Trigger loves to go hiking. In fact every pup I have had enjoys getting out to romp in the woods. with Trigger it seems to be so different though. With my other Brit, he got excited when I pulled out anything orange. He was a bird hunting machine. with Trigger though, when I get out my hiking or backpacking gear, he goes crazy and starts howling and talking to me…. Dad…Dad….DAD!!!
Trigger loves coming along. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Jeep trip, a day of geocaching, or a backpacking trip, he is ready to hop in the Jeep, running over everything and everything to claim his spot. dogs need no planning to adventure. I really want to be more like my dog at times.
Something we have learned is the importance for us as dog owners to plan well when heading out into the wilderness with our pups and to keep them safe. We need to remember to keep in mind and be knowledgeable of their physical boundaries. On a hike a few years ago with Scout on the William Pogue Trail in central Idaho, Scout was nearing heat exhaustion. This is an especially dangerous condition for pups. fortunately, we recognized the signs and I had the physical ability to hike him out on my back, while Melissa kept him cool with water in a few key areas of his belly, ears, and paws.
Trigger and I go nearly everywhere. as many of you know my adventures include aviation, off-roading, hiking, and other extreme…and a few not so extreme outdoor activities. we have learned over the years that not all places are dog savvy and not all people see our pups in the same way we see them. We have made it a habit to check on the dog regulations for the areas we will be adventuring. Even though they often allow people with little or no outdoor experience to jeopardize themselves and others, U.S. national parks do not allow dogs to share the trail. Bummer.
Socializing our pups has been a huge benefit. Taking them to stores that welcome pups always get my business. This has helped us as well as our dogs to become polite and we have learned some great control techniques. Remember to Maintain control of your dog at all times. Dogs are required to be on-leash on most public trails. Most require a leash to be 5-7 feet or less in length. We keep our 30 foot lead for certain situations, and we never …. NEVER use an extendable lead. It may be great for everyday romps around the neighborhood to give your dog more freedom, not only does it teach bad leash habits, its really not sturdy enough to live up to trail conditions.
Lessons in stores such as Lowe’s and Harbor Freight has taught us a leash isn’t enough. Keeping our pups calm as other people and pups pass by. Be aware of any situations will upset or aggravate your Companion. Ranger does not like tall men for example. we have picked up a sixth sense when any male over 5’10 approaches. Trigger Is still getting used to other dogs and sometimes makes a slight “grrrr” (not a growl) and we stay ready to redirect him.
Be prepared. Sites such as peteducation.com have a lot of great info about dogs, including many articles about first aid. Petco and the Red Cross offer first-aid classes, which I recommend highly, to offer you hands-on help. In addition, REI.com offers a selection of books that can help. One that I read from time to time is the Field Guide to Dog First Aid by Randy Acker, DVM.
I have a huge advantage that I have a wife who is a vet tech. All of my pups at one time or another has had some kind of boo-boo on a trip. We have learned how important it is to make sure one of us is ready to take care of our dogs no matter what circumstances come up. Melissa gave me an AGS Pet First Aid Kit, which also comes with a great book to help me with what to do on the trail. I recommend reading it allot. I keep the kit in Triggers saddle packs.
Speaking of doggie packs, be sure not to load your pup down. Also, train your pup, beginning first with nothing in the packs at first, and then over the series of weeks, lightly load the packs with items such as food, collapsible bowls, and the above mentioned first aid kit.
Trigger has not taken to boots yet, but I do inspect his paws often for cuts, stickers, etc. I do have him wear a protective chest vest that not only helps me see him, it protects his chest from brush. In addition, since it is in reflective orange, he is easily identified bu hunters. Finally, I put two turkey bells on him. One goes on his collar and the other on his backpack. The bells give me an idea where he is at when off leash.
Everything Trigger owns has his name, my name, contact info, and a statement “requires daily medication”. Even though he doesn’t require daily meds, Ranger does for seizures. If found, the finders will work faster to bet your pup back to you if they know they need meds.
I love adventuring with my pups. It requires a bit more planning and sometimes bypassing areas that are not dog friendly. But I can’t think of not adventuring with my buds.