1. Plan your Hike
Even though improvising can be fun, hiking with dogs implies some extra risks. In the event of your dog running away, you want to know in advance the potential dangers and limits (ex: passing road 1 mile away, parallel river on the right).
Make sure to always look at a map beforehand and make a screenshot or two on google maps (while you have network connection). Satellite view is also a great tool to get extra details on your surroundings.
Always remember that not all the dogs have the same energy level. Depending on the breed, you must be sure that your dog is okay with the lenght of the hike. Also, you must always adapt your route if you are with old dogs or puppies.
2. Bring resealable bags
While we often think about snacks along the way, we forget that we have to dispose of the waste. If you are freak about the environment like us, we suggest you use compostable bags. If you can't find any resealable version, simply add a chip clip to your hiking gear. You can always bring a big Ziploc bag.
These bags will prove useful to store used poop bags (if any) and all the waste resulting from your snacks (Apple heart, bars packaging, etc.). But also for many other reasons that will appear to you over time.
3. CLIPPED & READY
Before leaving the house, always make sure that your dog didn't loose any of its identification tags. It happened to one of our friends and since then, we added it to the list. Her dog (Rocco) had lost its tag somewhere in the week prior to our hike. Midway to the summit, when we stop for a sip of water, we realized Rocco had no tags to its collar. Happily, Rocco didn't escape during this hike but this is a valuable lesson and know that a little check-up is ALWAYS needed right before you leave on a hike.
4. CHECK YOUR DOGGY'S GEAR
For every dog, the gear will differ. Some of you have dog backpacks, others have treat pouch or extra leashes.
Whatever you know is essential, make sure you have it. For us, we know that treats are necessary. If Belle comes back when we call her and or if she behave properly in the presence of other dogs, she gets a treat. If she doesn't, after 3 or 4 times, she'll starts to ignore the commands and enjoy life by herself. It's like her ears had closed and couldn't hear anything we say.
Example of things that might prove useful:
Treats, poop bags, water bowl, extra leash or dog backpack.
Whenever we go on a hike, the same thing happens. Everytime, we rush to the summit thinking on how beautiful it will be and hoping the sky will be clear.
Once at the top, we quickly take the camera out and start taking pictures. More often then not, we end up taking only a short break before we head down.
It's so hard to truly relax at the summit, if the dog is off-leash, will she run away? But if she's on the leash, she wants to sniff around and I find myself walking around the summit barely enjoying the view.
A MUST-HAVE TO TRULY RELAX
Well there is one thing that is now indispensable on any hike ! Our dog stake...
Honestly, since we bring our Gravity Stake with us, we've probably doubled the time spent at the summit.
It's just so convenient ! Once at the top, I screw it in the ground first thing. Then I simply clip Belle to it while I access stuff in my backpack, whether it's extra clothes or snacks.
We then take the time to enjoy the view without worrying about her meeting with other dogs or people.
In National Parks, many people are bothered by dogs' presence. Avoiding to let your dog off-leash is a good way to get them to like you. This is why our stake actually doubled the time at the summit. Belle can sniff around while we can enjoy the view.
Once we are ready, we unclip her and go for the pictures.
And there you are , ALL SET and ready for your next Hike !