I stop for dogs. I don’t care if I’m running on a quick downhill or an exhausting uphill, or if I’m on a smooth and groovy, wave-like trail, I stop. When I see a fluffy (or not fluffy, or an in-between amount of fluffiness) puppy (all dogs are puppies), I am instantly focused on asking the being how their day is going and checking in with them about how much fun they are having (*spoiler alert: they are all having somuchfun!). I don’t pause my Garmin. I don’t worry about my heart rate dropping if the pup is interested in a longer conversation (I don’t worry about that anyway…should I?). I just enjoy their smiling face and exchange of energy all in the name of trail-loving. Once our conversation ends, I give their parent a quick “take care” and head off again.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a pup that has been unhappy about their situation on a trail; they are typically pretty stoked that they jumped in their parent’s car and that somehow the car made all the appropriate stops and turns to get them to the woods. I love that about dogs and consider them (especially my Roo, of course) great teachers. Therefore, hitherto, it is of my humble opinion that the best trail etiquette out there is to stop and greet dogs. It is sure to put a smile on your face and will only add to their super-duper fun day.
Oh, and stop for horses too, but maybe don’t pet them.