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#177667 - 06/08/13 08:45 PM Lupe's First Backpack Trip
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I would love to say it went fantastic, but it did not. We had planned on two nights but came back after the first night primarily due to my intolerance of mosquitoes. I failed to make a proper judgment on her paws so she ended up with sore feet. The trail turned out to be a poor trail for a dog’s first trip (11 month old border collie).

I specifically inquired about a dog-friendly trail when I got my permit (Desolation Wilderness, Sierra). Unfortunately the information was not good. Glen Alpine to Suzie Lake, was really too rocky for a dog’s first trip. We left the trailhead at 11AM and it was quite hot. Lupe did fine all the way to the lake. There were plenty of opportunities to jump into the nearby streams en route. In fact jumping in Suzie Lake and swimming was one of her favorite activities.


Lupe swims!

I used the leash all the way up and this was not great- she pulled me up! Fine for me, but it really wore her out. She does not pull the leash on town walks. I think the uphill nature of the trail, needing to jump up over a lot of rocks, caused the pulling. I wanted to camp near the inlet on the opposite side of Suzie Lake so that we would be well off the trail and I could leave Lupe off-leash. We finally reached Suzie Lake.


First sight of Suzie Lake

My mistake, I tried to go around the north side and we got stuck in very rocky off-trail travel. Lupe slipped while crossing a stream and may have bumped her back leg. We had to turn around and go around the south side, which involved some bushwhacking which Lupe did not like. My watch battery died so I do not know exactly how long we hiked. It is 4 miles to the lake with about 1300 feet gain. It took about 1 mile of off-trail work to get to the other side of the lake. It was quite hot. I think it took us 4-5 hours or so which is longer than any walk Lupe has ever done.



Mom, I am so.. tired!

The campsites were scarce and we set up in a marginal site and then day-hiked to the inlet. She was reluctant to move on the return to our tent. She jumped onto a snow bridge over a small stream and got surprised when it collapsed. The mosquitoes were bad so we came back to the tent and went inside to get out of the bugs. I then first noticed a round “hole” in one paw. She had not favored that paw at all. She liked her little “bed” that I made by taping a piece of fleece to a cut-up Z-rest. We hung out in the tent napping until the sun was low and then cooked dinner on a rock overlooking the lake. Then I noticed that Lupe had sat and lay in a bunch of pine pitch! I then pulled off as much fur as I could that was covered with pitch, in addition to tons of pine needles. Given the Lupe is a very furry dog, next time I will bring a brush! She eagerly ate all her dinner plus half of mine!



Dinner at Suzie Lake

Neither of us slept very well. Lupe was comfortable but spooked at every sound in the woods at night. I got a bit chilly because I took a 50-degree synthetic bag because I did not want to use my expensive down bag with a dog in the tent. Lupe was cozy and warm.

The next morning I checked her paw it looked a lot better. I then found a second “hole” in her other back paw. She had licked the dead skin off during the night. I thought about wrapping each hind paw but she did not limp or seem to have any problem. Our original plan was to do a short hike up to Aloha Lake or Glimore Lake and spend the second night there. Given the mosquitoes I could not see any fun in spending a day in camp plus I did not want to add mileage to what was already too long a trip for her. At breakfast the mosquitoes would alternately swarm me or Lupe. I put a head net on her for a while but she did not keep it on long. I decided that we would just return to the car. We stopped often getting photographs as we rounded the lake.


Suzie Lake in the morning

After about an hour on the trail, Lupe was ready for breakfast and a swim. I let her go off-leash down the trail until we got to the Grass Lake trail junction where there were too many day-hikers with their dogs so I put her on leash again. She behaves perfectly off-leash. It is awkward on-leash because the trial is so rocky. Lupe does not like jumping down large rock steps so I had to lift her down several times. On the return I looked more closely at the trail and it is NOT a good trail for a dog’s first trip. She slept all the way home and after bathing her and cutting off more hair mats full of pitch, I noticed that all her paws were really red and the two “holes” looked worse. In hind-sight I should have taped her paws or used the booties on the return trip.

I am feeling terrible now thinking that I am a horrible doggie “mom”. For some reason I thought it would be easy to tell when she needed the wrap or booties. This was not the case. Other than being very tired, she never once yelped or limped. I am not sure if the mosquitoes bothered her. In the late evening when the wind picked up, she wanted to go outside and sit there and make a game out of snapping up the mosquitoes! So far she has not itched so I do not think they bit her much, only on the nose if at all. I definitely made mistakes. I am wishing I had planned this trip with someone else along who had backpacked with dogs before.

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#177669 - 06/08/13 10:19 PM Re: Lupe's First Backpack Trip [Re: wandering_daisy]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
A Premier Pet Products Gentle Leader is just what is needed for a dog that pulls! Just be sure to use it gently, as the name implies. It basically works like a halter by pulling the dog's nose toward you.

Canine Companions for Independence uses these to train their dogs, and I've also seen them used on some Guide Dogs for the Blind trainees. I trained Hysson with one and he never pulled. Of course he didn't particularly like the noseband, but usually I could take it off after the first half hour of hiking or walking.

I made a few mistakes on my early trips with Hysson, too. We learned together!


Edited by OregonMouse (06/08/13 10:20 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#177703 - 06/10/13 01:46 PM Re: Lupe's First Backpack Trip [Re: wandering_daisy]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Well, we're in the same boat...

My "pup" is three years old and is a walking fanatic, but I think not a backpacking dog - at least nothing ambitious. I'm back a day early because the mosquitos were horrible, and that led to a 10 mile day rather than 6 on day two, and a 12 mile day instead of two 6 mile days... Yesterday morning we got up and headed out to the car since we were getting the idea anywhere else we wanted to go would mean being sucked dry!

The dog wanted to walk! she loves walking and hiking. The first night was stressful for her - she wouldn't come inside the tent, so I left her blue CCF bed outside but in sight. She curled up tail over nose and slept all night. The next day we headed up to Guest Lake using the "use trail" route up a creek instead of the "maintained" trail that would have added a few miles. She started to whine when we stopped walking. I could interpret it a few ways, but I think she was wanting to go home. She kept trying to dig dens under rocks and brush if we stopped for more than a few minutes.

We were at Guest for just a couple of hours - long enough to determine the only fish we would catch were tiny, and that the mosquitos were getting worse - and they were bad when we got there. After swimming and fishing we got in a tent to play cribbage. I looked out to see my poor pup's face covered with mosquitos trying to get in her eyes. I looked up at the hordes of skeeters on the netting, and asked my friend if he really felt this would be enjoyable, as it was only 3 in the afternoon! We packed and hauled it back down the trail. On the Kings there were far fewer bugs and we were able to sit and eat dinner, and I only had to smear DEET on her face once on the way down. (We were applying every half hour and I had permethrin treated clothing!)

All in all, she did everything perfect - I kept checking her paws and they were usually hot, and a bit of pitch between two pads worried her, but she did really well. Didn't notice any blistering or open sores. I put two booties on her front feet and carried her pack and food for a while to help her. She didn't bark and whine all night, though something along the Kings had her growling - I yelled into the night for it to go away, whatever it was, and she stopped. But I know she has sore feet and she was really, really tired. She's a good hiker and does really well off leash, sticking close by and paying attention most of the time.

I feel pretty bad that I made her do marathon miles! But when she won't get in the tent with me, I didn't want to leave her out for the epic hordes to suck her dry, and she seems ok today, though still tired. Next trip I will specifically make it a single night and lots of down time for her to swim in the lake, which she seems to enjoy. I'm also going to get her a wading pool - it was warm up there and it's warmer down here in Fresno, and she loved the water.

Booties come off on creek crossings, or at least the little short ones I had did. Sigh. I think they filled with water or got stuck in the sand or mud. Didn't find them...

The trails out of Courtright are I think pretty good... where the trail gets rocky she would walk on the dirt or grass just off the trail if she didn't like the trail route with horse steps or boulders. I didn't care for the exposed decomposed granite sand sections in the afternoons, and I worried that she would be annoyed by them, but she never limped or flinched.
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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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#177714 - 06/10/13 05:36 PM Re: Lupe's First Backpack Trip [Re: lori]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Crate training (a good idea for dogs anyway) really helps the dog accept being in the tent. Obviously, in bear country dog biscuits are not a good thing, but you could try them in the backyard at home.
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#177716 - 06/10/13 06:32 PM Re: Lupe's First Backpack Trip [Re: OregonMouse]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
Crate training (a good idea for dogs anyway) really helps the dog accept being in the tent. Obviously, in bear country dog biscuits are not a good thing, but you could try them in the backyard at home.


Ah, but she is crate trained....

And when she is anxious she refuses to eat treats. But, she does mind well enough in most circumstances and didn't appear any worse for the wear.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#177719 - 06/10/13 08:12 PM Re: Lupe's First Backpack Trip [Re: lori]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I recall that there is a "bug bivy" made by Black Diamond?. Anyway it is to be used with a bivy sack and goes over your head and has a small cross-pole system to get it off your face. I was thinking that it may be great for a dog mosquito shelter. My dog is fairly small - 35 pounds so would not need anything as large as a small tent. My preference is for her to sleep under the vestibule, but she still would need protection from mosquitoes. Lupe had no qualms about getting into the tent (although I had to lift her feet in because she could not figure out how to do it). But she then wanted to go outside and snap at mosquitoes. I think she prefers being outside but will come in the tent if I command it. I think it will take many trips before she quits getting spooked by all the night sounds in the woods.

Sorry you also had to have a less than perfect trip.

Next time we will choose a more paw-friendly trail and I think Lupe will do fine. Plus, when my husband goes, he does not like more than about 4 miles in a day (because he would rather spend all day fishing!). I did not think our mileage was that much, but obviously, considering the rocky trail, it was too much.

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#177720 - 06/10/13 08:23 PM Re: Lupe's First Backpack Trip [Re: wandering_daisy]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I think it's one of those things... you just don't know how things will go for first timers, whether they are dogs or people.

I had thought of rigging my head net for her. She's taken so much - from the backpack to the booties - without ripping it off or complaining, I bet she would have let me do it. But I lost the head net on the trail on the way in. We found it again, as we hiked out, and some creature had torn the bottom off the tiny stuff sack to investigate ... the only thing it could have smelled of was trail mix I sometimes eat while wearing it.

I think Lupe will be a good trail dog. I have my doubts about mine - she may be like so many people in my hiking group - a good day hiker.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#177744 - 06/11/13 11:25 AM Re: Lupe's First Backpack Trip [Re: lori]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
On the other hand, like people's first backpack trip, perhaps a different trip a bit later, without mosquitoes, may be more successful. The fact that your dog does 10-mile day trips seems to me that just a little back-yard tent camping or car camping may get her "trained".

How much do you think dogs are bothered by mosquitoes? Obviously not as much as me! Perhaps I was worrying more than needed about mosquitoes on Lupe. She is actually quite entertained by snapping at flying bugs. What I found interesting is that swarms seemed to either pick her or me. When she was swarmed, less were on me and visa versa.

I did put my extra headnet on Lupe and she tolerated it but soon wanted to play with it- see if she could get it off not because she did not like it but because she was bored. When I was walking down by the American River I saw a fellow who had a net on his dog's head - looked like it was home-made and of stiffer netting and shaped like the "cone" that is used to keep dogs from licking wounds. He said he used it because of burrs. His dog loved to stick its head into grasses full of burrs. We spend nearly half an hour pulling burrs from Lupe every time she walks by the river.

I found going alone with a dog limited my activities and focus on the wilderness. She needed a nap after the hike in yet I wanted to go explore, off trail, in places that would hurt her paws. At this point, I do not trust her alone in the tent and if I tied her outside, she would have been swarmed by mosquitoes. When I was hiking I was so focused on her that I felt I missed scenery. And walking on a trail with a leash on the dog really impacted my footing. Hopefully as she gets more experienced I can worry and watch her less. I think it will work better with my husband along - he and the dog can stay in camp and fish and I can go exploring.

I am not yet in the "I love to backpack with my dog" mind-set.

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#177747 - 06/11/13 01:09 PM Re: Lupe's First Backpack Trip [Re: wandering_daisy]
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
I am not yet in the "I love to backpack with my dog" mind-set.

As Lupe becomes less of an adolescent and more of a mature companion, you should start to feel less protective of her, so that she becomes as comfortable to hike with as your husband. But I suspect you're always going to seek out the freedom you get when you're solo, so taking Lupe along may never be your top preference, but she'll remain more of a secondary option for a while.

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#177753 - 06/11/13 06:32 PM Re: Lupe's First Backpack Trip [Re: wandering_daisy]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I will have the opposite problem this summer, learning to hike without a dog. I plan to go places where I never went with Hysson so at least I won't be weeping in the tent. I'm going to miss my foot-warmer on cold nights, though!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#182512 - 02/05/14 02:39 PM Re: Lupe's First Backpack Trip [Re: wandering_daisy]
ragazzo Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/25/13
Posts: 12
Loc: NJ
I know this thread is over 6 months old, but thanks for the detailed info! I'm planning on taking my little guy out for his first overnight trip in the spring. He just turned 2 and this past year we did a couple car camping outings to get him used to the tent. I think that as long as he can worm his way under my quilt then he'll do great. Reading about your experience really made me thing a lot harder about picking out a paw appropriate trail.

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