A Guide for Four Legged Hashers
Below are a few tips to keep your dog safe on trail and to help make everyone’s experience on trail a positive one. Always remember that a few hashers will be totally put out by your dog but almost all will love a well-behaved dog.
- Keep your dog leashed. Other hashers will love a dog who isn’t knocking them off the trail, stopping in front of them, or causing trouble with other dogs. If you do decide to let your dog run off leash, be sure to remove the leash entirely. A dangling leash can take out nearby hashers or catch your poor dog on a tree branch.
- If your dog is excitable, shouts of "on-on" and blowing whistles will whip them up into a frenzy. Calm them or leave them home until they've mellowed out a bit. Even the best dogs will have bad momments. If your dog seems anxious or begins growling at other dogs, nip it in the bud quickly or stay back from the pack for a bit to let things cool down.
- Lights on your dog! Clip on lights or one-time use glow sticks are cheap and easy to find at pet stores or running stores. If it's headlight time for people, it is for dogs too. Even during twilight hours, your dog will be must easier to spot by other hashers on trail or by cars on the road.
- Carry poop bags (duh), and expect that you might have to carry them a long way (filled) until you find a handy trash. You could decide to flick the poop well off-trail, but everybody behind will know your dog pooped there.
- Make sure your dog is up to date on their shots and vaccinated against any and all STDs. Flea and tick protection is also advisable if your dog is running shiggy trails.
- Get them to poop off trail if possible. Move quickly when the signs are evident. But carry an ample supply of bags, and double-bag/knot them, or your fellow hashers will say "wow, this part of the trail really smells like shit".
- Training your dog to sit at checks or traffic crossings will make your life much easier. A dog will try hard to stay with the pack and pull your arm off in the process.
- Your dog will eat the flour. They all do. It's OK, as long as they leave enough for those coming along behind.
- Bring food for the on-in. Water too. Dog eats/drinks first, or the drunken hasher will forget. If your dog drinks beer, make sure they drive responsibly. If you can, wait till after trail to feed your dog. A meal before trail increases the risks for bloat and can give your dog the runs. You don’t want to spend the hash picking up diarrhea every ½ mile.
- Have a plan for what you're going to do when your dog gets really nasty dirty. Like rolls in human poop. A seat cover or pile of towels in the back of your car will help keep your seats clean.
- A 5' or 6' leash, with a grab handle attached down near the attachment point makes the best hashing leash. That way, when you really need to keep your dog close, you can do it easily from the short handle. Some hashers swear by the leash-around-the-waist trick, but some dogs pull too much. A head harness (Gentle Leader) is the best choice for controlling a strong dog. Choke collars can potentially injure your dog if it were to snag on something along the trail.
- Off-leash at the on-in can be OK, as long as your host allows it. But keep your dog out of the food, beer, and the garbage!
- Have a plan for your dog's evening when it turns out that a hash is not dog-friendly. If a trail is listed as A-B, be especially cautious about bringing them with you. If the On-In turns out to not be dog friendly you’ll have to take them back to the start immediately. It’s also difficult to find someone willing to give your wet, muddy, drooling dog a ride back to the start.