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Old 04-20-2014, 07:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hiking with my German Shepherd

I would like to take my german shepherd, Malachai, hiking this summer! He will be around 10 months old. I have heard that this might be too early and I should wait until he is over a year. But he is a very large 85 pounds and still growing. He also is very healthy in all his joints. Any opinions?


Also, any suggestions on packs and harnesses I should use?

Thanks!
Meghan
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Old 04-20-2014, 08:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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how far and what kind of terrain are you talking?

Masi has hiked with me since she was pretty darn young,(7-8 months) but not like rocky cliff type hiking..some hills, usually well worn trails, mileage I couldn't even guess, usually couple hour hikes, taking it leisurely..

I don't overfill her backpack, usually a couple water bottles..I myself, usually have enough pockets/hooks that I carry water bottles..If I need to keep her on a line, I love my 20 ft biothane long line...
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Old 04-20-2014, 08:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Gabby is five months old and has been on the trails and learning how climb on the rocks. The hardest thing for her was to cross over a crack between two rocks that was very deep, her brain would tell her no matter how shallow it was, a cliff is in front of her. I showed her a few times and made a game of it and now she has no problem crossing wide areas that are fifty feet deep.
I think like you, the dog must train there muscles and lungs for this. We are at altitude were we live but when I go fishing with her we are 9,000 to 10,000 feet this is a big change for any animal. The 25 foot leader I have on her gives her the ability to get into trouble but allows me to help get her out with the help of a harness.
In the canyon that is in the back yard we have rattle snakes so I am very carefull of that also and don't forget IT IS TICK SEASON FOR ARE AREAS. Check all of both your body's.
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Old 04-20-2014, 09:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I sent you a recommendation by PM/ do the training and you will have a hiking friend for many years to come.
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Old 04-20-2014, 10:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My puppy has been coming with me on hikes since I got him at five months of age. He's now eight months, and we do all kinds of terrain, short to long distance, various elevation gains. I really like areas that are more rocky since he has to think a little more in his navigating and the only way that they really learn how to use their paws is to have to use them! Obviously not forced by any means, but having to figure out how to get up a little rocky area helps him in my opinion.

First time I ever put a pack on him however was the other day. He's been more of a brat lately and wearing the packs which had a water bottle on either side slowed him just a bit and kept his brain thinking about the extra weight and how it shifts. Helped keep him focused on something lol. No hesitation at all in him going up and over rocks.

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Old 04-20-2014, 11:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Hiking with my German Shepherd

I started my guy off around 7-8 months with an empty pack at most would be his poop bags. Then after a year or so he would carry two small bladders (I think they are .75 L each). We would take plenty of breaks and I would pack an egg or some other small snack and give it to him at the midpoint. Conditioning is very important -we didn't start with the greatest elevation gain


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Old 04-21-2014, 12:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Mrs P, where was that picture taken? Does not look like Florida.....
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Old 04-21-2014, 01:30 AM   #8 (permalink)
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[IMG][/IMG]


We introduced our boy this weekend to his new pack (totally empty for now). We got the Ruffwear L/XL purchased at REI for $80. He definitely has to grow into it but we wanted to introduce him to it early so he gets used to it. I love the nice handle on the pack that can allow you a better grip to help him on a tough climb. He is now 5 months and we have begun to slowly introduce him to hikes (just got home from his 3rd camping trip today)...mostly exploring and slowly walking the trails with him dragging a long lead. Our youngest human is 8 so we don't move too fast right now anyway. He is so cute on the trail though constantly looking back to make sure the WHOLE pack is together. He won't progress unless we are all together!

I am also considering boots since we are in the desert and a lot of our hikes/campgrounds have cactus everywhere (the tiny ones that stick out of the ground) and even to protect pads from the insanely hot asphalt here in the summer.

Our dog LOVES LOVES LOVES it! This weekend we went up to the mountains so he got to splash in some streams and maneuver around some falling trees ..and eat some bologna out of my pack! Just be careful and take it slow on your pup's first adventure and he will love it too!
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketDog View Post
Mrs P, where was that picture taken? Does not look like Florida.....

Ahaha not Florida at all. This was mailbox peak, I believe, in North Bend. I love Florida but I do miss Washington an awful lot sometimes!
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs.P View Post
Ahaha not Florida at all. This was mailbox peak, I believe, in North Bend. I love Florida but I do miss Washington an awful lot sometimes!

I thought so! Very nice!
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