Tails of Seattle: A pets blog
Trainer Q&A: Pet safety Part 2 -- Hiking and camping with your dog
Question: In conjunction with first-aid knowledge, what obvious and not-so-obvious precautions should dog owners take when hiking and/or camping with their pet?
Answer: Be aware of the rules involving pets at the campsite or on the trail and follow them.
Here are some tips to follow:
-- Always keep your dog on a leash or a long line. Even the most well-trained and mellow dog can wander off or be unable to resist the urge to chase a small running rodent, and there's nothing more frightening than losing your dog in an unfamiliar environment.
-- Always have multiple forms of identification on your dog, including tags with your address and phone number attached to the dog's collar or harness.
--Make sure your dog is microchipped.
-- Have a recent photo of you and your dog so you are more easily prove ownership if your dog becomes lost.
-- Carry up-to-date information about your dog's vaccination history should your dog become involved in an altercation with another dog, human or wildlife.
-- Don't leave your dog locked in a closed vehicle during the summer months. The temperature inside a vehicle can be upward of 40 percent hotter inside than the temperature outside.
-- Don't leave your dog tied up and unattended. Not only are you unable to intervene and interrupt unwanted behaviors from both your dog and people who may approach him/her, but a dog who is tied could be stolen or become easy prey for wildlife.
-- Avoid letting your dog drink from standing water; it can be home to bacteria that can make your pup very sick.
-- Always have extra supplies with you. If your dog is on any daily medication, always bring extra in case you stay longer than intended or run into unexpected problems, such as car trouble, on your way home.
-- Bring double the food and water you think you will need.
-- Always tell someone where you will be going and when you expect to be back.
Question: Should any special gear be considered?
Answer: Equipment failure can and does happen, and when you're in the middle of the woods having a back-up plan can be a lifesaver.
Always have a back-up flat collar and leash with you. If your dog wears a harness, have a caribeaner connecting the harness to the dog's collar for safety's sake.
Reflective gear is always a smart idea for those dusk and dawn hikes or wh
en camping overnight.
If your hike will be taking you through snowy regions, consider bringing along snow boots to ease the icy trek on your dog's feet.
Collapsible food and water bowls can help eliminate some of the bulk in your hiking or camping pack, and if your dog is physically healthy, a doggy backpack can even be a fun way for your dog to carry their own supplies.
Question: What kind of training should a dog have before taken out for, say, a wilderness hike?
Answer: The most important skill you can teach your dog, be it in the city or out for a hike, is a solid emergency recall. Equipment failure happens to even the best and most responsible of owners, and having a well-trained emergency recall can literally save your dog's life.
Leash manners, including a relaxed heel and a leave-it cue, will allow you to politely pass by other hikers in close quarters.
A dog who has been heavily reinforced for walking with a loose leash will not only save your shoulder muscles, but they're also less likely to take off should their leash break or come unhooked.
Question: What about other critters on the trail or at a camp site. How do I keep my dog safe?
Answer: Always keep your dog leashed or tethered within your sight.
Dogs are predators by nature and inclined to chase after small, fuzzy, running creatures. Unfortunately these creatures can carry a multitude of deadly diseases. Being restrained by a leash will keep both your dog and the small critters on the trail safe.
Should a small wild animal approach you, do your best to ward them off by shouting and making a lot of noise. Most wild animals won't hang around a noisy human.
Question: What should my hiking or camping kit include?
Answer: At minimum one extra collar and one extra leash. Food and water for your dog, and double the amount that you expect to need. If your dog is on any medication, bring the amount you will need for your trip plus extra. A blanket, towel or bed for your dog to rest on. And, of course, your first-aid kit for both the humans and dogs on your trip.
Stormi King Parish
Stormi King Parish holds a Certificate in Canine Studies and is an alumni from the Companion Animal Science Institute. She is certified in pet CPR and first aid, and a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers and the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals. She teaches group training classes at University Canine Learning Academy, as well as works privately with owners. She specializes in working with deaf dogs and presents seminars and workshops teaching owners how to train their hearing-impaired dogs. She lives in Seattle with her 7-year-old deaf dog Jack, who proudly holds a first-place obedience title and dabbles in canine freestyle and skateboarding, and three cats.
Do you have a question about pet behavior? Ask now! We'll pose some of your questions to a local trainer in an upcoming post.
Read earlier Q&A columns here.