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Old 06-03-2017, 10:58 AM   #1
adirondackcamper
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Hiking with a dog

Hi everyone! It's been awhile since I've posted. I just wanted to ask for any tips or advice for getting started with hiking with a dog. I have quite a bit of experience hiking ( both solo and with others) but I'm brand new to hiking with a dog. I just adopted a 3 year old Siberian Husky ( I'll try to post pics) Her name is Keeva. I do have lots of experience with dogs. Just never hiked with one before. And yes before anyone says it, my plan is to take her on a bunch of short hikes just through the woods in my area before I take her into the mountains. I'm just looking for tips and advice for when I feel she's ready for overnight adventures in the mountains further from home. Thanks everyone

Steve
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Old 06-03-2017, 04:00 PM   #2
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Hi Steve, congrats on your new companion!
I'm not a dog expert by any means & all dogs are different, but what has worked out well for me is to take your dog with you where ever you go, as much as possible... Rides to the store, over to see friends & family, out to check the mailbox, bring out the garbage, even to work with you if you can, etc. Also, talk to him/her a lot. I think that it helps them learn certain words & helps with commands. And yes...go hiking as much as possible, and always be sure to use a leash when necessary. Not everyone loves dogs, so keeping your dog close to you & under control at all times is important, including for the safety of your dog. Most dogs love to run too, so play a lot of fetch, or maybe even include some jogging together when you can. Camping out took a couple of a tries for me before my dog started to get comfortable. Same with being in the canoe. Another thing I've noticed...Doing a lot of bushwhacking seemed to help her to stay very close to me, and help train her to walk behind me when I tell her to do so. Hope some of this helps, best of luck to you & Keeva!

Last edited by Justin; 06-03-2017 at 08:43 PM.. Reason: Added a thought
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Old 06-03-2017, 11:37 PM   #3
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As I learned the hard way today: watch out for porcupines!
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Old 06-05-2017, 02:38 PM   #4
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For what it's worth, I put Justin's suggestions into play with our new pooch and she's coming along as my trail companion. She walks well on her leash with I attach to my hip belt. So far she's well mannered in the woods and doesn't even try to run off after rabbits or deer; although squirrels still upset her to a degree. My next step is to get her acclimated to my canoe while on dry land. After that our first few forays will be in a small pond and then, if all goes well, we'll try paddling a stretch of the Susquehanna River that runs near our home. I'm also going to take her on her first few "camping" trips in our backyard so she can get used to the process. Bottom line, take it slowly and don't move on until your dog is comfortable with what you're doing. That's my best suggestion. I hope it all works out for you and Keeva!

That's all for now. Take care and until next time....be well.

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Old 08-19-2017, 01:37 PM   #5
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There is a bulk of articles and special sites in the Internet about hiking with dogs, I think, you can find there replies for every your question! And don't forget, that your friend will be at every picture you take!
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:22 PM   #6
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I think a harness, rather than just a collar is very helpful when you come to spots where your dog may need a little helping hand. With a big dog, you need to be concerned with how you'll get them out if they are injured or tired. I know I've heard some people will hike with a camping hammock to be used to carry their dog in case of emergency. Pay attention to signals the dog gives you. If your dog seems to want to quit and is laying down, you probably need to end the hike. They can't tell you when they've had enough with words. You'll have to deal with poop and I know some people have some kind of apparatus that hooks the poop bag to the dog's harness or collar. Better than you carrying it the whole way. Either bags or a shovel to bury it. You'll have to carry enough water for yourself and the dog and you may want to look in to a harness that allows your pet to carry some of its provisions.

Last edited by gebbyfish; 08-20-2017 at 09:45 AM..
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:02 AM   #7
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Bear in mind that not all other hikers are fond of dogs, especially ones which gradually get muddy and smelly. Also, kids might not like dogs of any sort.

It's not "Call of the Wild" - although a husky, you have a domesticated animal, bred to have certain physical and psychological traits, ones which may not adapt well to such a stimulating environment.
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Old 08-27-2017, 11:09 AM   #8
JeffreyHoward
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I think the most important is to start with a day hike (or camping) and go for longer hikes when a dog is used to it enough.
As Just already mentioned, using a leash is very important.
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Old 08-27-2017, 11:58 AM   #9
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While there is obviously a leash law in the High Peaks, the vast majority of the Adirondacks do not have that law. I feel it is very important (maybe the most important) that you have as much confidence as possible on knowing what your dog will do off leash. On leash maybe he doesn't seem to want to chase a deer off to the side, but if he did, would he come right back or just blindly keep chasing it? Naturally you won't want to learn these things in the woods of the Adirondacks, but go back to those smaller wooded areas you and your dog already know well. While most everyone on this forum speaks to the leash law, the majority of pictures shared here usually show their dogs off leash.

One example that stood out for me was my best dog ever. Grin was a yellow lab that we rescued. Took him out several times leashed in the local woods. Then slowly started to let him off leash. I kept expanding his freedom to see what he would do. I let him get ahead of me and then I climbed a hill so that he didn't know where I was but I knew where he was. He blindly ran back and forth with no idea how to locate me. I called him after a few moments and he came running. He did not like not knowing where I was, and he put that in his memory banks. We got separated several more times in the weeks following that incident, and in each case he began to learn to "think" of how he was going to find me. In the meantime, each time we went out and he was off leash I observed what he did and did not do. I am a believer in giving my dogs a chance to fail (in a safe environment). Sure I can attempt to completely control what they do or try to do, but by letting them have a chance to fail, I much better learn just how far they will go. No I don't go by a cliff and see if they jump off, or come up to a busy street and watch to see if they will run out into traffic, but within the confines of our local woods (one square mile of area), I have an opportunity to see a lot. My dog Grin and I became amazing hiking buddies. Even in deep grass or heavy thick woods, even when we were out of sight of each other, we never again got lost. I knew he would chase after a deer, but it was more the fun for him to see it scamper away because he gave up those chases after a few seconds. I knew that every time he chased a deer he would come back almost immediately. If I never gave him the opportunity because I kept him on his leash, I wouldn't know what would happen should he accidentally have gotten away from me and took off. Nor would I know if he would know how to come back to me because he had never been separated from me

I lost Grin to leukemia several years ago and I rescued another dog. Started off the same way as I had with Grin, only this girl, while fast as lightning and with incredible jumping skills, never wanted to get too far away from me. In the hundreds of hours we have hiked together she and I have never gotten separated, even though she is never on leash. Again, I only learned this by giving her the chance to fail, only she didn't.

In my over 40 years of hiking, climbing and backpacking, none of my dogs have ever gotten lost/separated in the Adirondacks, I am sure there are dogs out there that would. If you find you have a dog that simply wanders too far then you, either leash them or don't hike with them. My dogs have tags with multiple phone numbers, and I have them very securely attached to their collar, along with their rabies tags.

Now someone will immediately say you never know what your dog will do, but those people don't have dogs or don't know how to interact with them. Do you know what your kid will do in every situation?
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Last edited by rbi99; 08-27-2017 at 12:32 PM..
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Old 08-28-2017, 01:04 PM   #10
JeffreyHoward
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Originally Posted by peskypup View Post
As I learned the hard way today: watch out for porcupines!
I truly want to know the story behind your words
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Old 08-28-2017, 11:45 PM   #11
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I truly want to know the story behind your words
We'd taken our two dogs -- a golden retriever (Fletcher) and a flat coat retriever(?) (Sam) for a morning hike at the Lake George Land Conservancy's Last Great Shoreline Preserve in Putnam. Both are rescues, each between 3-4 years old. We'd had the golden a little over a year, but had only had the flat coat a couple months at this point, so both dogs were on leash. We'd hiked into the view point and down to the lake and were on our way back out when we met the neighborhood porcupine.

For those not familiar with the preserve, the parking lot is about a quarter mile down the road from the actual trail head. There's a connector trail in the woods that had some blow down on it, so after our hike, on the way back to the car, we decided to walk down the dirt road back to the car instead. As we were only a couple hundred yards from the car, we were letting the dogs sniff the high grass along the side of the road so they could relieve themselves if they felt so inspired.

All of a sudden Fletcher pulled forward into the grass, and an instant later, a very large porcupine ambled out of the grass and down the road. Meanwhile, Fletcher came out of the grass and started pawing at his face furiously trying to get the quills out (in the process pushing them in further and breaking a few off!)

He ultimately got off very lucky -- he only had about 2 dozen quills in his mouth and muzzle, and maybe 10-15 in the back of his leg near his wrist, because he'd pawed at it first to see what it was.

We managed pull the worse of the quills out -- the ones inside his mouth in his tongue and the roof of his mouth -- then raced off to the nearest emergency vet, which turned out to be in Rutland, VT. They had put him under to pull of the rest of them out, and ended up leaving a couple in his leg, as they'd already migrated their way under the skin. They told us they'd probably work their way back out on their own, but to keep an eye on him and take him to our regular vet if the area became inflamed or there was any weeping, etc.

In the end, we pulled out a quill 2 nights later, and another 2 nights after that. As an added bonus we found one in his muzzle that they'd missed the same night. He got off very lucky though -- I've since seen some very frightening photos of dogs with hundreds of quills all over their face and in their mouths.

He was back to his regular self he next day. I'd like to think he's learned his lesson, and he's a pretty bright dog, so he very well might have. His brother, on the hand, has a very high prey drive and not-so-high IQ, so I have no doubt he would have come out looking much worse if he'd been the first to encounter it!

Last edited by peskypup; 08-29-2017 at 01:32 PM.. Reason: prey not pray!
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Old 08-29-2017, 10:01 AM   #12
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I am not in favor of dogs in the High Peaks...or on any major hiking trails. I am also not a fan of dogs on canoe routes.
Even well behaved dogs will eventually run wild in the woods...dogs are dogs, their dog instincts will kick in at some point...either to chase something, bark at something, relieve themselves somewhere (I don't recall ever seeing one use a latrine or digging a cat hole).
Friendly wet dogs will jump on people, slime them etc.
And dogs get exhausted and will wear themselves out...Keep them home.

I am a dog lover and owner..we have two dogs..when we camp/hike (overnight) I make arrangements for someone to take care of them. I don't make my dogs someone else's problem in the woods.. I don't care to deal with yours when I've already properly attended to mine.

I have been a husky owner...let me tell you something about huskies...they run. Mine (the most loving wonderful dog ever) could snap a braided steel wire run and drag it for miles and hours when (not if) he was chasing a deer. He could escape from almost anything in pursuit of anything (even birds) that caught his eye. Ask any husky owner.. if they are honest they will tell you that it is inherent behavior. My son's girlfriend tells of losing one for 5 days in Wind River Range (not hers). This year my son and his girlfriend lost a husky they were caring for when it jumped a 4 foot fence to pursue a herd of elk. It smelled the elk from almost 3/4 of a mile away. By the time they found the dog (and figured out what was going on) it had traveled a mile from where it had escaped and had separated an elk from the herd. It had also attracted the attention of a local rancher who was getting out of his truck with a rifle to put the dog down. My son convinced him to allow him to try and catch the dog...which they eventually did using snowmobiles and a literal flying leap off the back of one to catch it. Did I mention that it was wearing a GPS shock collar? That is how they were able to track and locate it. Even with the collar on full tilt the dogs instincts kept it in pursuit of the elk..it's a husky..it's what they do...

Watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat the yellow snow..keep your dogs at home..
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Old 08-29-2017, 10:18 AM   #13
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You know your dogs well and your personal decisions are well founded. Will my dogs bark if someone comes up to the lean to - yes - but not menacingly, and stop as soon as I tell them to. They absolutely never bark at people we meet on the trail, and before I can tell someone not to worry about my dogs, my dogs have already passed them by without hardly giving them a glance. My dogs have never crapped on a trail - ever. As I mentioned in my post, in over 40 years of various forms of hiking I have never had a dog run off, nor have any jumped on anyone. So my dogs, who I know as well as you know yours, do not do the things you said every dog does. I know that because I spend a lot of time with them like I said in our local woods, learning their personalities and behaviors. I cannot speak for other peoples dogs, but I can speak for mine. No, I or anyone else can say anything is a certainty 100% of the time, but that applies to everything in life. No guarantees I don't have a car accident while driving from Cleveland to the Adirondacks, but I never have. I prepare my dogs beforehand, hike with them constantly, and am confident that I know what they will do in almost every single event that might take place while in the woods in the Adirondacks. Leave my dogs home - it ain't happening.
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Old 08-29-2017, 11:50 AM   #14
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Watch out where the huskies go and don't you eat the yellow snow...
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Old 08-29-2017, 01:11 PM   #15
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I'm glad Fletcher got off very lucky. Though, that was a sad experience for him.

Also, Fletcher is lucky to have a caring owner like you.
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Old 09-03-2017, 08:14 PM   #16
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I've trained a few dogs to hike with me; all have different habits, strengths and weaknesses. Huskies are a breed that still hears the call of the wild -- pretty close to wolf, have a prey drive, like to run. Because of this I'd start on basic recall in a very rudimentary way. I actually had a dog that had to go to a six week coming when called class. Remedial class, so to speak, because he was the bane of my existence and did nothing he was told.

So I learned how to brainwash a dog to come by hardwiring in a pleasure response. Always use the exact same words when calling (like "Fido, come"). Never vary the command.

Start by rewarding with very high quality treats (like pieces of hotdogs or real meat) every single time he comes when called. Call him when you know he's going to succeed - at first very close by - and reward him immediately if he responds (don't make him wait, they have only a few second recall to associate the treat with the behavior they just performed, also, don't issue another command in the meantime, like sit). Gradually extend the range and length of time. If he comes back for a check-in, reward him.

Never call twice and never vary the reward - and only reward the come, but always reward it immediately. Don't scold them for not performing when they do come back, this just confuses them because they can't connect the fact that five minutes ago they didn't come when called, and This is why they are in trouble now.

People think this Is nuts because you'd have to always have high quality treats. But you actually don't. Eventually, this behavior is brainwashed into them because you've hard wired the reward/pleasure center to the command, and you don't need the treats. It really does work.

My other piece of advice, jingle bell collar. Helps warn the animals your dog is around - and gives them time to avoid. Haven't had a quilling since I started using them.
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