Hiking is a great way to stay active and enjoy the great outdoors. It’s also an activity that you and your Goldendoodle can enjoy together! Bringing your dog on a hike requires a little extra preparation, however. Here are a few tips to help you get started hiking with dogs.
- Your dog should know and obey basic commands like, sit, stay, heel, and leave it.
- Make sure that your dog has identification tags.
- Don’t skip flea and tick treatment — still do a tick check once you get home.
- Know what your dog. How active is your dog? Does he obey your cues outside of your home? How is he with strangers and how does he respond to animals?
- Bring treats
- Bring waste bags and a scent-proof container to pack out what you bring in.
- Make sure that you bring water and a water dish for your dog.
Choose the right trail
Select trails that are within your ability level and your dog’s ability level. Unless your an experienced hiker who is used to hiking with dogs, you should avoid strenuous trails with steep grades, narrow ledges, scrambling, and difficult terrain.
This helps prevent injury and ensures that you and your dog stay safe and have a good time.
Also, don’t overdo it. Start with a one mile hike and gradually work your way up to longer treks.
Are dogs allowed?
Some areas and trails allow dogs without restrictions. Others do not allow dogs under any circumstance. Sometimes dog’s are allowed but are required to be on a leash at all times.
You can often find this information online. For example, the National Park Service offers an interactive map showing dog-friendly parks.
When in doubt, find a number for the office that manages the lands where you want to hike, and call ahead.
Carry water for your dog
Bring plenty of clean, potable water for both you and your dog. Even a crystal clear pool of water can contain bacteria, protozoa, and chemicals that can make your dog ill.
Learn to love the leash
It’s a good idea to keep your dog on a leash while hiking even if he is well trained and well behaved off leash. Encounters with wildlife are common on hiking trails, and your dog’s instinct to chase might get the better of him.
Dogs can get lost in unfamiliar areas, and everything from poisonous or thorny plants, porcupines, snakes, rodents, insects, and predators can cause health problems for your pet.
You also want to remember that as a hiker you’re a visitor in an ecosystem. Keeping your dog on a leash while hiking isn’t just about protecting him, it’s also about protecting the environment that you’re in.
The National Park Service encourages dog owners to be B.A.R.K. Rangers while hiking with dogs.
- Bag your pet’s waste
- Always leash your pet
- Respect wildlife
- Know where you can go
Monitor your dog
Pay close attention to how your dog is doing during the hike. Take rests and give him water as needed. This is especially important in warmer weather.
Get cleaned up
Hiking can get messy. Keep towels in the car to wipe your Goldendoodle’s feet after your hike, and a blanket to cover your interior.
Goldendoodles make excellent hiking companions, but they tend to attract burrs and brambles, especially Goldendoodles with curly coats. Make sure to brush and bathe your Golendoodle after your outing. You may need to remove large debris by hand before brushing.