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Hiking With Puppies

Updated: Apr 6, 2019

Have anew puppy and want to make them an adventure dog?! In this blog we will cover important information you need to know when hiking with puppies, training tips, encountering wildlife, how to deal with car sickness, and protecting your pups against fleas and ticks on the trails!

Getting Started

While we don't recommend letting your puppy hike right away, we do encourage you to expose them to various environments and situations. If you wish to take your furry bud with you on a hike be sure not to overwhelm them and carry them if they start to get tired. The exact age at which your dog is ready for hikes can vary depending on your dog's breed and or size.

Your puppies are still growing and can get injured easily if pushed to their limits. A safe age for you to start introducing hikes to your puppy is around 1 year old.

Things to teach your pup before hitting the trails:

  1. On & off leash manners. Train your pup to behave calmly on leash and have a strong reliable recall when let off leash.

  2. Teach them a leave it command. Train them to ignore things they might be tempted to grab. This way they won't get into trouble on the trails and eat or go after things they shouldn't.

  3. Greeting other dogs. Odds are your bound to encounter an off leash dog at some point when hiking. While we don't encourage your pup having to say hi to everyone they see, it is important that he or she is comfortable with random encounters of fellow hikers. Try and keep these meetings quick and keep your dog's attention.

Conquering the Car Rides!

Believe it or not most carsickness in dogs is brought on by stress as opposed to motion! Your dog might associate traveling with anxiety.

  • Make the car ride a positive, calm experience.

  • Make sure your dog has an empty stomach before hand. Most dogs won't get sick on an empty stomach!

  • Make frequent stops. If you know your dog can't handle a long drive, break it up and stop for little potty/walk breaks.

  • Open the windows. Get some fresh air in the car and it can also help distract your dog from the car ride. Make sure your dog is safely secure before doing this and never completely roll down the windows.

  • Crate your dog. You can buy a create designed for travel to put your dog in. This will help establish a safe place for them and make for safer travels on everyone.

  • Look out for the warning signs of car sickness. This includes listlessness, excessive drooling, constant yawning, whining, vomiting, uneasiness, lack of awareness.

Training your puppy to be off leash!

Please keep in mind each dog is different and we suggest training in a way that is best suited for you and your dog.

Steps to working towards having your dog off leash:

  1. Know your dog. Always be aware of your dog's body language when letting them off leash. Being able to read your dog is incredibly important at all times.

  2. Recall!! Do NOT let your dog loose if you know they will not come instantly when called! Use motivators like their favorite toys and high value treats to help train your dog to come to you when called. Start in an enclosed area, gradually working towards open spaces. Use tools like long leads and e-collars (only use after consulting with and learning from a professional trainer on how to use this device). Try to increase the distractions of other people, dogs, and even other animals to build your dog's tolerance to them, eventually learning to ignore them. Be sure to reinforce recalls frequently to keep your dog alert.

  3. Know the areas your letting your dogs off leash to roam and be respectful of any leash laws and other hikers around you. Not everyone wants or likes to get greeted by a dog, even if they are friendly.

Encountering Wildlife

If your dog is off leash immediately recall them.

Make noise, this will let wildlife know your nearby and avoid hiking through tick bush and off trail.

Be alert. Know the areas your hiking and educate yourself with all the wildlife you could encounter in that area.

Keep strong odors away. Any strong smelling treats or food you have could potentially attract wildlife.

Avoid any dead wildlife on the trail.

Keep your dog close. Don't let them wander too far or out of sight.

Wear bells, cary bear spray, take all precautions and be respectful. Your in their home visiting so be mindful of that.

Protecting against fleas and ticks!

Unfortunately it's not uncommon for your dogs to pick up fleas or ticks while out on the trails. We recommend using environment and pet friendly/safe shampoos and sprays for fleas and ticks. Some brands we recommend are Wondercide and Kin+Kind

We hope all this info helps you get your puppy or dog ready for the trails!

Happy hiking!

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