In Idaho there are so many great outdoor activities that you and your dog can enjoy together. One of the most relished recreations is hiking, especially hiking with your dog. From the Sawtooth Mountains, all the way up to Priest Lake it’s important to remember safety with your Canine Companion in tow. Below local Boise, Idaho dog trainer provides 11 essential safety suggestions for you and your dog while out on the trail!
1. Basic Obedience & Remote Collar Trained – Having your dog trained reliably with obedience commands such as “Come”, “Heel”, “Sit” & “Stay” will assure a safe and well controlled hike around fellow hikers on the trail. Basic obedience also provides you with a much more enjoyable hiking experience since you won’t be stressed by your dog wanting to run away or cause a disturbance to wildlife or other hikers.
Another fantastic way to help insure that your dog is well controlled even around deer or other high temptation distractions is to remote train your dog. Hire a professional dog trainer to help you condition your dog successfully to “come” when called while using a vibration collar (such as the brand Dogtra). When a new animal prances or slithers past even the most obedient dog, they may attempt to chase after it, which is a great reason to have a remote or leash on you during your hike.
2. Identification Tags & a Photo – Always make sure that your contact information is complete and up to date on your dogs tags so that if anything were to happen there’d be an increased likelihood of finding your furry family member. Also another great idea is to have a photo of your dog either in your pack or on your cell-phone in your pack just in case they get lost. This way you can show other hikers and ask if they have seen your dog!
3. Dog-Friendly Trail – Depending on where you are hiking there is an array of different rules and regulations for dogs and areas they are allowed and not allowed. Make sure to check the area you’re going to ahead of time, and if you’re unable to find the information readily contact the ranger station, national park or state agency in charge of the trail.
4. A Leash – Remembering to have a leash on standby to clip up to your dog when encountering other hikers or wildlife. As much as you love you dog, others may get nervous by an unleashed dog, so be considerate of them and have your leash readily available.
5. Hydration and Treats – Make sure to pack a collapsible water bowl and an extra water bottle to hydrate your dog. If you notice your dog has had a significant decrease in energy since the beginning of your hike, make sure to stop for a break, preferably in the shade. Also depending on the trail and distance you may want to consider bringing along some treats or food as well.
6. A Healthy and well-conditioned dog – Ease your dog into the routine of hiking. Just like you, your dog needs to start with shorter hikes and then increase the distance. The same goes for if you want to hike in locations with steep or rough terrain, you need to gradually increase their endurance for that type of terrain.
7. Stay on the Trail – With all types of wildlife around you on a hike its important to keep your dog on the trail for their own safety as well as making sure you’re considerate of other wildlife. Don’t allow your dog to wander off the trail and chase other animals as it could lead to a dangerous situation for yourself or your canine companion.
8. First aid kit – Just as important as a first aid kit may be for a human, it’s just as important for your dog to have access to proper medical supplies if injured. We recommend tweezers, self-adhesive gauze, and duct tape as it fixes everything!
9. Bear Bell – Another good tip to consider is a bear bell. If you’re in bear country it’s recommended that you tie a small bell to the collar of your dog as to detract bears.
10. Always pick up after your dog – Make sure you practice the leave no trace behind rule! Bring along a bag or shovel to pick up after any messes your dog may leave behind. If you’re going to bury your pets waste make sure you’re at least 200 feet away from trails, camps and water sources.
11. After a Day of hiking do a thorough examination of your canine companion- Check for any cuts, bites, ticks or wounds. Make sure to pay special attention to the padding of your dogs feet, as you may have been a trail with sharp rocks or a sticks that could cause injuries. Once you’re done with your examination we also recommend that you do a quick bath to rinse off anything that could irritate your dog, as well as clean off excessive dirt or mud.