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#144774 - 01/12/11 09:20 PM Dogs and tents
vawallflower Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/12/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Virginia
Going on a backpacking trip with my new dog this spring. Dog weighs around 60lbs. Should i buy a particular tent? Im worried about the dogs nails tearing up the tent floor. Any advice about backpacking with a dog would be much appreciated. I am an experienced tent camper and have been back packing a few times. Probably going to Dolly Sods in West Virginia. Did some day hikes there, beautiful.

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#144776 - 01/12/11 10:31 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: vawallflower]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
First, keep your dog's claws cut short. I trim my dog's claws twice a month. Frequent trimming makes the "quick" recede more so you can cut them a little shorter each time.

Second, if you haven't already, crate train your dog. Use plenty of rewards and keep the crate times short at first. Your dog will soon regard his crate as a place of security. It's also the best place to leave your dog when you have to go somewhere for a few hours--you can be sure your house and its contents will still be intact when you return! This training will transfer to the tent--my dog regards my tent as HIS (!) crate, so he settles down and stays quiet.

I do make every effort to keep my dog's feet off my air mattress and my expensive down sleeping bag, but I don't worry about the tent floor (there's always duct tape). Even for the two years I had a SMD Lunar Solo with the lightweight floor (30D silnylon), I never had any holes from the dog's claws. (Ask phat--he bought the tent from me and is still finding dog hairs in it!)

I don't suggest going away from the tent with the dog inside; once he realizes you're not there, he is liable to panic and start clawing--most likely through the netting door!

Searching (see the sticky post at the top of the "General Discussion" section) will find lots of past posts on backpacking with dogs. Most, of course, with cute puppy pictures!


Edited by OregonMouse (01/12/11 10:33 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#144778 - 01/12/11 10:46 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: vawallflower]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
If you hike far enough, the dog will settle right down and sleep, he's tired. Unless you have one that has to constantly see you or need to know where you are. With young dogs, I had more issues after I got home, laying the bag or pad out to dry and the dog deciding it was now a chew toy. Enjoy, nothing like a wet nose to the face in the morning.

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#144781 - 01/13/11 12:05 AM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: vawallflower]
ChrisFol Offline
member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 387
Loc: Denver, Colordo
I have a short Thermarest Ridgerest that I make my dog pack in for herself. She has learned to sleep and stay on the pad and I haven't had any damage to the floors of the tent's that I own.

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#144782 - 01/13/11 12:54 AM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: vawallflower]
Howie Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/03
Posts: 481
Loc: Canora, SK, Canada
My dog took to the tent right away. He is happy anyplace I am. Never worried about the tent floor. So far the tent has been used mostly for car camping. For wilderness trips I have been using a tarp set up lean-to fashion. Rebel comes and goes as he pleases but he never goes far. I never worry about him running off. He does have a habit of collecting sticks and piling them up. One morning I slept in and awoke to find a huge pile of wood right beside me. Too bad there was a fire ban at the time. Not everyone has a dog that voluntarily fetches firewood smile

Howie

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#144784 - 01/13/11 01:13 AM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: Howie]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I don't use a tent, so not a problem. smile I usually just make sure her line will reach and let her under the tarp. Then she can decide where she wants to sleep. I bring a pad for her, but she has never slept on it. She prefers the snow or grass.

I also never cut her nails. I would if I had to though. I have found that if she runs a couple times a week in the neighborhood for a couple miles each time, that the concrete and asphalt wear the nails down and keep them short.
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#144794 - 01/13/11 10:23 AM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: finallyME]
Fiddleback Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 478
Loc: Northern Rockies
A former trail companion loved the tent. It went up first when we made camp and he immediately went inside and napped while we set up the rest of the camp.

To protect the floor we used one of the heavier space blankets,Coleman brand, I think. It was more than sufficient to protect the floor from the 60lb Samoyed. It was heavy but then, the Sam carried it...as well as the tent and all his 'stuff'. smile

That good boy is long gone but last week we picked up the successor to his successor...our fourth in a nearly 40-year history of Sams. The new little guy has another 16 months or so before he starts packing but my eyes water at the thought...

FB

p.s. that space blanket is now being used as an underliner to the puppys nighttime bed...more than 25 years after his predecessor slept on it on the trail. Talk about heritage! grin


Edited by Fiddleback (01/13/11 10:31 AM)
_________________________
"...inalienable rights...include the right to a clean and healthful environment..." Montana Constitution

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#144796 - 01/13/11 12:01 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: Fiddleback]
Fiddleback Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 478
Loc: Northern Rockies
Replying to my own post above:

The 'space blanket' is actually a, "Thermos All Weather Sportsman's Blanket." Heavy, water proof material with a strong weave and aluminzed/thermal reflecting on one side. Big enough to cover most of the floor of an Eureka 4-person Timberline tent.

FB
_________________________
"...inalienable rights...include the right to a clean and healthful environment..." Montana Constitution

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#144799 - 01/13/11 12:35 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: hikerduane]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Good stuff here but I would put emphasis on what Hiker Duane said. A dog that has been exercised will settle down easily. So you have that going for you. If you have the dog carry a load for you, that will be even better. My dog is rowdy in the bush but good in the tent. Has been since her first trip at 7 months age.

sk

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#144821 - 01/13/11 04:53 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: vawallflower]
arcane Offline
member

Registered: 05/24/10
Posts: 21
Loc: WV
Hi,

I hike with my dog, but don't backpack with her, so I won't offer you any advice there.

I'm from WV, but I haven't backpacked in Dolly Sods yet, but you are correct - it is beautiful! (There's also some great XC Skiing in that area when there is enough snow!)

Have fun and be safe!

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#144854 - 01/14/11 06:51 AM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: vawallflower]
ALLEN Offline
member

Registered: 12/09/10
Posts: 35
Loc: Ohio
Good choice, Dolly Sods.

I have a 125 pound chocolate lab named Tater that loves being on the trail. As someone else noted, concrete and asphalt are the best for nail maintainence, a daily walk keeps them trimmed down. I have a bell on my walking stick and I hang one on Tater so we both know where we're at. At the end of the day Tater is tired enough that he just goes inside the tent and crashes. A few times I've left him outside, wildlife would get him on the chase then I'd lay awake worrying about him getting lost. Tie him up outside the tent and he just barks all night. In the tent he just sleeps. His nails have never damaged the tent. Water dogs with webed toes will bring in plenty of mud so I bring a small wisk broom to sweep out in the morning. Out in the wild he does take on a new aroma that can get intense in the tent. I do not take Tater on long trips of more than a couple days even though he's good company.

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#144867 - 01/14/11 01:11 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: ALLEN]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I would think a 125 lb. dog is going to have more "aroma" than a 60 - 70 lb. dog. smile I never allow a dog to bark more than once or twice, just me, but more than that takes away the experience for others if they are around. I've been fortunate that my dogs were never barkers. My Yellow Lab X would alert me with a bark when bears were around, that was it.

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#144868 - 01/14/11 03:07 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: ALLEN]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I put a comb and two "Handiwipe" towels (they dry so much faster than the expensive pack towels) in my dog's pack and groom him at night just before retiring. This removes most of the mud and dirt as well as a lot of loose dog hair and any ticks that might be crawling around. The towels (after rinsing if they're muddy) are a multiple use item--I use them to wipe off condensation inside the tent. My dog loves the grooming, too! It keeps his skin in condition, especially under the pack and harness.

I haven't noticed any new "aroma" except the normal "wet dog" odor when it's been raining or Hysson has been wading. Of course I try to make sure he doesn't roll in anything aromatic!

I suspect, or at least hope, that those of you who backpack where skunks may be wandering around in the evening are extra careful to keep your dog leashed or tied up! I'm thinking of a night in central Pennsylvania where I nearly tripped over one on the way to the "facilities"!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#144880 - 01/14/11 07:11 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: OregonMouse]
sjohnny Offline
member

Registered: 10/29/10
Posts: 185
Loc: Central Texas
Re: Aroma
I haven't had my Vizsla in a tent yet but y'all have reminded me of one of the claims to fame of the continental gun dog breeds (skcreidc may be able to attest to this). Those are some gassy dogs. This is something I had failed to take into consideration but we'll see what happens.

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#144890 - 01/14/11 11:00 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: sjohnny]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Perhaps a change of diet is in order? For many dogs, the premium foods work better because there is less bulk and hopefully, less gas. That depends on the individual dog, though. Despite the price per bag, premium dog food isn't really more expensive than the standard supermarket food because you feed that much less--and there's less to scoop at the other end, too. That also makes these foods better for backpacking. If he's already on premium food, try another kind to see if it works better. Ask your vet for suggestions.

If you're changing the dog's diet, do it gradually--start with maybe 1/4 cup of new food mixed with the old, increasing the proportion of the new over about 10 days. With my dog, when he's had reactions to food, it has taken about 2 months on the new food before he starts upchucking it. If I were going to change his diet now (which I won't, because he's doing fine), I'd do it several months before a backpacking trip.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#144901 - 01/15/11 09:46 AM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: OregonMouse]
sjohnny Offline
member

Registered: 10/29/10
Posts: 185
Loc: Central Texas
He's on premium food. We've tried several different kinds. My wife works at a vet clinic so we have access to everything there is out there. From other people who I've known who have owned Vs, GSPs, DDs, etc. they are known for being gassy. It's really not too bad and he often gives warning through his body language before he lets one go.

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#144908 - 01/15/11 12:36 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: vawallflower]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

I have hiked with my dog (springer spaniel) on occasion, (I don't take him out on most of my trips which are in grizzly country where he would be a liability) In my case I was hammocking, with a big tarp over my hammock, so what I ended up is having an extra piece of blue foam pad, he was very happy to curl up on this underneath my hammock. The only gotcha being I also use my blue foam "butt padd" as my standing pad to get out of my hammock and put my feet on. Mudge ended up snuggled up right where that was, so getting up in the morning I swung my feet out of the hammock onto dog, then had to get him to move before I could get out of the hammock! smile
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#144910 - 01/15/11 12:46 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: sjohnny]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Yup, like horses, they can have intestinal issues. We went through a lot of different, cheap and expensive, dog foods to get where we are today. Ended up on the expensive end, but the stools are generally firm. In general, I thought my labs were worse gassy wise. With Tica, I only have trouble if she has been doing extensive browsing on her own; and then...stand back!

Really, even those moments "pass"...its when they shoulder dip into something dead on trail that the smell really gets to me. Dr. Bronners just doesn't cut it.

sk

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#144921 - 01/15/11 03:37 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: skcreidc]
sjohnny Offline
member

Registered: 10/29/10
Posts: 185
Loc: Central Texas
Originally Posted By skcreidc
its when they shoulder dip into something dead on trail that the smell really gets to me. Dr. Bronners just doesn't cut it.

Mine loves to do that as well. He has a knack for finding the nastiest stuff out in the field and coming back into the house smelling like death.

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#144962 - 01/16/11 10:55 AM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: sjohnny]
Fiddleback Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 478
Loc: Northern Rockies
My second platitude of the day: A leash prevents many of those problems.

My dog was never off lead when hiking/backpacking...even before I moved to grizzly country.

That's a good, if not mandatory by regulation, practice. It's good for other hikers, it's good for wildlife, it's good for other domestic animals (dogs, horses, llamas, etc., on the trail). Most of all, it's good for the dog. It keeps him/her out of harm's way.

Here, there are multiple stories every year of dogs drowning, mauled by wildlife or other dogs, or being caught in off-trail traps. While other areas may not have all these threats there are threats and risks none the less. And I, for one, didn't take that risk with my beloved companion and I won't with my new friend.

FB
_________________________
"...inalienable rights...include the right to a clean and healthful environment..." Montana Constitution

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#144975 - 01/16/11 03:23 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: Fiddleback]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I agree.

Every year at least one or two dogs go over a cliff in the Columbia River Gorge and are killed. The dog gets too close to the edge on the Eagle Creek Trail and the edge crumbles, or he gets running around up on something like Angel's Rest (very cliffy place) and goes over. Keeping the dog on a leash (required in the Gorge, although too many people disregard the law) will keep him from getting too close to the edge or running around.

There are so many loose dogs on the Eagle Creek Trail that I rarely hike it any more. Loose dog going after my dog on leash on cliffside trails has led to some really hairy situations, where only by the grace of God did Hysson and I escape going over!

Hysson is occasionally off-leash, but I make him walk on the trail behind me on those occasions so I can grab him if someone else comes along. He is also extremely good about coming to heel on such occasions.


Edited by OregonMouse (01/16/11 03:24 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#144989 - 01/16/11 08:56 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: OregonMouse]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Unfortunately people don't realise that their dog is at risk running off leash. I hear some "My dog has a right to run free", and thats the dog that gets hit by a car. frown I nearly killed a huge German shepard once while backpacking - a city dog with his misstress that he was protecting
Jim
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These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#144992 - 01/16/11 09:21 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: Jimshaw]
sjohnny Offline
member

Registered: 10/29/10
Posts: 185
Loc: Central Texas
About a month ago my kids and dog and I went for a short hike on the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin. There are signs everywhere directing folks to keep their dogs on leash. There were more dogs off leash than on and most of them were pretty well behaved. I didn't let mine off leash. We were on a pretty narrow trail when this French Bulldog or maybe Boston Terrier came bouncing up the trail. No parents in sight anywhere. He was jumping up and down and bouncing off my kids. My dog was heeling really well considering but finally he had had enough and looked at me and then grabbed the other dog ever so gently around the neck. He didn't bite down or growl or anything just grabbed hold. That other dog got really still and at that moment his parents came around the bend in the trail. "Oh theys just deciding who's terreetory this is, that's how dogs do" And they walked on down the trail with their dog. Too many people believe that the rules apply to everyone but themselves.

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#145028 - 01/17/11 07:59 PM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: ALLEN]
vawallflower Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/12/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Virginia
So much great information on here! I will always use a leash. I think if this dog becomes very predictable about coming when called for a long period of time I may let her off leash for a short run. Not sure, gotta feel her out first. And definantly inside the tent, I've got a pad for her to sleep on and am shopping for a back pack for her so we can start training her to carry her food. I'm stoked! Looking at Ruffwear Pallisades back pack.

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#145042 - 01/18/11 12:22 AM Re: Dogs and tents [Re: vawallflower]
Howie Offline
member

Registered: 06/02/03
Posts: 481
Loc: Canora, SK, Canada
My Rebel likes to sleep with his teddy bear. When we go backpacking overnight I strap Teddy to his pack. I figure that would allay any illusions a person may have about him being ferocious.

One thing I have found is that there are some people out there that seem to think it is cruel to make a dog wear a backpack. Most folks think it is a good idea so he can carry his own water and such, but it seems not everyone sees it that way. I overheard one lady say “what a shame”.

Howie

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