Appalachian Trail: To Dog or Not To Dog?

I’ve been gathering my gear list for the AT, and I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock: Should I get a dog?

I don’t want to hike the trail alone, but I’m not sure I want to go with another person either, so a dog seems like a good idea.  However, there are obviously potential problems with that.
So my Pro/Con list! I wrote the Cons first, and the Pros afterwards, so read them in that order.
    Cons                           |   Pros
  • Need more gear                       |  Dog can carry some gear
  • Another mouth to feed         |   Protection from animals (won’t need bear bag, etc)
  • Can’t go on some sections       |   I won’t be alone
  • I’d have to get a new dog          Another dog will have a good home!
  • Training the dog                    |  Training the dog
  • Can’t stay in Shelters               |  No fighting over pace/where we stop
  • People don’t like dogs on AT  |  They don’t mind/like well behaved dogs
  • Can’t stay in motels/hotels      |   From what I’ve heard I don’t want to
  • Dog will get dirty                    |  It’ll help my anxiety
The last pro is one of the biggest selling points.  The reason training the dog is both a con and a pro is because I will have to teach it a lot, and I don’t have experience with all of the command it will need to know, but dog training is one of my hobbies, and I enjoy it!
If you were to hike the AT (or are thinking about it) what are some more reasons you would, or wouldn’t, take a dog?  Let me know!

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