Today we are talking about the best things you can do to prepare you dog for hiking. Hiking is so much better with a dog, and here we’ll show you how to get your dog ready for their first hike!
Going for a hike is incredibly rewarding. It’s even better when done with your best friend by your side.
But preparing your dog for a hike can be well worth the effort before embarking on your big adventure.
After all, all the interesting smells and sounds of the forest can be overwhelming and overly exciting to our four legged companions.
Before taking your dog hiking, you’ll need to make sure they’ll have the stamina to with stand the hike, make sure you have to proper gear and know some of the most important aspects of trail safety for you and your dog.
Have no fear, here are the best tips to help you get your dog ready to go hiking to keep both of yall safe and ready for the hike of your life!
Let’s get to it.
This article may contain affiliate links. This means if you click a link and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read our full disclosure here.
1. Start Building Stamina
Depending on what type of hike you have in mind, it’s a good idea to let your dog build up some stamina before jumping out onto the trails.
If you are planning a longer hike and it’s up hill, a sedentary dog will get tired fast.
And unless your planning on carrying your dog back down when they are to pooped to move, you’ll want to slowly build up their endurance.
Building up their endurance is a big factor in how many miles a dog can hike in one day.
The best time to start preparing your dog for the hike, is 8-10 weeks ahead of time.
Start by going on long walks or light runs.
Then up the difficulty a bit every few days by finding hills to walk up.
You can also increase their endurance by playing fetch or tossing them a Frisbee regularly.
Then start going on shorter, easier hikes until your dog tolerates those well.
Training Ideas for Raising Your Dogs Stamina
- Practice Sprinting in an open field
- Play fetch
- Toss a Frisbee
- Sprint together up small hills
- Go for long walks at a brisk pace
Consistency is key. After a few weeks of regular training you’ll both be in better shape and ready for a longer, tougher hike.
2. Practice Basic Training
When taking your dog on a hike, it’s very important that they listen to your basic commands.
Teach your dog basic training commands such as sit, stay and heel.
Practice them until you are confident your dog will listen to you even in a difficult situation.
You don’t want your dog chasing down wild animals or getting themselves into danger.
Even if your dog is on a leash, basic manners are important. Jumping and barking at others enjoying a hike of their own isn’t cool.
You can even make your hike easier by training your dog to poop before hiking. It’s one of my favorite tips to dealing with dog poop while hiking.
A few minutes of daily training can go a long way.
3. Start Recall Training
Along with basic training, you’ll also want to teach your dog an emergency recall.
According to Spruce Pets,
An emergency recall is a command used to tell your dog to come in emergency situations. It is one of the most important things you can train your dog to do.-Spruce pets
They have some great information on emergency recall training to help you get started.
Basically, you’ll be able to train your dog to either stop or come running to you in case of an emergency situation.
Even if you keep your dog on a leash, things happen and an emergency recall can be the difference between life and death.
4. Figure out Where You Can Hike with Your Dog
If you are ready to start hiking with your dog, make sure to check out the rules and regulations of the hiking spots you have in mind.
A quick google search will usually help you figure out where you can take your dog to hike, and where you can’t.
The last thing you want to do is show up with your dog in a place where you shouldn’t be.
The rules are set for a reason, and violating them (even on accident) can get your dog hurt or you in legal trouble.
Many national parks don’t allow dogs, at least not on their trail. While other state parks are usually a little more lenient.
You can use websites to find dog friendly places, like bringfido.com.
5. Get the Right Dog Friendly Hiking Gear
Who knew dog’s needed hiking gear!
But there are a few very important pieces of equipment you should have before taking your dog on a hike.
Our top recommended pieces are:
- Dog harness and strong leash for bigger dogs
- Flea and tick spray
- Dog shoes or paw cream to protect your dogs paws
- Water container your dog can drink from
- Bear spray (if necessary)
- Collar with update tags
That last one I cannot stress enough!
Which leads us to our next hiking tip.
6. Tag Your Dog
If your dog gets overly excited and gets lost, you’ll want the best possible chance of finding them.
Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with up to date tags that include your address, phone number and name.
You may want to also consider a microchip in case the collar where to get lost or fall off, however even microchips have their shortfalls.
Finally, a good option if you’ll be hiking often is to get a GPS tracker for your dog.
The initial cost isn’t a lot, but the downside is there is a yearly fee to keep it active.
If it prevents your dog from getting lost though, the cost may be worth it!
7. Prep an Emergency Kit
You never know what can happen on the trails!
Having an emergency kit can come in handy.
Preparing a dog friendly emergency kit, our recommendations include:
- Disinfectant spray
- And a pair of scissors.
This will help you get out of a bad situation in a pinch.
8. Get your Pup Vaccinated
The last thing you want to do is go hiking and have your dog catch something that could seriously harm them.
Make sure your dog has all of their vaccinations up to date BEFORE you hit the trails.
Rabies and parvo are no joke!
And out on the open trails, buts your furry friend at higher risk of catching something that could seriously harm them.
You’ll also want to carry a record of your dogs vaccines if your dog doesn’t have a rabies tag on their collar.
You’ll also want to make sure they are protected from heart worms, fleas and ticks.
So heart worm medication is a must as well as flea and tick prevention.
Preparation is Key
If you’re thinking about going hiking with your dog, preparation is key.
Dogs want to please you. They will push themselves past the brink of exhaustion trying to keep up with you.
Use some of the tips above to make sure you train well before hand and follow the safety measures.