Hiking with your dog is a fun and adventurous way to spend time together and get excited by the natural environment to explore.
Dogs, by nature, love the great outdoors, it's in their genes. Dogs like to go on long walks, swim, chase objects, etc. If you are one of those people who also live for the great outdoors, craves clean air and amazing nature trails, you and your best friend probably have a great deal in common.
Hiking is a wonderful activity and couldn't possibly be better spent than with your best buddy, your dog!
Hiking with your dog
If you and pup have never gone hiking together, you need to take a few things into consideration before introducing him or her to the world of hiking.
- First off, your dog should be upon his or her shots. You are going to be out among other dogs along with possible encounters with wildlife. It's also a good idea to make sure your dog is up on his flea guard. Forests are places where your dog could quickly pick up fleas and ticks.
- Secondly, is your dog socially behaved when in public? Dogs must be well mannered around other people and should be very controllable when encountering wildlife on the hiking trails. If your dog has not been well trained, you might want to wait until their training has been completed. Uncontrolled can be very disruptive and could pose a dangerous situation around others.
Now that everything has been checked off your list, it's time to cover some good ideas for hiking with your dog:
It's a good idea to keep your buddy to your right side, the edge of the trail when bikers pass. Your dog might just think this would be a fun object to chase, the bicyclist might not agree.
It's a good idea if you are going to be on a hiking trail that will possibly have bikes, to keep him on his leash for a short time.
Clear up mess
Always clear up the dog mess after your four-legged friend has taken their toilet break. Pick it up in a bag or bury it in a suitable location – but make sure to avoid using areas close to water sources or the actual hiking trail.
The rules and regulations vary greatly in various parks and in various states. You should check ahead of time before taking off on your trip. There are state parks that only offer designated trails for dogs while others do not have specific trails, but your buddy has got to be leashed. Always follow the rules; you don't want your great hike to end with a fine!
Some parks will allow your dog to be off a leash, but if that's the case, be sure your dog obeys commands well and also within a distance of your voice.
If he or she is not quite ready to come back when called, it is probably a better idea to keep them on a leash this will also keep them safe and out of harm's way.
First Aid Kits
You know, if you have been a hiker for some time, it is always advisable to have a first aid kit with you in case of injuries or mishaps.
A simple first aid kit that includes antiseptic, bandages and gauze will probably do well for both you and your dog should either of you have an accident.
Dogs love sniffing other dogs, it's a fact. Before allowing your dog to approach another dog get permission from the owner first. Even if your dog is the life of the party, not all dogs are alike and the owner of the other dog will know best.
On the Trail
If you wander off into the woods, your dog could decide to chase a squirrel or end up running into much larger wildlife such as bears or pumas! Also, leaving the trail could leave both of you in the middle of a patch of poison ivy – bad ending to a good day!
Staying on the trail will keep both of you safe, will not disturb wildlife, and not create un-needed trauma!
You will be encountering other people with their dogs, riders and their horses and wildlife. If your dog has never been socialized around horses, this could get tricky.
Horses can easily be skittish around barking dogs and could throw their rider. Make sure your dog is under control and will be quiet when commanded.
Small children, not familiar with dogs, can become frightened by barking dogs as well. It's always respectful to give way to other hikers, horses, and bikers.
Make sure a water bowl is packed for the dog when hiking the trails. Plus, for the hikes with long completion times, it also benefits to pack in a choice of healthy snacks. Hiking with your dog is more enjoyable when he or she is kept happy and hydrated.
Also, it is preferable to take along your own water supply to avoid issues with attempting to locate a fresh source of water or having to purify it.