It’s that time of year again when the days are starting to get shorter and the crisp cool air brings a fresh sense of adventure. Getting outdoors with your dog is one of the best ways to enjoy nature and continue to build that special bond with your dog. There is something about being out in nature with your best friend that brings a sense of peace and happiness to the soul.
Below are several tips to consider when you hit the trails to go hiking with your dog:
Select a trail
There are lots of things to consider when choosing a trail for you and your buddy. Make sure you choose one that is appropriate for you AND your dog. Consider the length, terrain and location and do your best research on the trail before you head out. This will ensure a safe experience and save you the trouble of finding out otherwise, once you get there. Check out these dog friendly trails across the nation:
Preparing for your hike
We often times think that if we are prepared for a long hike that our dogs must be also. But making sure your dog is just as ready as you are will provide a much better experience once you get to your trail.
Traffic & wildlife
Who or what will be on the trail. Does this trail have lots of wildlife or lots of other dogs? Is there cyclists or families with kids? Before heading out, consider how your dog will react to these different types of scenarios that you may encounter.
Make sure you and your dog are physically ready
If it’s been a while since you guys have hiked, walked or ran together, it’s best to start slow so that you both can build up your endurance. Hiking can be very physical and depending on the trail, you will take many more steps – both left and right and up and down – compared to a normal flat trail. Begin with a short trail with simple terrain and continue to work your way up to longer more challenging trails.
Most parks do allow dogs with the exception of some our National Parks. Make sure you know the rules before if the trail or park before you head out, even it if it’s just a small local trail.
Train your dog
Making sure your dog listens to you and knows basic commands can be a life saver when on the trails. With lots of other traffic and distractions on the trail, it’s important that your dog knows how to sit and walk well on a leash.
Take snacks and water
These are essential for both you and your dog. Consider the time of day, the weather and the location of where you and your dog will be hiking. Bring food and water that is easy to access and convenient for you both. Consider packing a portable water bowl for your dog and make sure you pack enough of each in case of an emergency.
Always bring a leash
You should always check the rules of the park or trail you are going to. But even if it’s a trail that allows your dog to be off leash, make sure that you bring the leash anyway. You never know what you may encounter, and it’s just a best practice to have your dog on a leash. Our hands free dog leash is a great option for having your dog on a leash while allowing you both a little more freedom.
Harnesses are great for hiking
Having your dog wear a harness is such a smart idea when hiking. Our adventure dog harness is unlike a collar, and will help to even out the force when your dog is pulling. This is especially important when hiking elevations and uneven terrain.
We wish you the best on your next adventure and always remember to:
- Love your dog
- Have fun
- Enjoy and Respect nature