Hiking with dogs

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wandering_tattler
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Hiking with dogs

Post by wandering_tattler » Dec 12 2006 6:08 pm

My wife and I will be moving to Rimrock, AZ, next month from Alaska with our two dogs, and having never hiked with them in the desert, are a little concerned about taking them on the trails.

It's funny, but we have no problem taking them into the Alaskan backcountry where there are all sorts of large mammals that can stomp, bite, eat or generally mess up a domestic canine. But throw rattlesnakes and scorpions into the mix and we haven't the faintest idea what to do. :o

Are there any tips, cautions, suggestions, or encouragement that folks can give us to either ease or affirm our fears of hiking with our lab and kelpie in our new home?

Thanks!

Paul
Seward, AK (soon to be Rimrock, AZ!)

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EMWAZ
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by EMWAZ » Mar 05 2010 9:52 pm

Just want to subscribe to this thread.

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JimmyLyding
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by JimmyLyding » Mar 05 2010 9:54 pm

Javelinas won't be a problem unless your dogs chase after them.
I would wholeheartedly recommend get your dog snake-trained. The method my family has always used has been through a professional service, and I will warn you that it involves electro-shock training. It works much better and for a longer period of time on younger dogs. The trainers put an electro-shock collar on your dog, and let it approach a rattlesnake in a cage, and then they shock your dog. Seems to work pretty well except for my brother's dog Odin (1/2 of the Hate Crew) that jumped right over a previously-seen rattler on the Drew Trail.
We also have a pretty significant problem with rabies here in AZ. Skunks, foxes, and coyotes are all suffering from rabies here, and all are found in abundance in central Arizona, and they're at-least-as-big-a-threat to your canines as rattlers. I recommend keeping your dogs on a leash for at least the few times you go hiking until they get aware of cactuses (which every AZ dog I've ever handled out in the sticks seem to have a 6th sense about avoiding...), and you figure out (hopefully) that they're not going to stick their noses under every rock (a bad thing in this state).

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Tough_Boots
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 11 2014 9:49 pm

I just adopted a rescue dog and need some tips about getting her hiking. I'm not a first time dog owner but my mutt that I put to sleep last year was already too old to do any real hiking by the time I had begun to get serious about it. So essentially-- this will be the first time I've owned a dog with the hopes of it being a hiking companion.

I'm curious about how long of a hike I should start her with. Maybe hope for a first hike of 5 miles and see how it goes with every expectation of turning around sooner? I plan on our early hikes being pretty slow going as we're working on leash skills and basic commands. Should I go ahead and get her used to footwear? I will definitely have her on leash until I can get her solidly under voice control. Any experiences are appreciated and I'm sure there are questions that I don't know I should be asking.

Lily is almost 8 months old and about 30 lbs. and I'm expecting to her get a little bigger. She's an Aussie / Beagle mix so I'm hoping on her being a pretty hearty hiker. She loves other dogs and is getting along famously with my girlfriend's dogs so if anyone else here hikes with a dog-- she could use a role model :D
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Sun_Ray
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by Sun_Ray » Jan 11 2014 10:47 pm

@Tough_Boots
Your 8 month old dog is about 12 years old in human years. I would not start out at 5 miles but 2-3 miles in the neighborhood for about 3 times. I've never used booties on the 4 dogs I've hiked with over the years. Dogs require more water than you do and don't handle the heat as well as us. They are pleasers and some dogs will literally hike until they drop. Both my breeders and Vet asked me not to run the dog until it was a year old...hard on developing joints. You are lucky to have a new hiking companion. Have fun.
Brian
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outdoor_lover
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by outdoor_lover » Jan 11 2014 11:12 pm

Quite a Combination there Kyle! Hopefully she will have an Aussie Brain as she will be far more Trainable.... :sweat: I would start her out on easy smooth Trails as her pads are probably not real tough yet, but I don't think I would do Boots at all until you see how she does...It will take awhile for those Puppy Feet to toughen up and Boots will not allow that to happen as well...But I would recommend Boots if you take her up to the Snow...

As far as length, if it's a smooth Trail, she could probably do 5 Miles, but if she starts slowing down, turn around then, don't wait until she's totally pooped out or your Pack is going to get alot heavier....And I wouldn't take her Off-Trail for awhile yet unless it's easy, open Desert Walking without a lot of Rocks.

You have a combination of 2 High-Drive Dogs there...Make darn sure she doesn't come Off-Leash until her Recall is do or die Rock Solid and even then, if the Beagle Brain prevails, you may find that you can never take her off...It only takes one Rabbit and you can lose your Dog forever....I've seen it happen many times, even in places like South Mountain....

Also Train "Leave It" right away so she doesn't stick her nose in somewhere where it doesn't belong or starts to go after something....

Hopefully she's smooth and doesn't totally have that Fluffy Aussie Fur that will pick up every piece of the Trail...If you don't normally carry a Comb, start doing so, as well as Tweezers....

If you need any Training Tips, feel free to PM me and we can talk more....
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty & well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming, "Wow What a Ride!"

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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 11 2014 11:29 pm

@Sun Ray

Thanks! I planned on some longer walks before an actual hike. That's good advice on the running-- I will wait a while before I try to run with her. She's a just little underweight and I wanted to stabilize her diet before adding that kind of exercise regiment. Most rescue shelters must accept donated food to keep their animals fed. I don't think she's ever had a steady type of food and that can definitely take its toll on a dog. It sounds like I should wait longer than I had originally thought.

@Outdoor Lover

More good advice :D I for sure have no plans of taking her off-trail unless at some point in the far future I feel comfortable with it. Taking her off-leash is also something that I won't ever do unless I know for sure she can be trusted. My last dog was a beagle mix and that was a problem with him so it's on my mind. I will wait on the boots and let her toughen up first. She's quick to excite but also quick to calm back down and is mostly pretty mellow-- she's picking up basic commands very quickly as well. Her coat is smooth, short, and soft-- none of the fluffy Aussie business :)
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SuperstitionGuy
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Jan 12 2014 8:54 am

Kyle, good advice thus far, but for sure this dog will be easier to train and handle than the bear that is alongside of you in your avatar! :sl:
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friendofThundergod
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by friendofThundergod » Jan 12 2014 6:24 pm

@Tough_Boots
Well since I have ran into you hiking and at the dog park it seem appropriate that I respond..lol..yes yes yes on making dog a hiking dog!
Injuries and money spent from dog parks injuries this year seven staples, 11 stitches and $1,100.00 dollars. Injuries from hiking this year-ZERO..
hiking much better for dogs than dog parks!

Just take it easy with them and slowly get them into shape, all people and all dogs are different, you probably have a good mix for hiking..from the breed type..Although, having a beagle's nose can be a dog's worst enemy, as they smell everything and tend to follow scents with head down for miles until they are like, shoot I am lost! But I am sure you got that under control. I just commented in one of my trip-logs, Cup my oldest is nine years old and she just put in a 1200 mile year in 2013, including all summer and even supes in July and Aug. Although, that takes some planning though, super early start times (more snakes :? ) a few hikes of starting with a legit three gallons of water and out of sun in shade by water N.L.T. noon..

I am much more careful now, as my own stupidity and stubbornness almost led to me losing Cup about two summers ago..off-trail, 100s nasty black scree rock..I had to start from scratch with her,almost killed my best friend :(.. One thing that has literally turned back the clock for her is wearing shoes, believe it or not, she will literally ask for them on a hot day, or with rough terrain, I swear once she puts them on, she is a new dog..but I only use them when I feel absolute necessary, because I want to maintain her tough paws...she wore those shoes across Peter's Mesa off-trail in low 100s no problem, not possible otherwise, her paws and maybe breed just not tough enough for those conditions. Blanco on the other hand, being from Afghanistan has NO limitations I swear...he carries up to four days worth of dry and canned food, and I have never had to hold him back from a summer hike, Cup doesn't go anymore when its super hot. But if the pup develops strong pads from start and the breed is hearty, you can probably get away with no shoes, Blanco has never worn and I dont think he will ever need...

Start early with discipline though, remember if your dog does not listen well at home, that could spell disaster 5000 feet up on a trail in wilderness, or boudlering down a creek, scrambling up and down cliffs, etc..this is when you need unwavering obedience and it starts at home and early. I am fortunate Cup will stop on a dead run at a firm "leave it" or "thats enough" Blanco is still about 60 -40 :?

But hey if you want some role models lets take them out sometime, in a few months I bet your guy will be ready for some easy 5-7 mile out and back over-night hikes with cooler temps and plenty water...It helps, vet told me its good to have older dogs with young ones, "older dogs teach young dogs manners or something like that she said." I believe there is some truth to that if dog is with two other dogs that are staying with people he has no desire to leave pack and run-away when off leash, for example...

Finally, you just occasionally have to suck up your own pride and goals and listen to dogs, for example, my weekend hike stopped short of summit, Cup was beat...Bob P stated it well when talking to a lady on forum about taking dog on AZ trail, something to extent of are you prepared to stop trip for sake of dog's safety, even if it means giving up on a big hike..Dogs are perfect companions, but it will certainly add another wrinkle to most of your planning from here on out..

Does your girlfriend's dog still hate Blanco?lol

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Tough_Boots
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by Tough_Boots » Jan 12 2014 9:34 pm

@friendofThundergod

I think its gonna be a big learning experience. Being able to have her do the things that your dogs can do would be a awesome but I know I have to start with the small stuff first and see how she does. Like Pam said, even allowing her to hike off leash might not even be possible with the beagle part of her. I'll be getting her on big walks, continuing to work on her focus and commands, and hopefully sooner than later she'll be on her first hike :D

Gatsby probably still hates Blanco. He's not into bigger dogs and is jealous on top of that. We've introduced the dogs already and Gatsby has been a bit of a bully but that will go away quickly-- its already improving. Her other dog is great with mine, though. We'll have to meet up at the dog park one day soon. The new one at Hance Park is pretty nice.
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RowdyandMe
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by RowdyandMe » Feb 12 2015 5:19 pm

Now this will be the first summer with Rowdy and his fur is long and black. I am just wonder what I can do to keep him cool while hiking in the summer?
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Tough_Boots
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by Tough_Boots » Feb 12 2015 6:10 pm

@Widowmaker

Ruffwear makes some good products. Boots are pretty necessary when it heats up. If you get a set make sure they are the ones with the mesh material so that they're more breathable. Ruffwear makes a set like that. They also make a cooling vest for dogs that apparently actually works pretty well.

Once the heat hits, they'll be no more desert hiking for Lily. She'll have to come along on hikes up on the Mogollon Rim and towards Flagstaff. She's way tougher than she was last spring but she's still not a big fan of the heat.
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
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azbackpackr
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by azbackpackr » Feb 12 2015 6:26 pm

How about taking the dog to the groomer and getting a crewcut? I've seen it done.
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RowdyandMe
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by RowdyandMe » Feb 13 2015 8:14 am

@azbackpackr
Well he will be getting a hair cut soon but I still and looking for more ways to keep him cool. He really loves to go hiking and my wife and I no longer say the word hike in his presence because he knows what we are talking about. He just starts jumping to let me know he is ready to go. I love my Rowdy. :y:
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by johnlp » Feb 14 2015 11:38 am

If you take him out in the heat of the day you're asking for trouble. Very early morning or morning shaded hikes are about all most dogs can handle once the heat sets in. :M2C:
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RowdyandMe
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by RowdyandMe » Feb 16 2015 7:47 pm

@wandering_tattler
You just need to watch them they do learn. I spent three years in Tok, Alaska and three years in Billings, Montana and another twenty years in Coeur d' alene, Idaho. Then Seattle before Arizona and as a outdoor person hiking in Arizona cant be beat.
But then again I did give up fishing when I got here. What people here call fish I called bait in the Great Northwest.
Ps I enjoy hiking more than fishing. :y:
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BrunoP
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by BrunoP » Feb 25 2015 10:22 am

You humans are weird.


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chumley
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Re: Hiking with dogs

Post by chumley » Aug 13 2015 8:49 am

johnlp wrote:If you take him out in the heat of the day you're asking for trouble. Very early morning or morning shaded hikes are about all most dogs can handle once the heat sets in.
My dog was so loyal he would follow me into trouble. And it happened more than once. I was lucky nothing serious ever happened.

I had to learn to look for the signs of distress because he would always wag his tail and be "eager" to do what I was doing, even if he was dangerously hot, tired, cold, etc.

Laying down on a hike and seeking even the slightest amount of shade are warning signs not to be ignored. Breathing and panting patterns can also be signs.

Kai almost drowned once because he loved the water so much but didn't realize he couldn't swim forever and was well off shore. I could tell he was struggling by his breathing, and got over to him in time to give him a break and head for shore.

In winter, it was important for me to observe how he was curling up to insulate himself. I learned that his nose and ears provided a quick "thermometer" for me to judge how cold he really was.

Dogs don't know their limits. As human owners and caretakers it is our responsibility to make sure they don't ever reach them.
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