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When is my dog ready to backpack?

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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby schmalz » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:36 pm

Good stuff Bill.



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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby maverick » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Let's please keep the conversation civil, refrain from any personal attacks, and taking
this thread completely of track.

Thanks,
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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby whrdafamI? » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:00 pm

Mav, I have tried keeping it civil. I made no personal reference to ANY BODY on here but you can see where he took it. There was nothing in my post that would indicate that I was being a "guru".
Last edited by whrdafamI? on Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby Snowtrout » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:01 pm

I asked a question about dogs paws on another posts and someone suggested Handhills Toughen Up. Bought 2 bottles and applied it twice a day to both of our dogs paws, two weeks before our trip. Even brought some to apply if our dogs feet got beat up. Yes it did seem to toughen their paws up before the trip and our two doxies paws were fine after the 12 mile trip up into the Sierras.

Something to check out.
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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby schmalz » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:11 pm

Here is the topic where Bill and I initially disagreed regarding booties:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7830

You can decide for yourself what is best for your dog regarding protecting their pads. I've never claimed that any specific method is ideal for all breeds, but like most other things, I think pre trip preparation is always the best way to mitigate injury.
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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:05 pm

I have some booties just in case.

Since my dog hiked 10+ miles with me recently in decomposed granite and rocks and snow patches a couple weeks ago without an issue, I doubt I'll need 'em, but I did get some lightweight simple canvas-like booties at a clearance price, so we have them if we need them.
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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:29 pm

My dog is a re-home, three years old, obedience trained - but what makes her so great for hiking is she LOVES to walk and walk and walk. I put a pack on her the week I got her, and she didn't try to get out of it or tear it off, just walked. I could probably convince her to do anything when the leash is on her. I open a car door, she slinks back to the porch - I show her the leash and she gets in.

So this weekend, her first backpacking trip is a four day - she's had ambitious day hikes without a hitch - and she's carrying her food, booties, ccf pad, a tie out with which to leash her to a tree and give her some freedom, and a fleece coat I ordered from Sierra Trading Post for a good discount. She has rather fine hair and has blown her coat, and we're going to elevation. Even though she is good at coming back when called and doesn't really show interest in chasing things, despite being a herding dog by pedigree, I intend to keep her on a lead most of the time.

I think a dog is ready to backpack when she's reliably obedient, doesn't chew through straps and leads, doesn't rush headlong (stop and "leave it" work), and able to do decent miles in the terrain you're going to be in. Mine has been fine, curls up and naps when we stop, walks when we walk, and was still wagging her tail when we were done for the day.
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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:23 pm

Thanks all for the advice. The idea of booties as "first aid" sounds good. I had not thought of a dog-specific first aid kit. A few dog pain relief tablets are a good idea. I will ask the vet what would be good to take for dog medicine. And tweezers to remove ticks. She would get several ticks a day last fall.

I am not sure about any doggy clothing. She is a "rough coat" border collie - is really furry. She has slept in temperatures near freezing (car camping) without problems as long as she has a pad below. I am thinking of letting her just eat and drink out of my cooking pot. She is real good at licking the pots and pans clean at home!

This may be a stupid question, but if it rains and the dog gets wet, how do you dry her off before bedtime? Or does it matter? A wet dog in the tent does not sound very appealing to me. I think on our first trip I may take my bivy sack to protect my sleeping bag inside the tent and have the dog sleep in the tent and see how it goes.
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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby rlown » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:33 pm

is she on frontline or advantage? that helps with the tick problem (mostly advantage). Dogs also can take benydryl. you just have to know the dose. it's the same pill we might take, but per pound for the dog. cover the dog at night.. they like that. small quilt.

Bring a towel.. dry her off. and that's as good as it gets.

At this point, just take her! as long as you have first aid booties, you're good to go.
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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:45 pm

A microfiber towel would be the ticket with my dog - a dense coat is more problematic if the dog's really soaked.

I have my dog on a once a month worm and flea medication, Trifexis, and put a tick collar (yes, it's that specific, they have them on Dr Foster Smith) on her for spring. It's good for three months.

There is a clearance on cordura booties over here: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/p ... pcatid=868

I picked up four pairs - it would be lighter to carry all four than a single set of the Ruffwear booties with vibram soles.
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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby schmalz » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:22 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:Thanks all for the advice. The idea of booties as "first aid" sounds good. I had not thought of a dog-specific first aid kit. A few dog pain relief tablets are a good idea. I will ask the vet what would be good to take for dog medicine. And tweezers to remove ticks. She would get several ticks a day last fall.

I am not sure about any doggy clothing. She is a "rough coat" border collie - is really furry. She has slept in temperatures near freezing (car camping) without problems as long as she has a pad below. I am thinking of letting her just eat and drink out of my cooking pot. She is real good at licking the pots and pans clean at home!

This may be a stupid question, but if it rains and the dog gets wet, how do you dry her off before bedtime? Or does it matter? A wet dog in the tent does not sound very appealing to me. I think on our first trip I may take my bivy sack to protect my sleeping bag inside the tent and have the dog sleep in the tent and see how it goes.


Here is some more info I've gathered from my research.

re: First Aid: Liquid Bandage seems to be a good way to deal with a cut paw initally before bandaging it. Vet Wrap is good for wrapping it up before putting on the bootie. Fortunately I haven't had to use either of these yet.

re: Doggy Clothing: For long trips I bring a ruffwear cloud chaser which helps in the rain etc. I've never had to use it backpacking but it has helped on dayhikes. Last weekend we were at matlock lake and the low was probably 35 degrees and she was fine with no clothing, but on a pad in my tent.

re: drying your dog. I bring a shamwow I cut in half for this exact purpose. It works well. I also restrict Callie's ability to get into the water close to sunset.

I'm planning on writing a guide on all of this, as I've been researching this extensively and have been getting plenty of real world experience. I want to make sure that my advice is well grounded though, which is why I'm giving it another year. I'll be taking my dog offtrail into the Bear Lakes basin for a few days this summer (and then hopefully to Merriam Lake and Royce Lakes), and I'll be letting everyone here know how it goes. I'm prepared to carry my dog out if needed but I obviously am planning to make sure that never happens.
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Re: When is my dog ready to backpack?

Postby whrdafamI? » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:31 am

Funny how you feel free to put me down for taking a dog into KCNP when almost all your pictures clearly show a unrestrained dog on trails that are clearly posted "Dogs must remain leashed at all times". But then, you must feel that you are above the law.
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