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Tips for hiking


Jessica H
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I have been hiking for a while and I never really brought Scooter much, I recently brought him on a 5 mile hike (see previous post). I want to start bringing him for longer hikes but I know he will get much more tired. I found towards the end of the last hike he was getting tired (not wanting to jump off rocks and wanting to lay down). I have a camelbak so we always have plenty of water and I bring some of his food too but are there any suggestions to what to bring or do when he starts to get tired? I have been trying to find a light weight front carrier online that I could bring in case I should have to carry him (needs to be on the front due to also carrying a backpack), I just don't want something big and bulky. Can I put him in my back pack somehow? Does anyone have any tips on taking him for a long hike? Not just looking for tips on him getting tired but anything would help, like stuff to bring, ways to keep him ready to go. I am planning a 13 mile hike next weekend and would LOVE to bring him.

Edited by Jessica H

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

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well I take mine hiking but they never get tired!!!! I even bought scotty a backpack to help wear him out so far nothing. I bring their water bottle with me when I take them b/c they get so hot..because your scooter is getting tired when you take him maybe giving him a little extra food and a water bottle when you go will help. ( I think I paid $5 for the water bottle at petsmart)

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Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really." - Carlotta Monterey O'Neill

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Jessica,

One thing you should remember, dogs just like people have to be conditioned. You are contemplating more than doubling the distance he has been conditioned for. My Cairn is a SAR dog. I started conditioning/training him from the time he was about 4 months old. When we work our dogs we break the every 20 minutes in hot weather and every 30 minutes in cooler weather. A break is usually about 5 minutes long at which time we water the dog (small amounts) and have them lay down and rest. Granted SAR is much more intensive than a normal hike but you still need to plan breaks before the dog gets overheated or tired. They do make carriers that you can wear on the front but the $64 question is would your Scooter put up with riding in one. Plus, if you have to carry him your body will be working harder because you just added extra weight to your own frame. Since Cairns are seldom still that would be an extra 15lbs or so moving around. This could make you more likely to stumble or fall because the movement of the dog could through off your balance.

Could you use a hiking stroller/cart on the trails you hike? That might be a safer option.

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I've just started hiking with Kenna. We did 2 miles today and she was definitely tired, so I think conditioning is really important. She's pretty good about letting me know when she needs a break; she stops and lays down. But she's just as good about letting me know she's ready to go again, because she stands up and starts walking. So I kind of let her pace herself. Sometimes, I have to make her stop because I need a rest!

I just have to say, I had no idea Cairns could do SAR! My cousin was captain of our local SAR for years. He has since passed, but I have always thought it was a tremendous volunteer program. Something to keep in mind when I'm done with grad school.

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He has been hiking about 5 miles for a long time but those hikes were a lot of climbing and pretty steep which tired him out. The 12 mile hike is mostly level with gradual inclines so I think it may be pretty comparable. I am sure he won't stay still in the carrier but I got one just in case. I think I am going to give it a try, if he seems too tired I will just make it a shorter hike or try the carrier. The challenging hikes we go on he doesn't get so tired he can't walk, he just gets slower. I have a Camelpak so he has plenty of water and I bring a bag of food for him too. It is also a lot cooler here lately and he is not into the heat. He always has more energy when cooler out (Saturday is supposed to be 63 degrees).

I'm going to give it a try, if it was a challenging hike I wouldn't bring him but we'll see how he does. I do bring him for 7-8 miles walks on the roads and he is always fine.

I changed my schedule and the 12 mile hike is now 3 weeks away so I am going to bring him on a 6 mile hike this week, then a 9 mile hike and the long one.

Edited by Jessica H

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

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Packy stretches out like that on top of the couch, too! He routinely does 2-3 miles walks or hikes, but has done fine with 5, 7 and 12 miles walks. The only time he might stop like he's tired is if it is hot, otherwise he's the energizer bunny. Conditioning to get used to the hikes is a good idea though. I'll bet he loves them!

Jandy and my Cairns, Kirby & Phinney 
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I have the best leash ever made! I highly suggest it to anyone. It is Planet Dog Zip lead, I have the large dog one because it is only 6ft. It is not big and bulky and it basically fits in the palm of your hand. I got mine from LL Bean. Check them out, just google the name and you'll find it. It is good because it is retractable but its easy to control. Non retractable leashes are hard on hikes because they can get easily caught on things but the big bulky retractable leashes are a pain. Thats why I love this leash, even has a loop on end I put around my wrist so I can have 2 free hands if I need it.

I have been conditioning him, actually I think I may need more conditioning than he does... I need to rest more than he does, I usually say Scooter needs a rest when its really me. Thats why I bring him, he's my excuse to stop. LOL. ;)

Edited by Jessica H

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

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THanks I'll look on LL Bean. We do agility with our dogs but have not hiked with them yet. I will try a local hike this week we are planning a trip to Stowe Vermont in Oct. and hopefully will go to NH also in Oct. I love living in New England in the fall!!!!!!!!

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I love living in New England in the fall!!!!!!!!

NH has great hiking, especially up in the White Mountains in the fall. The foliage is beautiful! I luckily live in North West NH and have tons of great mountains near me. Another great one is Monadnock. This is pretty close to the VT border compared to the other mountains.

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

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Hi Jess,

I got your e-mail and I thought I would post here on the forum.

Harry is now 2.5 years old. I started hiking with him when he was about twelve weeks old...obviously we started very slowly (1/8th of a mile up a hill and on from there). We live in Maine so I understand (somewhat) of the the mountains you have in NH although yours are larger. We have done much of the Appalachian Trail (Sugarloaf, Bigelow, Saddleback, Old Blue, Abraham etc.). They are the four thousand footers. We backpack, we winter camp, we snowshoe, etc. Harry does very well and is very prepared because I hike with him three to four days a week, year round, and we trek a small "mountain" near our home which has a 5 mile loop trail up and around it. We still walk about three miles a day on our off days (I work part time). At this point, I pretty much know how much he can do in a given day. If we are hiking a round trip (or a day trip) and if it is up a mountain AND depending on the grade, I am confident that Harry can do (up to) an eight mile round trip. (As you know, the hike down is a much easier than the hike up the rocks.) If we are doing an overnight, I would never make him go more than ten miles and that too depends on the grade. There are other factors that I take into consideration: how warm is it, how cold is it, how much snow is there, how is Harry feeling, how much exercise has he had this week already, etc?? I have had to carry him the last leg on a couple of hiking trips and I feel bad if I have pushed him that hard, so, I try to error on the light side.

I hope this helps you some. Feel free to e-mail me if you want to talk further.

Good luck on your trip!

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Hi Jess,

I have had to carry him the last leg on a couple of hiking trips and I feel bad if I have pushed him that hard, so, I try to error on the light side.

When you had to carry him how did you do this? I just bought a Outward Hound legs through front carrier that rolls up small and can fit in my pack. I have never had to carry him before, but a few times towards the end he didn't want to jump off the higher rocks which told me he was getting tired.

I definately do not take him as much as you do, I only do the weekends because I work full time but after walk we usually go for a 4 mile walk 3 times during the week. I love to snowshoe but I have never even thought of bringing Scooter for those trips. How do you keep Harry warm and what about his feet?

That is a great picture, I plan on bringing my camera on the rest of the trips.

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

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Jess, I also have an Outward Hound carrier. However, Harry was never one to like being carried in it. When he's tired, either I or my husband will usually just pick him up and carry him for a while.

As for the winter hiking, Harry get's used to the colder weather as we go out in it each day. I find that anything colder than ten degrees (and depending on the windchill factor) is getting a little too cold for him. He doesn't wear anything either on his back or on his feet and as long as the snow isn't sticking to him, he seems to be quite content. I also allow his hair to grow wild (aka the Yak Look). But, I do keep the hair on his feet and in between his toes trimmed down. I will actually shave between his toes to keep the hair down. This keeps the snow from sticking to his feet, binding up and making him cold. I also use Musher's Wax on the pads of his feet. This also helps keep the snow off them.

Again, I judge the hike by how Harry seems to be doing. Somedays, I can just tell, he would just rather lie low and those days are usually on the colder, dry days.

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Harry doesn't look like he is on a leash? Does he ACTUALLY stay with you? That would be such a beautiful day for me if I could do that!

I'm not sure how he is going to handle the carrier but we'll find out, maybe if he's tired enough he'll actually like it.

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

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Hey Jess,

Yes, Harry is off leash. He is usually always off leash when we hike (the further out into the woods, the better I feel). However, if there is even a hint of a traveled road near by, I leash him. He usually goes off and "inspects" while we hike. He chases the usual chimpmunks & squirrels and the occasional turkey (which is always quite entertaining) but he never strays further than ear shot. I will usually whistle out if he gets too distracted and he will coming bounding over from some poor unsuspecting rodent's hole. Also, if we are hiking on a trail where a dog has passed just before us, I will leash him, he is always in such a rush to get up the hill and catch up to the other dog and/or people. I have a VERY independent cairn (even more so than most - so my breeder tells me) but he does stick with me - THANK GOODNESS :)

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Hi Jess - we have a place in Bethlehem NH, and have done a ton of hiking with Charley in the White Mtns...

The most recent one was the frankenstein loop in Crawford Notch...not too lenghty, 6 miles....? But the decent down from Frankenstein was steep - Charley managed it much better than either myself or my husband!!

I just bring a small plastic baggie of biscuits and extra water for him - I have soft canvas bowl that I stick in an outside pocket on my camelpak....I can grab it with one hand easily. One thing with water though...on a long hike it can be a precious thing...previously we would fill his bowl and offer him water and sometimes he would turn his nose up to it...agghhh!! :confused: So we would end up dumping the water (canvas bowl doesn't have a lid!).....so now....I take out the bowl and offer it to him empty...if he shows interest in it - THEN, I pour the water in.... :thumbsup:

Our goal is to do Mt Washington with him next year.... :D

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We plan on taking out pup hiking. Right now he is just over 4 months. we take regular half mile walks with him now. is there any magic number we should not go over this fall. hiking season here starts in about a month.

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I just bring a small plastic baggie of biscuits and extra water for him - I have soft canvas bowl that I stick in an outside pocket on my camelpak....I can grab it with one hand easily. One thing with water though...on a long hike it can be a precious thing...previously we would fill his bowl and offer him water and sometimes he would turn his nose up to it...agghhh!! :confused: So we would end up dumping the water (canvas bowl doesn't have a lid!).....so now....I take out the bowl and offer it to him empty...if he shows interest in it - THEN, I pour the water in.... :thumbsup:

I just bought a new camebak hoping this would make it easier access to his water and I bought a little bowl I can attach to one of the rings. When using water bottles I realized how precious the water was so I used to pour the water he didn't drink back in but wasn't sure how to manage that with the camelbak. Thats a great idea of offering the empty bowl first, then if he shows no interest I won't waste the water.

Think we are going to do frankenstein loop in Crawford Notch next weekend.

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

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Did you say you do Mt. Monadnock with your cairn's? Those are really in shape cairn's. I used to hike that Mt. in my college day's. I love New Hampshase in the fall. I miss New England. California is nice but different. I guess I have to find more places to hike with my little guy.

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I was just saying that Monadnock is a great hike, they actually do not allow dogs. Acutally it is the second most hiked mountain in the world.

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

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Think we are going to do frankenstein loop in Crawford Notch next weekend.

Should be a beautiful weekend for it!!

You may already know this - so forgive me for being presumptious :confused1: - but I'd recommend doing that loop clockwise...starting at the Arethusa Falls trail first then back over to Frankenstein. The desent from frankenstein is VERY steep...I couldn't imagine hauling myself up it - but that's just me!! :whistle:

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Wow do I like the Planet Dog Zip Lead - a lot! I ordered it earlier in the week after reading Jessica H's post about it. It is very nice, not only comfortable to hold but very sturdy and smooth. I ordered the large as JessicaH said she had and I am so happy with it thus far. We'll try it out for a nice long walk tomorrow but for our short jaunt this evening - I am liking it.

Love all the good tips on this forum.... Linda

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Its a great leash, I love it so much. I've gotten so many of my friends to get it and they love it too. It fits in your hand so good and I love the loop around the wrist. The one for small dogs is that thin nylon rope instead of the nylon webbing, thats why I haven't gotten it, plus I like the 6 ft, the small dog one is 12 ft and I feel like I have more control with the shorter one.

Jess, Scooter, Sadie and Dozer

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