Before taking your dog on a hike, you should ensure that they’re healthy enough to endure a long trail and the weather conditions. If you and your dog are relatively active and take long walks frequently, they should be okay. There are some things that you’ll need to pack before heading out the door, and also some useful tips to apply when out in the wilderness. Never take a dog that has recently been ill on long trips, as their energy levels may not be fully restored. As well, allow yourself plenty of time to help discipline and coach your dog along the way for their first hike.
Alway be sure to carry enough water for you and your dog, if you are getting thirsty along the trail, the chances are that they’re parched too. Always bring dog food and snacks for them, as they’ll need to refuel occasionally on a long trek. The last thing you want is a rundown pup at the end of your trail, and they become irritable or exhausted. Either way, a dog who can’t finish the trail because they’re tired is no good for you or your pup.
Use proper etiquette when running into other hikers alone, or with dogs. Never let your dog confront a stranger who is intimidated, and always allow those with no dogs to pass you. Say hi to people you pass to let your dog know they’re safe and there is no reason to be alarmed. Keep plenty of dog bags for disposing of poop and if possible, dig a hole and cover the deck if not near any ground or running water.
If your dog has not had a lot of strenuous exercise in their life, their first time should not be on a hiking trail that is miles long. Gradually work your way up to taking long trips by taking your dog on long walks and exploring different parks.