This time, our main objective is to hike a lot of trails and reach the top of several mountains in Colorado.
We plan on bringing one of our dogs (the other one is too small) on as many as she can go on, but we plan on doing a lot of things in order to make sure everything goes as planned.
Below are four tips to keep in mind before bringing your dog on a trail to go hiking:
1. Do you know if you are allowed to even bring your dog?
Before you bring your dog on a trail, you should first know whether or not they can come. You should do your research and find out if the trail allows dogs. Most trails will tell you online, and if not then they will tell you at the beginning on the trail with a sign.
There are MANY trails out there that do not allows dogs at all. For the most part, any trails in a national park do not allow dogs. National parks usually only allow dogs on the road or within 50 feet of the road. This is usually to protect the wildlife in a national park.
Trails within national forests usually allows dogs though, and these are the ones we usually go to.
2. Always clean up after them.
Dogs have a bad reputation on trails. If you want to bring your dog on a trail, please make sure to clean up after them. This means that you MUST bring plastic bags with you and that you will have to carry the bags either with you or with your dog on your hike. Don’t just leave the bags behind because that defeats the whole purpose.
Whenever someone leaves a mess from their dog behind, you are really just ruining it for everyone.
3. Bring everything they need.
There are many items you will need if you want to bring your dog hiking with you on trails. This is so that your dog will be comfortable hiking and so that they remain healthy.
You will want to bring water, food (this isn’t always the case – it really depends on your dog), bowls for the food and water, a leash (always keep your dog leashed!), plastic bags, and so on. You might even want to invest in some dog booties just in case you come across rough terrain.
4. Don’t get too ahead of yourself.
Whatever you do, always make sure to take plenty of breaks. If you’re dog needs a rest or wants to turn back, then you should.
Also, try to prepare for a longer hike on a trail if you can. For us, we have been bringing her on many walks on trails as we can. We have also been having her carry a dog backpack with everything she needs so that she can get used to carrying it.
For the dog backpack, it is best to start out with nothing in it. Then, you gradually add more and more of the items she needs until she can carry a full backpack. This is usually the best and easiest way to get your dog used to carrying a dog backpack.
Have you ever brought your dog on a trail?
What’s the furthest you’ve hiked with your dog?
Image via Flickr by OakleyOriginals