There’s one thing both Sterling and Dogmatix really love (besides a venti latte and a puppuccino) and that’s spending time together in the fresh air, digging the companionship, seeing new sights and smelling new smells. Sounds like heaven. But play day with your canine bestie could become a real downer if you and Pooch don’t do a bit of pre-exploring prep. To help ensure that your day of bonding goes smoothly, we’ve put together 5 Top Things to know about when hiking with your Pooch.
(1) While you’re still in the planning stage: Make sure both you and Pooch are physically up to it. If it’s been a while since you took a day-hike maybe you hold off on that back country hike through the nearest State Park you’ve been dreaming about, and instead go for a nice city park with walking paths, water fountains, benches, and green lawns where you can play Go Fetch.
(2) Pack accordingly: Even if you’re only considering a couple of hours out in the fresh air, the exercise and excitement can leave anybody thirsty and a bit hungry. You may not be all that tuckered out, but you’d be surprised how fast your Pooch can work up a hunger. So be sure to pack water for the both of you (with a collapsible water bowl for Pooch), along with some yummies for you both.
(3) Play by the rules: Unless you and Pooch are truly heading off the beaten trail, it’s guaranteed you will be meeting other dogs and humans along the way. If your dog isn’t yet trained for off-leash behavior, major problems can arise. Many parks mandate that all dogs be on-leash at all times, and off-leash only when the dog has been trained how to behave off-leash. Disobey those rules and you might get fined or your pooch might get into a dog fight (which you REALLY don’t want to be a part of). ONE OTHER IMPORTANT RULE: Bring along a poop bag. Use the poop bag. Put the poop bag in the nearest poop trashcan. Anything else is rude, crude, and unhygienic.
4) Be realistic: You can find any number of videos that show people and their dogs trekking through the mountains. According to the AKC, the top five hiking are the Siberian Husky, Australian Shepherd, German Shorthaired Pointer, Vizsla, and Australian Cattle Dog. But that doesn’t mean other dogs can’t go on hikes. From puppies to seniors, dogs love to explore and they can if you make allowances for their lower stamina, or their need for more frequent rest breaks. Or buy a doggy cart and take your puppy or oldster out for a chauffeured hike. Everybody wins.
5) Odds and ends: Make sure your dog has an up-to-date ID tag. Bring along a spare leash just in case. Bring along a towel or two for cleaning things up, and a blanket or beach towel for sitting on. Pack a small first aid kit. Don’t give up – if you’re doing this to get in shape, stay in shape, or socialize your dog, don’t give up! It’s all good.