Tails from the trail and tips on training your human

How to Prepare Dogs for a Hiking Trip

Prepare Dogs for a Hiking Trip - Happy Breath

Dogs for a Hiking Trip | Dogs love being outdoors. They are active and playful creatures who would enjoy a quick run or a long peaceful walk any time of the day and anywhere. Whether it’s a beach day, road trip, or hiking tour, it’s understandable why you would want your furry friend next to you.

While all of these trips require planning and preparation, they are not as challenging as hiking. To enjoy hiking with your dog and make memories on the trail, you and your pet must have some physical training that builds stamina. Alongside this, you should fully trained your dog to follow orders so that you can comply with trail etiquettes.

Thus, if you’re looking out for some tips and tricks on hiking with dogs, here are nine things you may want to consider when preparing your canine.

9 Tips To Prepare Your Dog

Consider Its Age

Before you start training your dog for hiking, make sure you evaluate its age. If your pet is a puppy, then it’s not a good idea to take it hiking as it does not have the energy to climb up difficult terrain. Even with training, it will not have the stamina needed to continue on a high-altitude hike.

Moreover, if you have a senior dog, it may lack the vigor and agility needed to maneuver through twists and turns during hiking. Therefore, before physical preparation, make sure your dog is in a suitable age bracket to take up the challenge.

Know Its Nature

Your canine may tick all the boxes for a great hiking partner, but if you haven’t understood its nature, then it may be troublesome when you’re hiking with dogs. Since all dogs vary in their nature and attitude, you should consider if your dog can withstand challenges and difficulties in a not-so-ideal environment.

However, if your pet gets rowdy easily, and takes time to calm down, then it’s probably not a good idea to have them accompany you on a hiking trek. A great way to test this is by paying close attention to its behavior when you’re outdoors.

Vet’s Permission

One of the most important aspects of hiking preparation is seeking the vet’s permission for any strenuous activity. Your pet may not show any signs of illness or anything of that sort, but visiting a vet may reveal an underlying condition that could have aggravated during a hiking trip. Furthermore, it’s also important to sort out their vaccinations to protect from any illness during the journey. Hence, make sure your pet’s vet gives you a green signal by eliminating all possible risks that might hinder a wonderful hiking experience.

Physical Training

One of the safety tips for hiking with dogs is to train them physically, so they have enough stamina to withstand this challenge. To do this, you should take your dog for regular walks, so their calf muscle develops and they get used to running long distances.

Moreover, if you plan to make your dog carry their own backpack, then practice walking with a full backpack so they can get used to carrying some weight. However, make sure the backpack does not strain their body and is synonymous with your pet’s weight.

Test Your Commands

Before taking a hiking trip, make sure your dog remembers your commands, so you have control over it. Try to create scenarios where you can practice certain commands to see if your pet remembers them. One aspect of trail etiquette is ensuring your dog is obedient. However, this is only possible if your dog is able to act on your commands instantly. Moreover, you can develop special commands for hiking if you and your dog are frequent hikers.

Know Trail Rules for Dogs

Although hiking with dogs is a popular activity, it’s your responsibility to find out trail rules beforehand. Some trails do not allow dogs, even on a leash, so it may become an issue if you discover it at a later stage. Therefore, to save yourself and your dog any trouble, make sure you check out your chosen trail’s website or talk to people who have used the trail before.

Go For A Test-Run Hike

Before you choose a challenging hiking trail, take your dog for a test run on a slightly less challenging hike. This way, your dog will get acclimated to the altitude, environment and even the wildlife present on the trail. When you’re hiking with dogs, you may discover things you may need to work on before embarking on a difficult trail. Thus, consider this test run as part of the preparation.

Feed Them Accordingly

When you’re preparing your dog for hiking, it’s using all its energy to build stamina and muscles. Therefore, make sure you feed it accordingly, even if it means increasing the usual diet. To get a better idea, talk to your dog’s vet, and they may suggest your dog some supplements to ensure health and nutrition.

Make Them Carry a Dog Backpack

To make sure you are prepared for everything, make sure your dog has a backpack of its own. You may also strap it onto your canine, so your weight is shared. Ideally, a dog backpack must contain items that your pet will need during the hike. A collapsible bowl, first-aid kit, and seasonal clothing are some of the items you will need. But before you begin hiking, make sure you cross them all from your list, so you don’t miss out on anything.

The Bottom Line

Having a loyal companion and protector by your side as you enjoy scenic views while hiking is one of the best memories you can make with your pet. However, this does not mean that you don’t consider trail etiquettes along with your dog’s physical health. Therefore, you must ensure you train your dogs by undertaking all safety tips, so there is little chance of your pet troubling you at a high altitude.