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#27688 - 07/08/05 09:59 AM What About Hiking With Dogs?
Anonymous
Unregistered


An informal poll: How many of you think it's okay to hike with a dog?

I have a friend that always hikes with her German Shepherd, which makes sense for a single woman in an area of cougers and bears. I have another friend who thinks dogs just shouldn't be allowed in the wilderness. I suppose they can be noisy, chase wildlife, and harrass other hikers, but then humans do those things too. I don't have a dog, by the way. Just curious how people feel about the issue.

Steve

www.TheUltralightBackpackingSite.com

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#27689 - 07/08/05 10:45 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I always bring my dog(s). They fit into the wilderness better than we do. Yes, they can be a problem, but so can horses, llamas, goats, mules, boy scouts, mobs of Sierra Clubbers, hunters, boom boxes, and many individuals. So if we want to eliminate all the annoyances in the wilderness, dogs would not be the first to go.

I would say of all the encounters between my dogs and other people I have only had one negative one. And this guy was just looking for a reason to be angry, which I admit my dog gave him. No harm was done. In fact I think the guy left happy because all he wanted to be was angry. Trail rage - pretty much the same as road rage, except a lot rarer.

Having dogs and walking them twice a day in town I have found that there are people who object to dogs just because they are looking for something to object to. The whole "hate the other" thing. If it wasn't dogs it would be something else. Fortunately, for each one of those, there are 10 who just love to meet the dogs.

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#27690 - 07/08/05 10:54 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
BarryP Offline
member

Registered: 03/04/04
Posts: 1574
Loc: Eastern Idaho
There's a lot of feelings about this. See this thread:
http://www.backpacking.net/forums/showth...sb=5&o=
I think it's hard to answer your question.
-Barry

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#27691 - 07/08/05 11:14 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
Paddy_Crow Offline
member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 2285
Loc: Michigan
Dogs are very cool to hike with. I say the heck with those that whine about people hiking with them. It's bad enough all the laws in the city prohibiting them from public parks, there will always be someone that has a problem with dogs being there. I pay them no attention.

I miss my girl so much. I will have another one soon...

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#27692 - 07/08/05 12:30 PM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
I take the bait.

This thread brings to mind some of my experiences.

Once I was taking a nap in my tent while taking shelter from an afternoon thunder storm. A dog peed on my tent and I yelled, but by the time I could unzip and exit the tent I got just a quick glimpse of the offender. Never did see the owner.

One time I was at an overlook and saw two dogs chasing a herd of deer over a ridge. When I met the owners I told them their dogs had been chasing deer. They told me that their dogs are under voice command and that they had them in sight the whole time. Denial is not a river in Africa.

After an over night storm a small stream was very cloudy. I found a pool that was clear and started to carefully filter water so as not to disturb the silt on the bottom. Two black labs bounded down the stream bank and proceeded to take a swim. Dog hair and spit was everywhere and the mud gushed up from the bottom. The owners were happy to see the dogs enjoying the water.

Early one morning I was passing a camp near the trail. A dog blocked my path and appeared to be ready to defend his masters. The normal techniques for passing were not working so I yelled for the owner. The owner called the dog and he ran off. I think the dog was as relieved as I was. Never did see the owner.

I like dogs, but some dog owners allow their pets to become a problem.

Dogs are an imported predator and I am sure the indigenous predators notice that dog mark territory. I think a tamarisk is a beautiful tree , but it competes with the indigenous trees and is considered a weed. The presence of an imported predator is a potential problem for the indigenous predators.

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#27693 - 07/08/05 01:58 PM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
Ender Offline
member

Registered: 01/17/02
Posts: 779
Loc: ME
I say as long as the dogs are under strict control, it's fine. Dogs that don't obey commands, attack wildlife, plunge headfirst into drinking water sources should be trained and then allowed into the woods. And if they can't be trained they shouldn't be out there. Well behaved dogs though are wonderful trail companions. Granted, every dog will misbehave once in a while, but the same can be said for hikers.

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#27694 - 07/08/05 03:10 PM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
Anonymous
Unregistered


My grandparents hiked much of North and South America through the 50's - 70's (they had packs that Kelty made in his garage, 30 years later he hand-made another set for them). In the later years, they usually had their dog, a husky/wolf mix. Well trained, they only came into conflict twice with open range ranchers about livestock problems. Other than that, a great trail mate and the first dog I ever saw with a pack.

Dogs may be no worse or better than kids, or adults for that matter. I always prefer polite, considerate, consientious contact over rude, self absorbed individuals. A well trained dog is not a problem for me in the wilderness. Anyone or anything that is out of control on the trail is not welcome around me.

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#27695 - 07/08/05 03:19 PM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
Anonymous
Unregistered


i have a german shepard as well and he always comes along with me. makes me feel safer and keeps me company.

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#27696 - 07/08/05 06:06 PM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I think it depends on the dog and it depends on the owner. If both are well trained I think dogs are fine. I little bit of common sense goes a long way. I actually stop and thank people who make a point to separate their dog from me or pull off the trail when we pass by each other. On the other hand I constantly see people walking their dog off lead and when I tell them that is actually against the law their only reply is "Don't worry he's obedience trained."

So I would say if the dog is going to be on a leash, not barking incessantly, not invading anyones space and not bringing any harm to the wilderness, why not bring it along.

As long as I have been hiking and backpacking I have never known a dog to leave a beer can or a cigarette butt on the trail. I also haven't seen them throw garbage all over a pristine beach or carve their name into a tree or write grafitti on a rock.

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#27697 - 07/08/05 07:28 PM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs? [Re: ringtail]
Paddy_Crow Offline
member

Registered: 11/08/04
Posts: 2285
Loc: Michigan
Quote:
Dogs are an imported predator and I am sure the indigenous predators notice that dog mark territory. I think a tamarisk is a beautiful tree , but it competes with the indigenous trees and is considered a weed. The presence of an imported predator is a potential problem for the indigenous predators.


What are humans? Perhaps they shouldn't be allowed on the trail, either.


Edited by Paddy_Crow (07/08/05 07:29 PM)

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#27698 - 07/08/05 07:58 PM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I have a dog and havent taken her hiking on any long trails yet but plan to this year. She can become somewhat aggresive when others come to close to our camp. But on hiking trails in just regular parks she has done ok with passing people and not giving them a second glance. I was told that the kind of dog that she is, is the problem.

She's an American Eskimo or Spitts as most people know them.

At the same time I always make sure that she is on a lead and when I see others approching I bring her in close to me
.
And I never allow people to approch her without me there. Not sure how she would respond.

This will be her first long hike and if it doesent work out on a trail with her she would not be going on any more.

I respect everyones space and would not want to upset people that don't like dogs.

But I either hike alone or with my kids and being female, it is just safer to have a trail dog.

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#27699 - 07/08/05 08:42 PM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Stargate,
You seem to be the smart dog owner - you realise that you put your dog in danger when you take him to the wilderness. It is a really bad idea to take a dog into lion/bear country because they will eat him, he will become an attractive nuisance unless he is a lion or bear dog bread. And if you let your dog run loose and he attacks someone carrying a gun they may blow his brains out in self defence. In most wilderness areas in California at least dog must be on a leash, and almost no one does it.
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#27700 - 07/08/05 09:15 PM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs? [Re: Jimshaw]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I always keep her on a leash even just walking around town. I love my dog very much and one thing that bothers me is someone not caring enough to leash theirs.
At least if I keep her on a leash I know she will be ok. I do worry about someone elses dog attacking her.

I have had to pick her up over my head to keep other dogs from fighting with her. Not fun with a pack on.

And no they are not going after her for that. She has been fixed. I didnt want to cause any unwanted animals to turn up because of any odor.

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#27701 - 07/09/05 04:22 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
jonnycat Offline
member

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 363
Loc: PNW
I almost always take my dog; he's my loyal scout, my buddy, and my companion. His eyes and ears alert me to things I cannot sense myself. Earlier this year he helped me find several trails that were covered in snow, which I wasn't able to find by myself.

He makes backpacking and spending time in the woods an absolute pleasure for me, as much as it is for him. You just can't beat the bonding experience of being with your dog in the woods.

As far as the question of "is it okay?", I would say of course it is okay, assuming a well behaved dog who respects his or her handler, of course.

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#27702 - 07/09/05 08:12 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Given the history of man with dogs, it is quite appropriate that we take them on camping and on hikes. The only time my Grandfather left his dog home on hunting and fishing trips was when he was quiting smoking and the dog has enough sense to let him go alone. I don't have a dog but I sure wish I had a lifestyle where I could do one justice. My wife is alergic so it would have to be a big outside dog so that it could keep me company in the dog house. It the dogs that hang out in the yard all day and bark and chase bicycles or runners that give me grief. If they are trained to stay on the property I don't mind the barking. If they they are not on a leash and they leave their property and bite at my legs that is the sign of a very neglectful owner. The people that take their dogs on walks and hikes tend to be very good people and so are their dogs. The ones that are not on a leash usually respond right away unless they are young and still in training. The less manageable ones tend to be on leashes unless their is a lot of traffic. Quite often the owner apologizes for not having it on a leash and I just smile and say thats OK I'm not on a leash either and compliment them on their great dog.

Some of my favourite breeds:

Irish Wolfhound - For some reason these sort of hounds always come in pairs.
Way too much dog for me but they are truly magnificient beasts. You would have to be a very good trail runner and a fastpacker as opposed to a thru-hiker. You really don't want to load down a hound, and you couldn't carry more that a days worth for both of them. Mind you, you could cover an aweful lot of ground in one day if you could keep up. I am not sure what dog would have the record for distance in one day but I think a good set of hound could run down a husky as long as there was no sled involved. I think a human in top shape can out distance most animals in 24 hours, even a horse, but most of us are not in that kind of shape.

Newfoundland Dog - More of a winter and water dog. More than capable of carrying all of his food, and some of yours also if you can afford to pay for it all. Not practical for a thru-hiker on a budget, but a great dog for keeping you warm at night. If you are on skis he can pull you along if you are being left behind.

Nova Scotia Duck Toller Retriever - Excellent all around companion. Great for day hikes, ultralight long hikes, hunting and fishing or just camping. Perhaps not so good in deep snow. I think this breed is part native. Any similar medium sized long legged indian looking dog would be ideal for thru-hiking. They even have the look of a thru-hiker.

Dogs for protection against bears? I am not in real bear country. We have Black Bears but they tend to by small and very shy. I wouldn't want a real aggressive bear dog, but the sort of small indian dog that would keep its distance and warn you if there was a bear and sacrifice itself for you or your child if it had to might be worth considering in real Bear country. I am not a Bear or Dog expert. Does this work in real Bear country?

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#27703 - 07/09/05 10:36 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
aimless Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2837
Loc: Portland, OR
Every dog owner is keenly aware of the benefits of taking their pet into the woods, both for themseves and for the dog. This comes naturally to them. I would never dispute those benefits.

Where some dog owners fail is in seeing the problems their dogs can cause for the animals, plants and other hikers in the woods - and in taking full responsibility for either averting those problems before they happen or fixing them after they've happened. Instead, they rationalize them as not problems or else they stop at continually apologizing for their dog's behavior and never doing anything more effective beyond that.

Dog owners who engage in rationalizations and denials are untrainable. Good dog owners are a joy to meet in the woods.

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#27704 - 07/09/05 03:14 PM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs? [Re: JAK]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1153
Loc: Florida panhandle
Ember is a shelter shepherd. This is a shepherd mix one meets at an animal shelter.

This Dog Backpacks And Emails

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#27705 - 07/09/05 04:08 PM Keep Your Dog's Health in Mind
longhair29 Offline
member

Registered: 06/11/03
Posts: 1328
Loc: Floridad
From all my previous hiking experience in the wilderess encountering a Dog has been mixed.

Way back in '86 on my Thru hike (solo) of the Lost Coast down in N. CA. I had two completely different Dog encounters, one mean and the other really nice. The former involved two possibly wild dogs, i.e., no owner in sight and the latter an escapee. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

In the 1st incident, no other people were in around when I was walking on this beautiful, rugged, sandy beach with my big Pack on and saw these two dogs sprinting towards me. At about 20-yards they slowed down to a walk, and I could see they were acting kind of aggressive towards me.

I did two smart things really fast. One, I picked up the biggest piece of driftwood stick I could find in the immediate vicinity of where I stood. And Two, I made a hasty bee-line trot down close to the ocean water's edge to get on FIRM sand. I was thinking if I'm attacked I want every advantage I can get. And with the Pacific
ocean at my back, that would be one less avenue of possible attack.

The second I picked up that stick, their demeanor changed somewhat as they knew I was armed, as we had made eye contact.

Anyway, with one hand on the stick and my left hand reaching out, and talking in a low tone, one Dog would walk up to me gently but as soon as the Dog saw I had that stick he got all aggressive like.

Never were their tails up and they never wagged their tails. I'm convinced IF I hadn't picked up that stick when I did, I'd have been attacked for sure.

So, I'm doing this 'reach out and talk and one Dog backs off bares it's teeth rountine' went on for perhaps 120-seconds and then 'snap your fingers' and both Dogs turned tail and ran full bore back into the woods. It was as, if someone was calling 'em with a Dog whistle or something, but of course there was virtually no sound heard.

The other Dog experience on my Solo trip was this German Shepard mix/Mutt came ambling into my campsite just a few miles N. of Shelter Cove (cilivization = end of trail) and curled up beside me the entire evening enjoying my bonfire. The next morning he'd vanished. Probably had breakfast waiting for him at the ranch.

My 'other' Dog encounters have been mixed as well. The only other negative one was with an ex. GF who had a Golden Retriever who totally ruined our Bkpack trip as the darn thing was a true addicted stick chaser. It took me the longest.... time to stop throwing it sticks!

Then it barked all bloody night long, I was dreaming of a noose for it. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

I wanted to address two things here about Dogs in the wilderness that seem to always get missed in discussions.

Fully 90 percent of the Dog Owners who hike togetther with their pal in the wilderness don't have a clue about their Dog's well being, and safety. And I'm not talking about running into people here.

It can be 90-degrees out, hiking up a steep trail with no shade in sight and people don't even carry any extra H2o for their pooch. And the poor thing is ready to pass out, tongue hanging low, looking pitifull.

Oh, and let's don't forget idiots who take their Chihahau out on a narly rocky trail that is tough enough on boots let alone un-protectied Dog pads!

How many 'wilderness' Dog owners on these forms even bother to carry a Vet' approved First Aid Kit specifically for their pooch?

It's total B.S. to think that a Dog who's lived most ot it's llife in a city apartment or surburia is naturally ready for walking trails with you in the backcounty just because it's a Dog. This really burns me up to see people abusing their beloved pooch in this way. Think about your animal's health for heavens sake.

And how many Dog owner's carry eXtra food and snacks for their pet on a dayhike? Just like us humans, a Dog needs snacks (and a Lunch) throughout the day to keep it's energy level UP.... or no wonder duh, they look like a rag doll on the hike out and feel every pain too.

Lastly, I believe too many Dog owners don't take responsibility for their pet's behavior both IN the wilderness and at home.

I'm not against Dogs in the wilderness. I just would like to see owners be smart about it and carry the right stuff for their pet, treat their Dog the same way you would pack the Ten Essentials for yourself.

If you take your Dog hiking with you, that's way cool. Especially for your Dog as they will love you for that day.

But please pack:

Extra Water and a Water Bowl www.granitegear.com

Doggie Snacks and eXtra Food

Vet approved (certified) Dog 1st Aid Kit.



Edited by longhair29 (07/09/05 04:23 PM)

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#27706 - 07/09/05 08:02 PM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs? [Re: PerryMK]
jonnycat Offline
member

Registered: 04/21/05
Posts: 363
Loc: PNW
Quote:
Ember is a shelter shepherd. This is a shepherd mix one meets at an animal shelter.

This Dog Backpacks And Emails


Perry, Ember is a very happy looking dog. In the spirit of putting a face to our canines, here is a picture of my faithful companion, Sam.

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#27707 - 07/10/05 08:17 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I think it's okay as long as its leashed. Yes, leashed. And no, it's not cruel to put an animal on the leash. It's common sense, really.

I've owned 2 German Shepherds. One was so scared of everything, except thunder and lightning, that she would only want to go out when it was time for a bathroom break. The other was so overprotective that she couldn't be taken out for fear that she would eat everyone in sight. Neither one would have made a good trail dog. So, common sense said they stayed home.

I had a dog encounter on the trail last week. I just finished a long downhill, rounded a corner and up runs a collie-mutt mix. It stopped and looked at me. I thought, "Oh, great!" About then I heard a voice bellow the dog's name. The dog dropped to its belly and stayed there. It's owner strode around the corner and grabbed it by the scruff of its neck. He said, "Come on around. She won't bother you as long as I'm here." I walked by, said thanks and remarked, "It's good to have a friend in the woods, isn't it?"

And that was that.

I've only been charged by a dog just once in my life (so far). I had a newspaper route when I was 12. A mutt-mix charged me, baring teeth and growling, as I came to its owner's house to deliver the paper. As it came in range, I took off my carrier's bag, which was full of rolled up newspapers, wound up and gave the mutt a muzzle full of the local times and events. It slunked off growling. Never bothered me again.

The power of the press, I guess!

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#27708 - 07/10/05 09:03 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
I just got a dog yesterday - haven't had a dog in 25 years. Shes part greyhound - could outrun a bear. I would never take this dog into lion country, much as I would enjoy camping with her. I read here about people wanting a dog that would sacrifice itslf for its family. If your dog jumped the bear to save you, would you abandon it and run, or stupidly try to get it back from the bear and then have $5000 worth of vet bills and $50,000 of your own medical bills? A lot of dogs are killed by lions in California, even within city limits.
Love your dog - leave em home.
25 years ago I took my dog camping in the Sierras and he was terrified - crawled into the tent and slept between us.
Jim just my 2 cents worth.
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#27709 - 07/10/05 09:47 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs? [Re: Jimshaw]
paulj Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/03
Posts: 1603
Loc: Seattle
Quote:
I
Love your dog - leave em home.
25 years ago I took my dog camping in the Sierras and he was terrified - crawled into the tent and slept between us.


But don't forget that a dog is a pack animal, and you are the pack leader (at least in a well adusted pack). While you are off on your two day backpacking trip, what is the dog doing at home, or in the kennel?

I wonder whether that dog was really terrified, or just wanted to be with the pack. Mine prefers to sleep with his humans, whether at home or in camp.

Frankly I get a bit annoyed at 'leave your dog at home' messages, whether on forums or in park literature. My dog is not a toy or gear that I can just stash in the closet for the season. My dog's safety and well being is as much my concern if I have to leave it behind, as if I have it with me. So far it has been easier to care for my dog when he is with me, even if it means bypassing national parks on vacation trips.

paulj

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#27710 - 07/10/05 09:49 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs? [Re: Jimshaw]
JAK Offline
member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 2569
Congratulations on your new dog. Hope you get out for lots of running with him.

I had the query about Bears and Dogs, but like I said I am not in real Bear country and we haven't had a verified sighting of the elusive or extinct Eastern Cougar in over 100 years. I was curious though if the right sort of dog would respond correctly if it smelled a bear. If it was just me I would say the correct response for the dog would be to outrun me, but if there was a child involved I would like to think the dog and I might make a better show of it.

We have only had one Black Bear attack in New Brunswick in the last 100 years that I know of. Ironically that was actually a woman out for a walk with her dogs in a place called Titusville not to far from where I hike. I think her dogs actually caused trouble rather than preventing it. Not sure. She survived but was mauled a bit. Most of our Black Bears don't get much bigger than 150# and they are rarely agressive. I am a little nervous because there is more Bear baiting going on as part of an increasing Bear Hunting industry and I wonder if that is actually making our Black Bears less safe. I think some guides might even be going a little early and a little heavy on the donuts to fatten up a prize. I think this really amounts to farming, which is pretty sick when you think about it.

Anyhow, my daughter is going on 6 and we are thinking about overnights. I am personally more worried about cars than bears but with my daughter I would like to be a little wiser. I think the right dog around here would be a good thing to have with a child, but it would have to be the right dog. Something cautious and protective but not agressive. Something like a Labrador Retriever, but maybe smaller and easier to keep fed. Labs tend to have hip trouble also. The biggest problem with taking dogs in the woods here is porcupines and they have to learn to avoid them. Dogs from PEI tend to get in trouble because there are no porcupines in PEI. Nova Scotia Duck Toller Retrievers are great little dogs. They have been bred to show off a bit (Tolling) but they also tend to be well behaved (Retrieving). I would think that any dog that looks like it might have been part North American Indian camp dog would be a very good dog. Much of this very interesting aspect of North American natural history has been lost unrecorded, but there are some exceptions here and there which the Nova Scotia Duck Toller Retriever may be a small part of.

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#27711 - 07/10/05 10:02 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs? [Re: paulj]
longhair29 Offline
member

Registered: 06/11/03
Posts: 1328
Loc: Floridad
[quote]My dog's safety and well being is as much my concern.[quote/]

So does this mean that you carry a Vet approved Dog 1st Aid Kit, Doggie Snacks, (enough for all day and for emergencies), and a water bowl when you take your Dog hiking with you?

Unless you do, your statement is invalid...period.

So many people are totally naive because they think any Dog is naturally up to hking all day on rocky trails with no previous conditioning for the Dog's foot pads.

Jimshaw's advice is smart, not ALL Dogs are appropiate for hiking with people in the wilderness.

And training both your Dog and yourself 'ought to be mandatory. For both your safety.

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#27712 - 07/10/05 10:33 AM Re: What About Hiking With Dogs?
WildMan Offline
member

Registered: 01/07/04
Posts: 271
Loc: GA
Why hike with dogs at all ?

Where is the benefit ?

1) Are you lonely ? Do not hike alone !
2) Do not exercise them enough at home ? Hey, walk them more at home !
3) Need protection ? There are better options than putting your "friend" on the line !

There are enough of us who do not appreciate your canine "friend",
so why not just leave the dog at home for the weekend.

Unless you are just plain confrontational and are willing to deal with the stress and anxiety that may occur, during outings which are meant to be stress relieving and relaxing for EVERYONE !

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