We hike with our dogs, Ragnar & Tigris, pretty frequently. They often get complimented for how “well behaved” they are. Taking your dog out for a hike is not the same as just strolling your neighborhood.
Here are some tips for a good hike with your furr-baby:
- Choose your leash & collar wisely – You will want to make sure the leash you use is an appropriate length. Six feet is the maximum length that most places require. Anything a lot longer will be difficult to maintain control of your dog with. They will be distracted by creatures and you may encounter some rocky or uneven surfaces. A long leash will lead to trips, falls and tangles. Same thing goes for retractable leashes. Since maintaining control is an issue, also think about using a collar that helps you minimize pulling or distraction. We like to use the Pack Leader Collar from Cesar Milan. It helps minimize the dog’s ability to pull too much.
- ID tags – Make sure your dog is wearing a name tag with your contact info on it. Seems obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people immediately use “the dog has no name tag” as an excuse to keep a found dog instead of seriously trying to find the owner. Also, don’t rely on people to take the dog to a vet to see if it is microchipped. Your name & phone number may not be a total deterrent from someone keeping your dog, but it increases the likelihood they will actually try to find you!
- Extra Water & Bowl – Dogs get thirsty too. Make sure to bring your best friend some water and something to drink out of. Pet stores carry many options such as collapsible bowls or water bottles with attached drinking cup. Also make sure there is enough water for humans and dogs alike!
- Dog Treats/Food – This is mostly just for fun. Your dog will want a little snack since they’ll be burning calories. Also it can be a good reward during the walk. If your dog is staying focused and at pace with you, reward that behavior with an occassional treat. It will help reinforce the good behavior!
- Plastic Bag – Dog poop. Self-explanatory.
- Bear Bell – This is optional but if you’re going somewhere fairly remote you will want to make sure your dog’s presence is known to other animals. It will help alert bears, porcupines and other critters to stay away.