June 3 is National Trails Day which is the perfect opportunity to hike with your pup. If you’re anything like most people, you probably haven’t thought about teaching your dog to hike. I mean, its just walking in the outdoors…right? Well, yes and no.
Of course, our dogs can adjust easily to walking on different surfaces. What we need to teach them, is how to interact with everything else that we encounter on hikes. Here are my eight necessities for great hikes with your dog:
1. Teach your dog leash manners
When your dog doesn’t pull and has learned to wait for an invite to greet people and dogs, a hike will be so much more pleasant for you both. They will also be better for others that you encounter along the way.
2. Teach and practice Recall (calling your dog to you)
Recall is essential if you plan to hike with your dog off-leash for safety and respect to others. On the other hand, accidents can happen even if you hike with your dog on leash. For example, you can lose your grip on the leash. If you have a solid recall with your dog, there’s a better chance that they’ll come back to you when you need them to.
3. Use “Leave It” while on a hike
Numerous things are on the ground that could hurt your dog, make them sick, or worse. Teaching your dog to stop doing what they are doing and focus on you is a fantastic safety skill.
4. Your dog needs to know “Off”
No one wants a strange dog jumping on them. It can also cause a person to fall, especially on uneven ground. “Off” is the term I teach dogs who jump on people. Once your dog has been taught Off, it can be used to prevent them from jumping up as well.
5. Think carefully before letting your dog hike off-leash
While this can be a fun way for your dog to explore, it is much less safe than keeping them on the leash. You won’t know if your dog has eaten anything dangerous or been stung/bitten by something if you can’t see them. Not to mention the fact that you can’t keep your dog safe from other dogs or people who may feel threatened by an off-leash dog running up to them.
6. For your peace of mind – bring a first aid kit
You may not realize it but there are many kits specifically for dogs; however, a human kit can work well with the addition of self-stick wound wrap tape designed for dogs. It will eliminate the feeling of panic when you’re far away from your car and pup needs medical attention. For example, trying to help your pup who has a bleeding cut and you have nothing to clean/protect it long enough to get home.
7. Bring water and something to drink it from
Pack more water than you think your dog will need especially in the warmer weather. Be sure also to bring a bowl that they are comfortable drinking from. The travel bowls are great; however, test them out at home first to ensure your dog will use it.
8. Know your dog’s limits
Obviously, a golden retriever is going to have a much higher level of endurance than a dachshund. Older dogs and puppies will have less endurance as well. Be mindful of your dog’s specific limitations and stay well within them to keep the hike fun!
Want some suggestions on where to hike with your dog? AllTrails, provides a list of the Best Dog Friendly Trails in Washington.
Need more help with training your dog to hike with you? Schedule a complimentary call with our dog trainer Cathy today: https://app.10to8.com/book/zxznlfrciytyebkoug/. To learn more about her dog training approach, watch the short video on our dog training page.