If you’re like me, you probably find it pretty hard to say goodbye to your dog before going on a trip. Luckily, with a little preparation, you can bring him with you on your next hiking trip. Check out the follow tips to find out how.
1 – Train. Just like you, your pup needs practice before going on a long hike. It’s a good idea to begin with short hikes so you both can get used to walking the trails together.
2 – Buy some boots. Your dog probably doesn’t usually wear shoes, but long hikes on rough can be rough on a dog’s paws. Imagine hiking barefoot for any length of time! A note, most dogs I know hate wearing boots at first, but will adjust with time. Just be patient.
3 – Take extra breaks. Remember, your dog can’t ask for food or water or tell you if he needs a rest, so it’s best to take extra breaks just to be sure that your dog can enjoy the trip.
4 – Keep him on a leash. Even if your dog will walk beside you without one, it’s safer to keep your dog on a leash with a harness. You never know what you might come across during a hike and you don’t want Fido to get spooked and run off. If you’re worried about keeping your hands free, you can buy a special belt so that you don’t have to hold the leash in your hand.
5 – Get a comfortable harness. It’s important that you have a well-fitting harness for your dog. It should be snug so that it doesn’t move around a lot and cause chaffing, but not too tight so that its uncomfortable.
6 – Get a canine-friendly first aid kit. Not all medicines that are safe for humans are safe for dogs, so your usual first aid kit might not be sufficient. Talk to your vet about what you should bring along for your pup in case he gets hurt or sick.
7 – Do your research. Not all trails allow dogs, so make sure you’re going somewhere your dog will be welcome. Also, if you’re going on a long journey like el Camino, make sure you know there are plenty of places for you and your dog to sleep at night.
8 – Buy a doggie-backpack. Like you, your dog will need his own equipment, extra weight that a large enough dog can help you carry. For example, he can carry plastic bags, his towel, or his favorite treats. Let your dog wear a pack around the house and on short hikes so they get used to carrying the extra weight. Of course, a backpack is only recommended for dogs of a certain size; if you have a toy poodle it’s not a good option.
9 – Address his fears. My dog is completely paralyzed by water, so I know that hiking through streams or even in the rain is not an option for us. It’s a good idea to test out different scenarios before you leave for a long trip so that you know what your dog is comfortable with.
10 – Stay positive! Dogs are very sensitive to their human’s mood, so if you’re having a good time your dog will too. If you’re starting to get discouraged during a difficult stage, offer some extra words of encouragement to your dog because, chances are, he feels just like you. It possible that these words will benefit you just as much as him!
I hope that these tips will help you and your furry friend get ready for a great adventure together!