Hiking With Your Pooch: A Guide to Bring Your Dogs Outdoors

Nothing sweetens an adventure more than sharing it with family and friends.

But what about our four-legged furbabies? What if we wish to bring them to our adventures as well? There is no better company for an adventure other than your dog. While your dog may not have some of the capabilities of a human hiking companion, they are just as agile and intrepid as we are. More importantly, dogs can put a smile on any face and instantly brighten up any photos you might take.

And most of all, taking your four-legged friends with you to outdoor adventure and trips is an easy way to make friends. After all, who can resist petting a dog? So, if you wish to make your next adventure extra special, you might want to have your pooch tag along.

PROS AND CONS

PROS

The good thing about having a dog with you on outdoor trips is that you know they are always good company. For them to be effective, however, they need to be well-trained as well as good-natured. Taking dogs with you on outdoor trips or hiking adventures can glue the team together and at times, be an excellent conversation starter. More importantly, dogs are an excellent source of shared responsibility–especially when they need human assistance and they keep everyone in high spirits when the overall morale is low. As a result, hiking teams will be more tightly knit.

CONS

Dogs are already a lot of responsibility at home and even more so on outdoor and hiking trips. For this reason, ensuring that your dog is well-trained is imperative. Dogs tend to get fussy at times and as a result, they poo and pee in places where they should not. On camping trips, the unfamiliarity of the camping site might agitate them causing them to bark at noises or strangers in the night. Depending on the breed, dogs can tire easily. More importantly, not all people are dog persons, so you might have some individuals in your group averse to the idea of stringing along with someone’s pet. To them, having a dog in the group might be a responsibility they do not want to share. In this regard, you should always be prepared for whatever scenario if you decide to take your pooch with you.

INDISPENSABLE TIPS WHEN TAKING YOUR POOCH WITH YOU ON HIKING TRIPS

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1.) Choose a dog that fits your lifestyle

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As much as you wish for all dogs to conform to your vigorous and dynamic lifestyle, some dogs are better suited for the active lifestyle that other dogs. Not all dogs thrive in all outdoor conditions and in some cases, it might even cause your pooch undue stress depending on the breed. While most hounds make excellent adventure partners, some breeds such as flat-faced dogs like pugs and bulldogs are better left at home. These dogs often have breathing problems owing to their narrow nostrils and short noses. As a result, they are more likely to overheat.

2.) Always be in charge

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You might want to reconsider bringing your pooch along with you if you are embarking on a trip that requires experience or special skills that you have not learned yet. As an example, you should not bring your dog on mountain climbing or hiking treks if it is your first time. After all, you learn through experience and if it is your first time, it is best if you learn it on your own before bringing your dog. Having your dog with you on a first-time adventure would only be an added burden to yourself and to your group. Apart from helping you, they would need to attend to your dog (who has no experience either) as well making the task more cumbersome than it is fun.

3.)  Furnish yourself with a copy of the rules

One important thing you should do before bring your dog to any outdoor expedition is to know the rules first. Check if the nature park allows them in. While most places do, they have stringent rules on picking up after your pet or keeping them on a leash. To avoid sanctions and to promote more pet-friendly places, make sure you keep these rules in mind and respect them.

4.)   Help them adjust to long car rides

Most outdoor adventures begin with an extended car-ride (and usually end with them too). In this regard, bringing your dog would mean having to prepare them for long car rides. To do this, get them used to riding cars. Bring them with you wherever you might want to go and where pets are allowed. Also, keep in mind to stop every now and then for a pee or poo break.

5.) Give them time to adjust to people before bringing them along

While your dog might like you, the reality is they might not like anyone else apart from you. With this in mind, it is best to leave dogs who are not used to humans at home. As most outdoor trips involve some human interaction, have your dog get used to people first before bringing them along. Incidentally, it might help them better if you spend increasingly more time in common areas with a lot of people such as parks or dog-friendly malls.

6.) Train them

Dogs do not necessarily have to learn how to play dead or rollover, but they do need to learn certain commands such as “stay”, “quiet” or “leave it”. These commands will come in handy during your trip and are incredibly helpful if your dogs recognize it.

7.)Know when they need a break

Like humans, dogs need a break after strenuous activities as well. Always be aware of your dog’s condition as there are some breeds that tire more easily than humans. Also, keep in mind to have a water bottle for them handy as well as they tend to get thirsty faster than you do as well. Be attentive to your dog. If you notice them having their tongue out constantly or are breathing heavily, they might be winded, tired or need a break. Always give them a break whenever they need it. In some cases, you might even need to carry them.

There is no experience quite like the joy of sharing an adventure with your four-legged best friend. If you love the outdoors, you will surely wish to share this love with your pooch. Be sure to make the necessary preparations for your pooch and your trip and just revel in the joy of being one with nature with your best pal beside you.   

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