I’ve had the pleasure of hiking with some great trail dogs in my time, including my friend PedXing’s dog Loki. Dogs that stay with us and don’t go running off after every chipmunk or moose, dogs that don’t bark or jump on other hikers, and dogs that obviously love going for a challenging walk as much as I do.
- What are the attributes of a great hiking dog?
- Are there certain breeds that make better trail companions than others?
- What’s the best way to train dogs to go hiking or backpacking with you?
For starters, puppies aren’t ready to carry a load, nor are their immune systems ready to take on the world. So you need to work out exactly when your dog will be ready.
Visit the Vet: Ask your veterinarian some key questions before you and your dog head into the wilds:
- Is your dog physically ready?
- Does your dog need any specific vaccinations or preventative medicines? In the city, you might not worry about things like your dog drinking water in a lake or pond that an infected animal has contaminated with Leptospirosis or even giardia. Ask the vet about preventative measures for outdoor destinations.Is your dog’s immune system ready? Factoring in the rate of natural immunity development and your dog’s vaccine schedule, your vet can advise you about the safe age for you two to hit the trail.