Hiking with your dog is one of the best activities for you and your best friend. Not only is it healthy, it is also a great bonding experience. Fresh air, companionship, exercise. All good things. However, in order to make it a truly great experience for the both of you, there are a few things you may want to consider.

Age and Shape of Dog

The first thing you may want to look at is the age and shape of your dog. Does your dog regularly get exercise? Do you both go on regular walks? If the answer is no, start out small. You must help your fur baby build stamina for the activity.

Just like with humans, if you are a couch potato and then want to go out and hike Mount McKinley the next day, I would suggest working up to it instead. Start with walks in your neighborhood or even a rousing game of catch in the back yard.

When you feel confident that your dog is not getting winded with just a few steps, it’s time to change things up a level. Maybe change from sidewalk to dirt path. Or even try a small hillside. You will know when both you and your dog are ready for the next level.

Communication is Key

Not only is it important to train your dog with commands like “heel” and “sit” for everyday life around the house and neighborhood, it is even more abundantly important out in the open world. There are so many things that you both will encounter that could have a catastrophic ending if not trained to deal with them.

Things like wild animals. Depending on where you live, it could be anything from a squirrel to a scorpion. Other things to watch for are hazardous paths or steep drops. These could be a very big risk to both of you. Thoroughly work on your communication with your pet both at home and on your neighborhood walks.

If you feel confident that your dog has passed both the communication and the health test, let’s go hiking. Starting out with beginner trails are the best bet. Search out your local trails but going online to sites like Trail Link.

Be Prepared

Not only is it the boy scout motto, it’s just good common sense. Make sure you have enough drinking water and snacks for both of you. Your dog needs to stay hydrated just like you! Actually, even more than you since they are covered in fur and cannot sweat. Watch for signs of dehydration or exhaustion.

They love you and trust you to keep them safe. It’s up to you to deliver on that responsibility. Once you feel you have all those areas covered, than you are ready for the most important thing. Enjoying the great outdoors with your best friend.

You both will be happier and healthier before you know it!

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