With the nicer temperatures and the increased level of activity your dog is having outside, hiking can be a great way to bond with your dog and help them burn off some energy and also great for you. However, there are a few things you should do to make the hike enjoyable for you and Max. You don’t want to have a horrible experience of untangling leashes, running after your dog, or carrying your pup back to the car.
Here’s a few tips to help make a hike fun:
- If you’re heading to a wooded area don’t use the flexi-leashes as you’ll spend more time untangling it from tree branches than you will hiking. Use a regular leash or a long lead to let your pup have some freedom to romp but make sure you can control and prevent your dog from wrapping himself around a tree. Heavily wooded areas can mean tangled leashes or a dog that wrapped itself around a branch, keep the hike pleasant and use a 6 ft leash or long lead that you can wrap up in denser parts of the hike.
- If you let your dog off leash, check that it is allowed in the area you’re hiking. Make sure your dog comes when called and is reliable, but remember, even the most well-trained pup can be distracted by something and may not always listen. Think of the dog from “Up” and what happened every time he thought he saw a squirrel!
- Keep in mind that not everyone else who is hiking may like dogs. Some people are not pet lovers and others are afraid of dogs. Respect their preferences and make sure you have a leash to clip onto your dog when passing other hikers. Make sure your dog knows to not jump up on people and will come to you when called.
- For your dog’s own safety, keep your pet up to date with his vaccines. There are a lot of parasites out in the world and the last thing you want is your dog getting bit by a tick or contracting some nasty virus. Warmer weather means making sure your dog is protected against parasites. Talk to your vet about flea and tick preventatives and other medications.
- Before you set out, check the ID tags and make sure all the information is up to date. Current phone numbers, microchip ID, and rabies tags are important. You don’t want your buddy being stuck in the woods or end up in the town shelter with no way to be brought back home.
- If your dog has good recall and comes when called, reinforce this by training your dog to come to you for a treat whenever people are near you. This way, if you pass a hiker and your dog is off leash or on a 8ft or 10 ft lead, you can recall your dog and not disrupt the other hiker. Your dog will come back to you and train your dog that meeting or passing strangers is a good thing and nothing to be afraid of.
- Remember to pack water! Your pup and you will get thirsty. Bring enough water for you both and deter him from drinking from puddles or streams as they may contain nasty parasites.
- If your dog has to “go potty” clean up after him. Respect your surroundings and fellow hikers. No one likes stepping in that stuff!
When you’re all done and ready to head home, take a few minutes and check your pup’s fur for any creepy bugs or debris. Also check your jacket, hair, and pants for any bugs that you don’t want to bring home. Have a happy and safe hike!