue isn't how often it works but what happens when it doesn't. – djechlin Dec 12 '15 at 2:25

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