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How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

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How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby rlown » Sat May 02, 2009 6:40 pm

I'm planning a Fall trip to Trinity (where dog's are allowed), and I'm wondering, for those of you who take your "best friend" backpacking, how do you prepare them for the experience?

booties, sleeping ammenities, (food is obvious), first aid for dog's kit..

Just curious.

My Chocolate lab is 7 and it would be a great trip for her. I think i'll have to leave the Jack Russell at home.. :littledevil:

Russ



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Re: How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby hikerduane » Sat May 02, 2009 6:55 pm

I never did anything special for my dogs when they were all still alive. I live in the mountains and usually took them for a walk most days except in the winter, so their feet and personalities were used to the outdoors. I wish I had booties for them a few times, going over those granite covered trails in Desolation was tough in places where blasted granite was laid down for the trail. I would be sure your dog is in shape by taking her on walks quite often and to toughen up her pads. My dogs always slept in my tent on the floor with no special treatment. She should be tired at the end of the day and should sleep pretty good, especially if carrying her own pack.
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Re: How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby rlown » Sat May 02, 2009 7:02 pm

yeah, Samantha is kind of a couch potato.. wonder where she get's that from.. :rolleyes: She's getting a pack for her food. If i take her, she's doing some day hikes near here up Mt St Helena.

As i usually don't carry a tent unless weather requires it, the sleeping quarters might be a bit different. An extra sleeping bag is lighter than a tent.. I will get the booties anyway and train her in them as if they get some cut on a pad, i don't wanna carry out an 80lb dog.

Others?
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Re: How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby Foamfinger » Sat May 02, 2009 8:39 pm

Conditioning is as important for your dog as it is for you. Make sure you have day hikes planned to get the pup up to speed (and expected mileage). Also, train the pup while wearing her new pack - this gives a chance to get used to it and adjust for any hotspots.

We use doggie sleeping bags made by Uhlr. Pretty compact and lightweight.

You might also want to consider what Samantha will do at night if outside a tent. We spent an unexpected night outside with the dogs and they were constantly hearing little rodents, etc. We wound up spending a less-than-restful night with the leashes wrapped around one arm. Just a thought.
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Re: How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby hikerduane » Sat May 02, 2009 8:48 pm

I wasn't thinking about a dog getting cold, living up here, my dogs were outside just about year round, so they were used to the cold and the outside noises. That was the good thing about a tent, zip it up and the dogs stay with you.
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Re: How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby freestone » Sun May 03, 2009 6:32 am

I would visit the veternarian's office for a doggy checkup and discuss your plans with the doctor. He will give you some excellent ideas about what dogs need, and don't need. Dogs do not sweat so over heating can be an issue for them on the trail since they cannot shed the fur coat. Be aware of their signals, fresh water, kibble, and maybe an insulated pad is all you should need. My dogs were never well enough trained for doggie packs and booties, too distracting, they would spend all thier effort on trying to get them off. I imagine you will be sharing your Wag Bag? :D
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Re: How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby Strider » Sun May 03, 2009 10:48 am

As soon as my black lab sees me take down a sleeping bag, he jumps in the back seat and won't leave the car. He doesn't last more than five miles on a hike, so I bring plenty of water and plan short day hikes, usually in Sierra National Forest and away from the national parks and wilderness areas.

I bring a cable with a sliding leash line so he has full run of the campground but can't run off.
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Re: How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby rlown » Sun May 03, 2009 11:01 am

Strider wrote:As soon as my black lab sees me take down a sleeping bag, he jumps in the back seat and won't leave the car. He doesn't last more than five miles on a hike, so I bring plenty of water and plan short day hikes, usually in Sierra National Forest and away from the national parks and wilderness areas.

I bring a cable with a sliding leash line so he has full run of the campground but can't run off.


Samantha waterfowl hunts with me. When the decoys come out, she's ready. Sad to say, so is Bubba, the Jack Russell (he'd be better, but he doesn't float.) As soon as we're out of the parking lot, she's off leash. At least on the way out, Dogs do twice the mileage we do.

I'm thinking with the proper conditioning, she's gonna be tired after 4 miles (evidently at least 8 in "dog miles"). The Good thing about Trinity is almost all trails have streams, and she'll be in all of them.

I'm gonna have to rethink the tent thing. It sounds like a good idea.

Russ
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Re: How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby Jmma » Sun May 03, 2009 6:34 pm

I have taken my dog on trips in the Emigrant basin and once to Italy lake.The most important thing is to have booties.My dog gets plenty of exersise,I ride my bike and he runs.I do this on sidewalk and dirt so his paws are in good shape but the low humidity and granite can wear his paws down fast.Just keep an eye on him,if the trails are mostly dirt you might not need to put the booties on him but if his paws start get raw just put them on.My dog packs his own and I never bothered putting the dog pack on him til we hit the trail.He got used to it with no problem.The only worry was that because he is a Chesapeake Bay retriever I was afraid he would jump in any creek,puddle or lake with his pack on and get his food wet.Be sure and put some kind of tick/flea protection on him.I use advantix and it works great and stays on if he swims.I guess the best exercise and training for him would be to run him on the street or sidewalk to toughen up hiw paws.Good luck,hope this helps.I was thinking of trying the Trinity Alps this summer myself.
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Re: How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby Kris » Mon May 04, 2009 9:43 am

I've hiked extensively with my Catahoula, Mississippi. He's been my faithful hiking companion for 3 solid seasons and we've logged many hundreds of miles together. I adopted him when he was 1. Mississippi has always been in good shape and i trail run with him to keep him (and me) healthy. 'Sippi took to his backpack pretty easily and he's been loaded down with up to 8 days of his own food and a few snacks (and yeah he gets to share some trout). He wears a Ruff Wear pack and it's a great bag for him. For sleeping, i put him in a toasty down vest (thrift store find) and it fits him well (and looks pretty funny). It's lightweight and compresses fairly small. I put his front arms through the arm holes in the vest and he sleeps fine. In addition to his vest he carries one of the plastic folding oragami bowls for food and water. I use one of those really lightweight silver windshield sun reflectors (find at Kragen's and weight next to nothing), fold it in half and use it as a ground mat for him. If it's really cold I'll throw my rain coat on top of him at night. Booties for Mississippi is strictly for emergency if he cuts his pad. He carries two of those. They usually start to flop off, and he doesn't like to wear them. I would recommend just letting your dog see what he/she thinks of them. If you get your pooch out enough they will develop some rock hard pads. I've pulled an 18 mile day with him, so dogs can definitely put down the miles. They'll tell you if they don't want to go anymore. Mississippi is a real trooper and could probably out hike me any day. I owe a lot of my speed and stamina to that guy as he keeps me quick on the trail. Give your dog a good rub down when your camped and they're in heaven. Mississippi loves the backcountry. My dog is very well behaved and very friendly so I keep him off the leash all the time, but do have him carry a very small light weight one just in case. Hiking with you dog is great experience for both you and him. I highly recommend it. Aside from the Trinity's (where I've yet to go), you can hike all over Desolation, Emigrant, Inyo, Ansel Adams, Hoover, other surrounding Mammoth Area's, others mentioned above, etc. Enjoy!!
~We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started... and know the place for the first time.

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Re: How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby ndwoods » Wed May 06, 2009 12:36 pm

Once I did not prepare my dog and a mile in she went thru a creek and tore the pads right off her feet!!!!! Her feet were too soft and not callused. We had to wrap her feet and help her out. Vet said booties are a pain and there is a solution you can put on to harden and callus their pads but it makes them crack and the only way to prepare their pads is to hike on varied surfaces at least 6 wks daily before you go. I have always done that since and have never needed booties or anything else on any kind of surface.
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Re: How do you prepare your dog for a backpacking trip?

Postby Jmma » Fri May 08, 2009 6:52 am

The best and easiest thing to do is get a long leash maybe 15ft,get on a bicycle and you ride the dog runs.Do this in the street or on a cement sidewalk and it will toughen up your dogs paws.Get some booties from Cabelas or Lion Country Supply and have them as backup.I use the heavy cordura booties on my dog.The dog will be fine in them especially if its paws are sore.If your dog likes retrieving tennis balls get a tennis ball thrower and have him retrieve ball on a hard surface,he will be running and stopping fast and this will toughen up his paws also.Just dont over do it and start way before your trip and you will be fine.The problem I usually have with my dog is that he likes to dig before he lays down,that screws his feet up the worst.

Good luck
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