Five things we have learned while hiking with our dog

Layla as a puppy

Hiking with our dog has been a very eye-opening experience. When we first got Layla she was a tiny puppy. Layla, or Miss Pup as we like to call her, is a mix between a Shorkie (yorkie and shi tzu mix) and a mini American Eskimo. The first time we saw her she was so tiny and we never thought she’d get very big. We started out only taking her on short walks around the neighborhood once she got the all clear from the vet. Once we felt like she could handle it, we took her out on longer walks on trails that were close to home. She got very car sick though and so we held off on taking her anywhere for a long time. She’s much better about travelling now, weighs about 17 lbs and has become quite the leader when we’re all out. She’s great about keeping us together. If one of us ventures off (usually mom) she’s quick to start barking and pulling on her leash to go get her and bring her back to the rest of us. Over this last year,we have discovered some very interesting things about having her with us, some of it we expected and planned for and some we learned just by experience. These tips are not listed in any particular order. Hopefully you all can employ these tips if you don’t already and if you have any to add, please feel free to share in the comments:

  1. Always bring extra water and food
    • we bring along a travel water and food bowls and bottled  water just for her. She doesn’t like the communal dog fountains, won’t go near them for some reason. Water consumption is extremely important not only for us but for our pets. They can dehydrate just as fast as we can and for the same reasons. It’s important, also, to recognize the signs of dehydration in dogs. The American Kennel Club published a post on it with some very valuable information. Check that out here.
  2. Bring an extra leash
    • If your dog likes to pull, this will come in handy if the leash you currently have gets worn and he/she pulls and it breaks. Also the extra leash comes in handy for when you need to stop and break out the hammock or eat, she has a long range of area to hang out with us and not feel so restricted. She loves to be with us but also likes to explore at the same time and having this extra leash helps a great deal.
  3. Be prepared to hike slower than you normally would and allot for extra travel time and trail time
    • You don’t want to tire your dog out and have him/her overheat or get tired. A tired dog is not a moving dog so when you’re getting your dog used to trail walking and hiking go at their pace so that you don’t overwork them. Plus, you can see more of your surroundings and get to experience things you might have missed. As they get used to walking different terrains, they tend to follow your pace. (at least this is what we did, if you have a different experience, please share)
  4. Tick Check! Tick Check! Tick Check!
    • Can’t stress this enough during the warm weather (sometimes early Spring depending on where you are). We give Layla a chewable that we get from our Vet that deters ticks from embedding but if you don’t have that or access to that a tick collar works well also. Sprays such as Off and Picaridin (both found at Target) work very well at keeping ticks at bay on yourself. I do not recommend spraying it on your dog though. The first thing we do when we get home is a tick check. Everyone does a head to toe check on themselves and their clothes and hops in the shower and does a thorough check. I have found ticks on myself under my clothes and I have NO clue how they got there. Ticks are sneaky little bugs and you can’t feel them crawling on you so vigilance is key. We also take our fingers and run them through Layla’s coat in all directions carefully. She hates it but since she spends the majority of her time in the house with us, we don’t want anything sneaking into the house and we don’t want them attaching themselves to her potentially exposing her to illness.
  5. Safety
    • This point is last but certainly not least. Safety is important for yourselves but also your pets. We always make sure that we are on constant lookout for snakes and other wildlife that might view her as a snack. On a recent trip to the mountains, there were signs of bears all over and even near the cabin. Anytime she needed to go out to use the bathroom or just wanted to go outside period, she was leashed and we stayed vigilant. She didn’t like it because she’s used to being home and in the backyard unleashed. When we have gone to areas with steep and rocky terrain we make sure that we are paying attention to where she is walking. Dogs are very smart animals but they will go where you go and sometimes we go where she shouldn’t. Car safety is important as well. We are not fans of letting her roam free in the car. We actually bring her kennel with us and put it in the back with us. She doesn’t like it but we can secure her kennel in such a way that she can still see what she wants to see and see us but remain secure. We buckle ourselves and the kids and Miss Pup too!
Bringing our dog with is very important because she is very much an important part of our family. She loves being with us and we have a hard time being away from her. Including her on these trips gets her out of her normal environment and allows her to do her doggie thing and smell everything and let all of the other dogs know she was there. We have had some ups and downs taking her to places and we now know where we shouldn’t bring her and what to plan for when we do. We hope you found these tips valuable and if you have more to add or want to share your experiences feel free!
Thanks for reading!
Layla, waiting on us as usual

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