I got my dog out of a rescue shelter 2.5 years ago and she gets so excited when she sees her pack, that I’m not sure I could leave her at home if I tried. I do walk her off leash and she likes to be up front, but she is so attached to me that she rarely goes far enough up to where I am out of sight. When off leash and I see hikers I call her back and hold her by the collar and on more than one occasion I have had other hikers thank me for it. On a heavily used trail I find it easier to keep her on a leash, though.
Here’s another tip – buy a tarp. I’ve had to whip mine out on multiple occassions to avoid a complete soaking. Hint: Get one with supports for hiking poles or one that has easy pitch configurations. Next storm you’ll be nice and dry and “Ridin’ The Storm Out” as they say.