dogs

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bobby49
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dogs

Post by bobby49 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:49 pm

I'm moving in the direction of getting an adult Border Collie for backpacking purposes. I can begin to train it and get it ready for the trail by June or so, I hope. I understand that 25% of body weight is the expected maximum load for a dog. I can get a medium saddlebag pack for the dog, so it can carry a small amount of food. If the weather gets cold, I may have a dog jacket for the dog. The dog can shelter in one corner of my shelter, as long as I bring along a foam sleeping pad, although I don't know how to keep a synthetic blanket over the dog. Maybe an insulated dog jacket would be used for that. Any advice?

The wilderness trails of the national parks are off-limits for dogs. Some of the national forests do allow dogs. Everybody tells me that Emigrant Wilderness is the place to take a dog. Any other good places?








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Re: dogs

Post by balzaccom » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:01 pm

Even in the national forests, dogs are expected to be either on a leash or under direct control. I won't encourage you because I've had too many dogs confront me on a trail when the owner was well behind, and not in a position to do anything about it. (BTW we had a dogs for many years, but it was small and we didn't take it backpacking...)
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bobby49
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Re: dogs

Post by bobby49 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:14 am

balzaccom wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:01 pm
Even in the national forests, dogs are expected to be either on a leash or under direct control. I won't encourage you because I've had too many dogs confront me on a trail when the owner was well behind, and not in a position to do anything about it. (BTW we had a dogs for many years, but it was small and we didn't take it backpacking...)
Understood. However, assume that I am hanging on the end of the leash. I think these need to be standard trails and not cross-country.

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Re: dogs

Post by balzaccom » Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:45 am

Then you are limited to national forests in California. Massive hiking opportunities through the Sierra: Carson Pass, Ebbetts Pass, Sonora Pass...and then the large wilderness areas south of there: Ansel Adams and John Muir Wildernesses. Some of the best hiking in the Sierra.

Want solitude? Try a trip in the Mokelumne Wilderness into the Canyon of the Mokelume….
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Re: dogs

Post by AlmostThere » Tue Feb 19, 2019 7:50 am

My dog has a fleece jacket she sleeps in while camping, she will come ask to have it put on if it's cold. She eats dehydrated rice and turkey burger while backpacking (it gets rehydrated for her before our dinner does so she is not a pest), sleeps on my foam sit pad, and has her own little first aid kit and good booties. We tell her to come when people are approaching, take her off trail to sit while stock goes by, and she always leaves the trail to "do her business" without being told to. Dogs can also be trained to walk behind on command when in more precarious areas, like walking a log across a stream or a steep or narrow part of a trail. She has no real prey drive but will give chase if another dog does, so we keep her on leash.

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Re: dogs

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:52 am

We have a border collie who occasionally backpacks with us. She is the long haired variety; better to get the short haired variety. There are "working" varieties and "show" varieties- be sure to get the working kind- they have longer legs. Keeping a dog clean is a problem and we have to bring the brush with us. We trained her from a puppy and it took a lot of work and much more than 6 months. She really was not fully trained until nearly 2 years old. If you get an adult dog, be sure it has been well trained. If a shelter dog, be sure you know why the dog was given up. It would be hard to train an adult dog that has not been properly trained as a puppy. Unfortunately sometimes problem dogs are the ones that get dropped off at the shelters. A border collie will need daily walking or they go berserk. I walk the dog about 4 miles a day. In addition my husband takes here to the archery range every day. She also need to be played with a lot. Actually, other breeds may work better for a backpack dog.

AT, we do almost the exact same with our dog, except we do take regular dry dog food. The dog carries stuff that can get wet; I carry her dog food. She likes to swim and will get stuff in her pack wet. She has been trained well and mostly goes off leash and is very good about not chasing anything (that takes a LOT of work). Keeping the dog warm is much less of a problem than keeping her cool. We have to avoid low-elevation hot dry trails.

The dog always goes with us when my husband goes. Personally, I prefer to backpack without a dog. There is a lot of watching, worrying and work in keeping a clean camp with a dog. Fly fishing triggers her herding instinct; when I fish, she jumps into the water to herd the fishing line.

The trail condition (smooth or non-sharp rocks) and water availability seem to be the most important thing. There is no particular area better than another- all parts of the NF land in the Sierra have varying conditions. Example; I took my dog up the trail in Desolation to Suzie Lake and her paws were mangled by the sharp rocks on the trail. Then I took her up the trail to Many Island Lake on the west side, where the trail had smoother rock, and her paws were fine. I really do not know where there is good information on that. Volcanic and metamorphic rock areas tend to have the worst trail conditions for dogs. A trail along a river is good because the dog can get cooled of often.

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Re: dogs

Post by sekihiker » Tue Feb 19, 2019 9:33 am

I hiked with my Yorkie, Beans, for many years. Despite her small size, she held up well on our trips. Beans even dictated a report to me for a trip to one of her favorite areas. The report can be found at: http://www.sierrahiker.com/IndianLakes/index.html

A report of another trip she took can be found at: http://www.sierrahiker.com/RedRockBasin/index.html

Her biography can be found at: http://www.sierrahiker.com/IndianLakes/beans.html
Beans hiked until she was 15 yo and died in May of the next year at 112 dog years. I still miss her.

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Re: dogs

Post by tarbuckle » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:19 am

I always bring my dogs. But I have had issues. The most serious one was in the Russian Wilderness last June. I set up my tent to take an afternoon nap and get away from the mosquito's. In the blink of an eye a Pitt bull ripped through my tent like it was paper. It latched on to my dog and would not let go. My dog ended up with a 5 inch gash along his ribs and tendons popping out of his legs from bites. He was a 1/2 inch from being disemboweled. I ended up with over 30 puncture wounds on each hand and wrist. I also have a forever mangled pinky.
Lots more to the story. But bringing dogs in the backcountry does come with risks.

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Re: dogs

Post by bobby49 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:40 am

Suppose a stream crossing is pants-pockets-deep, and I have trekking poles. I can get myself across without drowning, but what about the dog?

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Re: dogs

Post by bobby49 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:42 am

"If you get an adult dog, be sure it has been well trained."

The dog is four years old, and they say that she has passed informal obedience training, but that is all. I would not know how to assess a dog's training until it gets into some situation.

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