Hiking with dogs: If you are searching for the best canine hiking companion, look no further.
You can try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, drinking a pint of water, or having a cold shower to wake your mind up, but nothing works better than a good old hike! Hiking is great for getting the blood pumping, your mind awake and taking a break from the screens back home.
Exercise and companionship with both people and pets are awesome for both your physical and mental health. We have learnt this more than ever before during our time in lockdown whilst in the grasp of a global pandemic.
Hiking with pets is awesome for the both of you because it allows time to bond, it exhausts the body and mind of built-up stress, it allows you to...breathe.
Not all dogs are suited to long walks and hikes up mountains. Bad joints, breathing issues, old age, too young, not socialised and a nervous disposition are all reasons which could prevent them from hiking. If mental health, exercise and being outdoors to burn off energy are all important to you, then ensure you choose the right kind of breed who would enjoy the same kind of lifestyle. You need a furry companion who can keep up with you when you're strolling towards your 10,000 steps a day.
Here are the 5 best dog breeds for hiking off leash
Everybody will have their own opinions on this, but ultimately you need to train them from a young age to ensure they are used to hiking with you.
A Vizsla will do best with active people who also involve their dogs in their activity. They really do suit an active lifestyle and a solid two hours or more of hiking every day. They will certainly help you burn the calories.
The Weimaraner is known as “the Grey Ghost” and is an all-purpose gun dog. They were bred to hunt large animals such as Bears and Deer’s. They are strong and love to hunt small game too so when you are at the top of a mountain and a rabbit sprints by, I hope to dear god you nailed that ‘recall training’!
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
I am throwing one into the mix which is a possibility. A Bernese Mountain Dog is an outdoor dog at heart, and they love to be out hiking. They don’t quite have the endurance of some of the other dogs in this list and you should be careful as they get older however they are fantastic to watch when you are out on the mountains with them and live up to their name!
4. Labrador Retriever
The Labrador retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. They love to be part of the family; they should be exercised regularly and love to go on long walks and dive in the water for a swim. They can also handle cold temperatures well with their double coat. A great all-rounder that will do a lot for food!
Beagles are small but will love to follow you everywhere. They are full of energy despite their small framework. They love to chase; they are friendly and a great companion to have by your side on a hike.
Let’s run you through a number of qualities we would look for in our future hiking companion.
Dogs can be too young and not fully developed in terms of muscles and bone structure. They also must have had their first vaccinations which in some cases can take weeks to get sorted. Do not be in a rush to go if they are not ready. Here is a handy calculator below to figure out how long they can walk for based on their age. Dogs can also be too old and start to have problems with joints or just like us as we get old, they get tired and larger older dogs can be more prone to joint injuries.
* A rule of thumb to use, is a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age (up to twice a day). For example, a six-month-old puppy is (five minutes x 6 months) 30 minutes of exercise twice a day.
Climate and Dog Temperature Regulation
It is important to understand your local climate. If you are in Spain in the heat of summer, then a long-haired dog will not enjoy being dragged up a mountain. Our boy Francis is a French Bulldog, and we prefer the cooler months to take him hiking when it is a bit nippy. We wrap him up in a reversible winter dog coat which is perfect for his temperature regulation.
A Dogs Energy
If your dog really does not have any beans about them, it is probably best not to drag them out. We have a Labrador and French Bulldog in the family and the sheer energy and pace these two have is phenomenal. We have some pet energy bars coming to our store soon so sign up to our newsletter in the green footer of our website to be informed of when they arrive. Learn what difficulty your dogs can handle or if you are searching for a new dog to bring into the family, try to find one that is very energetic, just be prepared that if you then decide against hiking you will be left with a dog who is frustrated and bored.
Best hiking trails with dogs near me
If you are looking for inspiration on where to walk your dog you can check our tips for travelling with pets, of if you are looking for off the motorway in the middle of nowhere, we would recommend this awesome site – Driving with dogs
A Dogs Confidence
Many dog owners realise much too late how important puppy socialisation is. They tend to miss out on a huge opportunity on how to build up confidence in their dog. This is then realised one day when they want them to be a brave boy or girl when hiking up a mountain past lots of new smells, creatures, and people. Confidence comes from socialisation and here are a few for you to try within the first three months of their life:
- Expose them to all different sensations.
- Different noises, trains, buses, even motorbikes going past (not too loud)
- Different grounds to walk on such as gravel, snow, pavement, the edge of water.
- Smells of different animals, the sea, people and different places.
A Dogs Recall
Bad recall can be a pain when they get older. When you are hiking on a mountain or near water you want to feel confident that you can recall them no matter the environment. Reaching out to an expert dog trainer (If you are lucky enough to be in Hampshire, UK then speak to Jarvis) will be worth its weight in gold later down the line if you focus on recall. Do not skip on this step!
Pet Essentials for a Dog Hike
Here is a quick list of all essential pet items that will enhance your hikes with a dog.
Poop bags! This sits at the top of the list because leaving poop outdoors has a number of impacts that many dog walkers are unaware of.
- Waterproof dog collar
- Pet ID Tag
- Water bottle
- Collapsible bowl
- Tick Pick
- GPS Tracker + Activity Monitor (Pawfit)
To conclude, I hope this article has helped you to understand what preparation is needed for hiking with a dog and has provided some different breeds to consider.