Bernie Smiling During His First Off-Leash Hike

Sunday morning Bernie and I headed out to Oro Valley to meet up with the Blaker family for a Ruff House Pack Hike they had organized for clients.

As we walked toward the off-the-radar trail head, all of the dogs were on leash and getting to know one another. Bernie was in heaven with all of the new sniffs.

 Bernie doesn't mind the chill in the air as we start our off-leash portion of the hike.

Once we got far enough onto the trail, the leashes came off and most of the pups went running. Not too far. The Blaker's dogs know this trail incredibly well, so they ran in circles on every loop we came across. Watching them scope out the new scents was entertaining.

Bernie stayed pretty close to me. For most of the single track hike, he stayed behind me. If he got a foot or two ahead of me, he checked in regularly.

On the way back, I thought he must have gained some confidence because he trotted ahead of not only me, but Crystal and her daughter.

He had found some horse poop he had to investigate. Aaaand that's the Bernster I know and love!

 As we were heading back, Bernie's confidence was clearly growing. He even moved ahead of me on the single track hike.
 Bernie gets caught smelling horse poop. I knew my guy forged ahead of me for a reason.
 Bernie smiles as he trots back toward me on our first off-leash hike.

After finding nothing suspicious around the horse poop, Bernie reported back. 

We spent just over an hour hiking, which was perfect for Bernie's first hike. I could tell that he was having a great time. Even though he wanted to run with the other dogs, he wasn't certain if he could or should on this trip. As we hike more, I think his confidence will build.

Now the issue will be finding dog-friendly off-leash trails in the area. 

 Bernie can't stop smiling during his first off-leash hike.

How do you find off-leash hiking trails?