Hiking with your Pooches

 I absolutely love hiking with the girls.  They have the best time chasing squirrels and chipmunks, and I have the best time watching them.  And the bonus is that we all get a GREAT workout.

Things to consider when you take your dogs hiking.

Find a forest where you are allowed to have your dogs off leash.  Check with state/federal parks for places where you can take your dogs.  If you are in a large city, this may mean that you will have to drive quite a distance to find something suitable.  No matter where you go, respect the area.  Always leave a forest exactly how you found it.

Sharing the Trail
Be prepared to see other hikers, other dogs, mountain bikers, dirt bikers, people on quads, people on snowmobiles (in the winter), and people on horses.  So make sure your dogs are under good voice control before you venture out into a forest.  When you encounter other trail users, get your dogs out of the way and let people pass you.  When my dogs hear an engine, they're pretty good at running to me.  We stop by the side of the trail and let people go by.  Be aware that horses spook easily and may injure themselves trying to get away, so be extra careful.  Bottom line: share the trails, be polite, and be friendly.  

Let Them Run
Let your dogs run around.  They will chase chipmunks and squirrels and bunnies.  They are not likely to catch them.  Don't call your dogs, just keep hiking.  Let them keep track of you.  My dogs run around through the trees and I don't see them, but if I stop to tie a shoe lace or get some water, they come running.  They get the best workout when they run like that.

Consider the Weather
If it's going to be really hot, don't take your dogs on long hikes.  It is usually cooler in the forest because of the shade, but avoid hiking during heat waves in the summer.  In the winter, pick clear sunny days.  Be aware that your dog may need a jacket if it's really cold.  Also, consider the conditions you will be hiking in.  If your dog is used to lawns and concrete, they may not do so well running around in the desert hot rocks and gravel, so they may need shoes or an adjustment period.

In the summer I bring 1 Liter of water per dog per hour of hiking.  That means that I'm carrying 4L of water for the dogs for a 2 hour hike.  Plus water for me.  Give them a bit of water often, as opposed to a big drink less frequently.  I give them water about every 20-30 minutes, depending on the temperature.  In the winter we don't bring water, because they don't get as hot and they eat the snow.  I don't bring food.  I feed them before we head out, and again when we get home.

Your Dog's Physical Condition
You may have to ease your dog into hiking if all they get is leash walking.  Off leash dog parks are a great transition.  Also start them with short hikes.  Always pay attention to your dog.  Winded is good, exhaustion is bad.  Water breaks will help.  You may need to let them chill for a bit and give them a breather.  You can hike with puppies too, but on short hikes and not in extreme weather.  

Have Fun
Our dogs pick up on our emotions.  Your dog will have more fun if you have fun too.  Also keep in mind that your dogs are less likely to try to protect you and be aggressive towards anyone else you may encounter on the trails.  So relax, breathe, and enjoy.  It will be good for both you and your furry companion(s).

So find areas near you and go explore.  You'll have a blast! 


Katie said...

I just found your other blog and love it. Then I saw this one!
As a new dog mom, there is a lot here I'm interested in. Very cool.
Look forward to reading more and am now following you on both blogs.

K9friend said...

Great suggestions! Of course I have a stubborn terrier. No off leash for us unless it's in a dog park!


Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

We love taking our dog to the park with us to walk through the metropark trails. We have to keep her on a leash though. I wish we knew a safe place where we could just let her run. Her leash came off once and she took off running and had a blast. We were frantic because busy roads were close by and we kept calling and calling and she didn't come back. She was just having too much fun! We did get her back with the assistance of someone who was able to hold on to her collar until we got there.

Beth said...

Following you here too from your other blog! Hope you'll stop by and say hi!

Beth @ Two Monkeys & a Washtub

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled upon your blog today and love it! Love this post. New follower and just wanted to say hi = ) Happy Sunday!

Miley said...

I'm new to this blog and really enjoy it. I'm now following too.

Anyway hiking sounds fun! Maybe Sarah would take Sparky and I for a nice long hike one day! Thank you for the idea.
One time on our visit to the farm, they have 80acres. Anyway, we went for a long walk around the perimeter, and on the other was bush. I would dart in and out of the property, and they were many new smells. I think a hike would be similar to that. :)

I'm sure we are going to be grreat furends!
Cuddles and licks,
Love Miley xxx

P.S. I love your banner and the bottom banner too. So cute. :)

Miley said...

How did you get that cute font for you post titles?

Holly Diane said...

Great post! I love taking my furchildren to the dog park and the beach..we've not tried hiking or camping yet because of all the wild life here but I'm working up to camping soon.

Alisha said...

Love this! Never thought before to take my baby for a hike. All he really knows is leash walking/running. That would definitely be an experience for him! But like you said, I'd have to ease him into it.. Thanks!! :)

Miss Kodee said...

We get out hiking almost every weekend! Your stream picture is very nicely captured. Our humans take a treat bag on hikes too, as you never know when Becky is going to pick something up off the ground. She is good about trading for a treat, not so good on drop it lol

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