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Wave goodbye to dog walks, and hello to dog-hikes!

The account of a walker and his dog

My name is Jeremy and I am the proud owner of Soka, a Siberian husky. With this account, I will share my passion and experience of walking with my dog in summer, which is referred to as "dog-hikes". Quite differently from a walk or stroll, with a dog-hike, your companion is attached to you and leads the way. Here are some recommendations for getting started and discovering the routes with your dog.

 

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THE ADVANTAGES OF HIKING WITH YOUR DOG

The primary advantage of hiking with your dog is deepening your bond with the animal. An outdoor activity not only provides visible well-being but also the relationship with your companion, deepening this bond.
 

SELECT SUITABLE ROUTES  

A good hike requires preparation, with a dog, the same applies; suitable actions must be taken.

Firstlythe route, your dog, just like you, wants to discover the region's paths. However, not all areas are accessible, so before setting off, look to see if your route crosses a nature reserve for example and inform yourself on the legislation in force.

Secondly: hydration, personally, my husky cannot draw when hiking above 15-18°c, so it is important that when the temperature is high, I am able to constantly provide my husky water, so I check to see where all the water points are on a map. See here for hydrating two legged hikers.

Thirdly: the type of pathway. Your dog may not be very agile and therefore cannot climb so it is not worth considering pathways which are too high up or too exposed, levels, cables. Discover our article on classifications to hike at your level.

 

HOW TO EQUIP YOUR DOG

Once you have decided upon your route, you must prepare your equipment. There are two options according to the breed, size and age of your animal and the type of hike (intensive or not).

The first: backpack for dogs. With two different sized side pockets so that water, food and any "toys" can be directly carried by your companion. However, be aware of the load your dog can carry, it is not a mule and the dog's back cannot carry a very heavy load. A dog in good health can carry a third of its weight. To ensure safety, and if you are walking for a long period, load with a quarter of its body weight.

The second solution: which personally I'd opt for, is to carry their water and food in my own backpack. This way the dog has greater freedom of movement.

When your backpacks are ready, it is time to prepare the dog's harness; the choice of harness is based upon the dog and the selected activity. There are many kinds, the “x-back” type harness is the most suitable for sled dogs. The attachment point is located just in front of the tail and therefore the dog tows its entire weight. The primary concept is that the dog is not attached by “the neck” as is the case with a leash.

Finally, your dog must be attached to you using a lead rope with shock absorber (elastic). Lead lines for sled dogs serve this purpose well. The lead rope is then attached to the backpack stomach strap.

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RULES FOR DOG-HIKING  

There are some rules to consider when dog-hiking: firstly, respect for other hikers, then respect for the plant and wildlife. For example, avoid approaching hers or wild animals even if your dog is attached to you.

Take bags for you to clear up dog waste. Think also about managing your trash.

For optimal enjoyment, it is important that your dog is well trained: recall, sit, to heel and more specific commands for dog-hiking: left/right (important for rapid junctions), stop (very useful in the case of a problem), in front (to help you).

 

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POST-HIKE

Once you return home, the first thing to do is to look for any ticks and the second thing, is to get the food bowl out. You must wait one to three hours before feeding your companion. The dog's stomach is at greater risk of dilatation-torsion as it is more mobile. Giving your dog food after exercise increases the risk of stomach torsion. The third is to check the dog's paws. With the more cuddly, you can also give them a little massage after the hike.

TIP: Use encouragement rather than punishment, some dogs may be more stubborn, if they disobey, it is not serious. Encourage and make of fuss of them when they obey.

 

Do you want to go out with your dog all year round, even in winter? Discover dog-hiking here!

What is your best memory hiking with your pet companion? Let us know in the comment section below!

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