Owning a dog opens a world of opportunity to you. One of the most popular though is hiking up mountains.
However, and quite understandable really, this may feel like an intimidating prospect. Especially if you are not accustomed to taking on those kinds of challenges on your own, let alone with a set of four legs and waggy tail.
Therefore, the following post we will look at some of the tips and hints for properly planning a hiking trip up a mountain with your dog.
Training Before The Hike
This is perhaps the most important tip on this page. You need to make sure that both you and your dog are prepared for the challenge ahead, in terms of physical fitness. You also need to ensure that your dog is capable of obeying basic commands like stay, sit and come; because you will need them when you are trying to keep him or her under control. If they are not good with those commands, consider investing in some obedience classes before undertaking a hike.
A final part of the training side of things involves being aware that you and your pooch will not be the only hikers on your trek, so it is vital that your dog is okay with other people and other animals too.
Pick A Dog-Friendly Route That is Suitable For Both of You
Pre-hike training aside, the next thing you need to consider is where you are going on a hike. You need to make sure that there is a dog-friendly trail for that particular hill or mountain. Some have particular rules and regulations and may have a ‘must be on leash at all times’ kind of rule in place.
Further to this, particularly if there is a choice of routes, you need to decide on the best one for both of you. So rather than just thinking about whether a trail will be challenging enough for you or not, give special thought to your dog and their abilities. It may mean you have to opt for a slower, but less demanding trail. If there are parts where you need to lift your dog, then maybe look at a dog harness with a handle.
Bring Sufficient Water and Food
Hiking requires a lot of energy and hydration, for both of you. It is essential to buy enough food and water. With regards to food, you should just stick to their normal dog food and some of their favourite high-energy snacks. A large bottle of water will normally be enough for most dogs and so you are not holding it while they drink directly from the bottle, you can purchase collapsible bowls that do not take up too much space in your backpack.
Pack More Than Enough Poop Bags
The only way the natural world will stay looking as beautiful as it does is if you follow one of the most basic rules – leave things as you found them. If your trip generates rubbish, either take along a rubbish bag of your own or use any available public bins there may be on the route. Importantly though, you need to pack a sufficient amount of dog poop bags, and dispose of them in suitable bins, if there are any available.
Watch Your Dog Closely During The Hike and Stop Regularly
Your dog is your responsibility and you know him or her best. You need to keep a close eye on them though, throughout the journey to the top and back again. Watch for signs of fatigue and if they start panting more than usual or walk a little off-balance. To avoid injuries and issues happening in the first place, it is good practice to take regular breaks. Remember, it should not be seen as a race.
Be Sure To Enjoy The Hike
Lastly and following nicely from the previous point, a crucial tip for taking a hike with your dog is to make sure you enjoy it. That is the whole reason for doing it in the first place. Take your time, enjoy the sights, sounds and smells. Take pictures, and don’t rush it.