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Dog Packing

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Dog Packing

Postby maverick » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:35 pm

Those of you who backpack with your dogs, what do you feed you dog while out, and
what brand of food has been the most popular? What do you use for a bowl (food)?
Do you carry a leash, and do you use it? Do you leash your dog at night? Do you carry
a dedicated sit pad/sleeping pad for your dog?
If you got your dog in the past few years have you geared most of your trips to areas
where you can take your dog along with you now? How do you deal with creek crossings?
Does lightning scare your dog? How does it react to snow?
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Re: Dog Packing

Postby Rockchucker » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:35 pm

I take my dog backpacking quite a bit. Let's see, I feed her happy hips, very good high caloric, quality food. She has a small cloth collapsible bowl( I don't know the brand)

No leash ( go ahead and flame)

She sleeps on a cut down ridge rest pad that she carries.

I try to find dog friendly areas or areas that lack tons of people ( although she's quite a lover and not aggressive towards people unless they act threatening)

She loves water so streams arn't a problem.

She goes hunting with me so loud noise doesn't affect her.

Lastly we hike in snow all year so she's very snow capable.

My big concern of late has been water, after some very informative post here I've become concerned about filtering her water, the problem is she is usually drinking from the stream or what ever long before I can stop her and make her wait until I get my filter out and get her some water.
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Re: Dog Packing

Postby jessegooddog » Tue Dec 17, 2013 8:19 pm

I always bring my shepherd mix Freddog with me. If my late Annie has passed closer to summer I would have done some hiking and backpacking in SEKI before getting another dog, but 7 months was way too long to wait. I specifically looked for a dog that could hike at altitude and be off leash and friendly to others on the trail (as well as being cat friendly). I bring his regular dry food (TJ), and treats, next time I will bring extra as I believe he may have kept me awake all night on our last trip because he was hungry. I use his collapsible cloth water bowl. I carry a leash to use if not so friendly dogs come around, and put his leash on him inside the tent at night, just in case we need to go out - he is very curious and I don't want him chasing anything in the dark. I will be bringing a thicker pad for him next time. As we have only done overnight trips, he doesn't need to carry his own food. He was fearful of getting his toes wet when I adopted him in January, now he goes right through the creeks and wade into lakes, and will cross a bridge or plank if it isn't too narrow, but doesn't have any interest in swimming, even when other dogs are doing so. He is fine with snow; I did leash him up a few times last year when I was concerned about snow bridges or other dangers. The creeks in the Owens Valley are mostly frozen now, so he is getting some good lessons about ice. He is not fearful of thunder or fireworks. I wouldn't mind hiking or backpacking alone - but he's a great dog, full of love and joy, I cannot imagine going on a trip without him.
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Re: Dog Packing

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:17 pm

I do most of my solo hiking w/o the dog because I usually go in areas where dogs are not allowed. The dog is my husbands dog so when he goes, so does the dog. We look for paw-friendly trails since our dog is still young. So far we carry everything; next summer she will be big enough to carry stuff. Food is Taste of the Wild - same as at home. She also gets part of our food and a third of the fish we catch. No bowl (we do not use bowls either - we all eat out of the cook pot). We feed her after we eat - that way she also cleans the pot (I just wipe out the pot- next meal water is boiled so the pot is sterilized). We take a sized-down ridge-rest with a fleece cover. She is very furry - long haired- so we need to bring a brush next year. Pitch in fur is a problem. She loves to swim so no problem with creeks. Never taken her out in lightning yet. Take a leash but she free roams on the trail. She does not chase animals. We put the leash on if an unruly other dog passes. Most cases we move off trail and have her sit until the others pass. I have to tie her up when I fish because she jumps in the lake after the lures and tries to bite the fishing line.
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Re: Dog Packing

Postby Snowtrout » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:29 am

I think that the breed of the dog has a lot to do with what is needed for them to be successful and comfortable in the backcountry. I have two dachshunds that hiked nearly 25 miles last summer with my wife and I and after asking questions here and searching the internet (hiking with dogs was new to us), felt very comfortable with our decisions for equipping them.
Here is what worked for us:

Food--same food they eat at home. Don't want to try something new with them and end up with diarrhea. We tried doggie energy bars and they hated them. Brought bacon flavored doggie sticks (look like slim jims) and they loved them.

Bowl--we cut the bottom out of a plastic 2 liter bottle for their food and water. Perfect for them and very light. Bigger dog will need something larger.

Water--we do put filtered water into their bowl but they will drink (and ours lay) in any stream, river or lake you come upon. Hard to stop that since dogs seem to drink out of anything.

Leash--yes we carry a leash for both of them but usually only use it if there are people around or we need to keep them (one loves to explore) in control. Some people will come right up to your dog and want to pet them. That is up to you but if your dog is hesitant around strangers, be vocal and let people know that touching them might not be a good idea.

Pad/bag--I wrote to a sleeping bag company and asked if I could buy a mummy bag that was sent in under warranty and would be disposed of since I did not want a smelly, wet, dirty dog in my nice clean down bag. Kelty/Slumberjack sent me a used 20 degree mummy bag (looked new) for free. I cut off the top third of the bag and sewed it up making a mini dog sleeping bag that fits both of our dogs perfectly and only weighs 1lb. If it gets cold, I cinch up the top to keep them warm and in their bag (they like to migrate to ours in the morning). A larger dog would need a pad to sleep/relax on. A closed foam pad would probably work and you could cut it to size. Add a blanket or jacket if in colder conditions.

Packs--we have an xxsmall for one of our dogs. Carries maybe 2 cups of food in it and occasionally we make him wear it. A bigger dog can easily carry a pack with their supplies if you get them used to it beforehand.

Creek crossings--if going through the creek, we pick them up but they will go right through it if is shallow enough. If crossing on a log, we either pick them up or let them follow us. I think this situation all depends on water flow, depth and dog (will they walk/swim through the creek).

Poop--if they go on the trail, please kick or push it out into nature.

Other things to consider. Their paws will get eaten up if hiking on a lot of rock or broken up rock. We bought some paw protector solution that helped to toughen up their paws but forget exactly what it is called. Bring alcohol for getting sap out of their fur and paws and a towel to wipe them down, helping them to keep them dry and clean. Never been in lightning and have encountered some but not enough snow to effect our dogs.

Hope this helps
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Re: Dog Packing

Postby TahoeJeff » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:13 pm

Here are a few shots of my hounds at the THs ready to go:

Image

Image

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They carry their own food and sometimes a few adult beverages as well. Sleeping on the ground is good enough for them, no pads or bags. Bears are never a problem when the dogs are around, which is a nice benefit. They can wreak havoc on the fishing, as labs are notorious water dogs.
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Re: Dog Packing

Postby rlown » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:19 pm

now you're making me want to get another lab.. :crybaby:


They carry their own food and sometimes a few adult beverages as well. Sleeping on the ground is good enough for them, no pads or bags. Bears are never a problem when the dogs are around, which is a nice benefit. They can wreak havoc on the fishing, as labs are notorious water dogs.


Umm, sleeping on the ground with no pad or cover is not ok in my book. Depends on conditions, but they feel the same way we do. They are your family as well. You'd be surprised how fast they climb under a quilt or into a bag. They also sleep more sound.
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Re: Dog Packing

Postby maverick » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:27 pm

Good input from folks so far, and yes we have had previous discussions about
man's/women's best friend, like water and paw protection, but my intent here
is also to bring some awareness to some issues that we has humans suffer from
like hypothermia, dehydration, altitude sickness. Are you aware that these and
many other conditions exist with your friend? How do you deal/address theses
issues? Do you carry extra food for you dog in case your delayed or injured in
the backcountry? If your dog got seriously ill what would you do? Would you
activate your SPOT? For those of you who have been packed with dogs for a long
time, what sage tidbits of advice can you pass on to other dog owners which will
make their dogs time in the backcountry funner, more comfortable, and also safer.

Cute dogs Jeff! My sister had two tan Labradors, great dogs, and they loved water!
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Re: Dog Packing

Postby Snowtrout » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:42 pm

Good questions Maverick. I try to remember that with our dogs, they have needs that must be met. We walk them a lot to get them (and us) in shape for the trips. They are small and have very little fur and need to be kept warm, hence the jacket and sleeping bag. They love to walk in the creek, so we bring a towel. They are older and have had back issues--doggie aspirin and muscle relaxers.

We did find that they ate less of their food when hiking and packed a lot of their food out. But to make sure they were eating enough, we have cooked up a few extra trout and after de-boning them, those 10" fish usually disappear in less than 30 seconds. We even mixed fish into their dog food to make them eat it all and the little suckers picked all of the fish out #-o

As for hydration, being tired and altitude sickness, I think knowing your dogs behavior is the key. If they are acting different than normal, something could and probably is wrong.

For me, I love to watch people's reaction to our dogs in the backcountry. Last Memorial day, we were at Spanish Lake and had a few people hike by our camp. It was funny watching people, who were tired and out of breath, reaction to seeing our dachshund's chilling in camp with their little jackets on--one blue and one pink. Most seem to get a good laugh out of it.
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Re: Dog Packing

Postby maverick » Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:03 pm

Thanks Snowtrout.

Here is a compilation of dogs & backpacking posts (not TR's):

- When is my dog ready to pack: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9353&p=70241&hilit=+dogs#p70241

- How do you prepare for a backpacking trip: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4026&p=25396&hilit=+dogs#p25396

- Dogs in a tent: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10059&p=76075&hilit=dogs#p76075

- What mosquito/bug avoidance techniques for your dog: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=7842&p=56807&hilit=+dogs#p56807

- Eating raw fish: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9375&hilit=dogs#p69831

- Dog got hit by a rattlesnake: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=9155&p=67934&hilit=+dogs#p67913
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Dog Packing

Postby Rockchucker » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:15 am

My mutt after a good swim on a hike.
Image
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Re: Dog Packing

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:35 am

I agree with snowtrout. It really depends on the breed. I have medium size (22 – 26 pound) dogs.

1zgirls.JPG


They are too small to carry a pack. They spend a lot of time exploring brush so it is probably best I pack all of their stuff.

They do wear a harness like they do every day during our walks.

2Harness.JPG


I remove the harness when we make camp, just like I do when we get home from a walk. This tells them we are “home” at least for the night.

3Harness less.JPG


They eat the same dry food they eat at home. I do sometimes bring some special “premium” dog food. Sometimes at night after dinner I’ll pop open a can of Vienna Sausages and we each get a bite from each sausage.

I always have some rope so I can improvise a leash if I need a leash. My girls are really well socialized. They do not cause problems with people or other well behaved dogs.

Like snowtrout we do a lot of walking almost every day. This probably helps toughen up their paws. We have tried paw protection but that didn’t work out. They DO NOT want anything on their paws. I have also tried the sweaters. The girls do have very short hair. Their bellies are exposed.

3z Mika.JPG


I can put a sweater on a dog. I don’t know how they do it but they manage to get it off. They would much rather cuddle up in my sleeping bag inside the tent.

4Mika in tent.jpg


Where do they sleep? Inside my bag off course! Don’t you know where the band Three Dog Night got their name! They really do warm things up!

I never leash them at night. I usually get up a couple of times at night. They join me in my “outside” activities. Sometimes they will hear something and ask to be let out to investigate. I let them out.

Some very cold mornings can be funny. They want out as soon as daylight arrives. Often times it is freezing outside. We stay nice and warm cuddled up in our bags while they run around for a while. Eventually they realize they are freezing and dive back into the warm bag.

I always bring in more food than we need. I do a need better pack planning strategy, but at the same time, other than the extra effort, what is the harm? Regarding water…they are dogs, dogs drink out of any source of water they can find. If there is no water (as there is often time when hiking the local hills) I pack in a little plastic bowl that I fill with my bottled water.

Stream crossings are usually not a problem. I have leashed them up and let them swim during one rather deep stream crossing. I first crossed with them, packless. Then I went back and got my pack. They waited patiently on the other side.

I have thought about what I would do if one of them got sick or injured and could not walk. I would carry them around my neck like a Shepard would carry a lamb. Let’s hope that never happens.

There is one important thing you forgot to ask about. How do you tackle very rough terrain? We encounter this sometimes while out peak bagging. Sometimes this is an issue because of their size. We can scramble down a 10 – 20 foot cliff if there are good foot and hand holds. This is not the case with dogs. Sometimes you just have to grab them by the scuff of the neck and swing them down to safety. This requires A LOT of trust on their part.

5Three Girls below Agassiz.JPG


These dogs have hiked up to 12,000 feet. We always acclimate for ourselves and I believe this is why we have never had an issue with altitude sickness in the dogs. Lightening does not affect them. They love playing in the snow.

5z Snow Trail.JPG


I would never take them on a real snow outing like a snow shoe or cross country ski trip. They just aren’t designed for that kind of exposure. That is something breed dependent. A Malamute would do fine, but my girls would freeze to death.

6Snow.jpg


I love backpacking with my dogs. I never have to hike alone. I do not plan my trips around dogs. If we are going to a place where dogs are not allowed (dumb rule…JMHO) they stay home.

7exhausted%20girls[1].JPG


Dogs are more than just man’s best friend. We are both “pack” animals dependent upon the group. We have evolved together as a species in a symbiotic relationship over hundreds of thousands of years. Just like humans girl dogs are way, way smarter than the boys (JMHO).

10.JPG


Thanks,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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