Canadian Rockies with dog?

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Mar 16th, 2008, 11:11 AM
  #1
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Canadian Rockies with dog?

We would like to travel the Banff-Lake Louse-Jasper route in early fall (late Sept-early Oct), and would like to take our buddy (12 year old Lab mix) with us. US National Parks are very restrictive about dogs; does anyone know if leashed dogs might be permitted on trails in Canadian NP's? If not, would there be any "doggy day care" places in the area where we could leave him while we take an occasional hike? Thanks so much.
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Mar 16th, 2008, 07:09 PM
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Here is a page with detailed information about Jasper and the park & town regulations there:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g1...rta:-pets.html

For Banff National Park, I'd suggest visiting the Banff NP webpage - Parks Canada is www.pc.gc.ca , then find Banff in the list of parks. I know that Banff has some trails where there are protective measures (for grizzly bears) that require hikers to stay together in tight groups of at least four people - I'd be surprised if you were allowed to take a dog on those trails. There are also some trails in Jasper NP where dogs are not permitted (in caribou habitat). It'd be best to ask at the trail office before you go.

Basically, in Jasper NP, dogs are permitted (onleash) everywhere except those few trails... the park regulations forbid dogs being offleash anywhere in the park except your own yard (or, in Jasper, while supervised at the dog park), and wardens can ticket you - or worse - shoot your dog if it chases wildlife. Today, I witnessed a very sad example of why this is the law - this happened in a residential neighbourhood right at the edge of town, this afternoon: a loose dog was chasing a deer. The deer fell and broke its leg, and the wardens had to come and shoot it. The dog had taken off by the time they arrived; I know that they were patrolling for the rest of the afternoon, looking for it, and if they find it, I imagine its owner will, at the very least, face a big fine.

So, the law says dogs must be leashed... however, in reality, most owners of reasonably well-trained dogs in Jasper walk/run their dogs offleash on the local trails, keeping a lookout for the wardens. Obviously you have to keep your dog under control, and not allow it to bother other trail users.

Late September is the middle of the elk rut, and you and your dog don't want to get caught anywhere near a bull elk and his harem of cows. Also, bears, both black and grizzly, are wandering widely at that time of year - in feeding "overdrive" - and the chance of an encounter is higher then than other times of the year, so you'll want to keep your dog close to you. Coyotes have also been known to lure domestic dogs away from their owners, and kill them.

There is not a doggy day care in Jasper; there is no kennel or dog facility of any kind, other than the vet clinic. I don't know about Banff.

About hiking - one thing to consider is that by late September/early October, depending on the weather, your hiking options may be somewhat limited. Early October is well into fall in the Rockies, and the subalpine/alpine areas (above 5000 ft or so) will already have had snow, and trails can be icy and/or slippery. The trails lower down and in the valley bottoms will still be great though.

Dog friendly accommodation is few and far between, so you will want to book ahead.

Hope this helps.
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Mar 18th, 2008, 01:18 PM
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Dogs have a way of bringing the bears right to you. We saw the tail end of an incident in Glacer, USA. The dog was making a frantic dash for his family's truck. Fortunately everybody got inside, dog included, ahead of the bear.

The time was mid September and bears were coming lower to feed.

Regardless of location, bear behavior is consistently unpredictable, but the principle holds: Dogs often attract bears!
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Mar 20th, 2008, 12:08 AM
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Bob said: "Dogs often attract bears!"

You are overstating this a bit, Bob. It IS true that this can happen, but it does not happen often. If your dog is running loose and meets a bear, the dog is likely to come running right back to safety - you. And the bear may come with it. There was an incident of this in Jasper NP last year, which, according to the story in the local newspaper, resulted in a the owner getting a sprained ankle, a bite to the thigh from the bear, and quite a scare before the (black) bear ran off.

So, yes, it CAN happen. The (much!) more common scenario is that the bear runs off. And to put it in perspective, many locals own dogs and are out on the trails with their dogs on a daily basis and never have a problem. My dog and I spent 12 years on trails all over the park - and I can count on one hand the number of bear encounters we had. (He had another handful of bear encounters out running on the trail with my husband.) None of them resulted in a bear approaching. (But we did twice get chased by elk, which statistically are FAR more dangerous to humans in the national parks than bears are!)We no longer own a dog, but are out with friends' dogs on a regular basis, several times a week.

Azzure, just use your common sense - keep your dog on leash, or under control very close to you, and keep your head up and watch out for wildlife. I almost always see animals before my four-legged companions do, which goes a long way to avoiding any nasty surprises. Your dog is 12 - I am guessing it is not as spry as in younger days anyway - and probably not as impulsive or prone to chasing wildlife as a younger dog might be.
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Mar 20th, 2008, 11:37 AM
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Thanks so much for the replies -- krp, our dog has had one or two bear encounters here at home (Washington's Olympic Peninsula); each time the bear (fortunately) ran off. I'm not sure what our dog would do now that he's 12, but he still thinks the neighborhood cats are fair game. We would definitely keep him on a leash!

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Mar 20th, 2008, 09:39 PM
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Perhaps I did overstate it, but grizzlies are not to be trifled with.

In the Smokies, black bears can sometimes be scared off or even chased away with pellets from a slingshot.

I have seen that happen at Mt. LeConte Lodge in the Smokies. We were eating in the lodge when the pack llamas sounded a warning. The packer heard the sound, knew what it was, and ran outside with his sling shot and shot poor old Mildred in the stern. She fled.

I am not sure that pelting a grizzly with a slingshot slug would be a sufficient deterrent. I know one, thing, however, I am not applying for the job to perform field testing with sling shots to see if they are an adequate defense against grizzly bears.



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Mar 21st, 2008, 04:57 PM
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The best way to avoid bears - grizzly or black - when you are hiking (with or without a dog) is to be noisy. If the bears know you are around, chances are you will never know they are there. Bears are not "ferocious" by nature - unless cornered or protecting cubs or a food source, most bears would just as soon stay away from humans. Grizzlies have a reputation for being aggressive, but it's actually black bears that are known to act in a predatory manner to humans more often (and it is VERY rare.)
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Apr 3rd, 2008, 05:47 PM
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You don't say if you are traveling to the Banff area from the U.S. If you are, you need to get a special certificate from your vet in order for your dog to cross the border with you.
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Apr 3rd, 2008, 09:43 PM
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Hi - we've traveled into Canada with our dog before, and the only document required was proof of rabies vaccination -- which we always brought along with us, and which nobody ever asked to see. If you know if the regulations have changed, please let me know. Thanks.
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Apr 8th, 2008, 06:28 PM
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A few years ago, we went to Canada with our friends. They had a special permit from their vet that was asked for at the border. The next year we got one for our dog but ended up leaving him home so we didn't use it.
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