Who hikes with their pup? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Who hikes with their pup?

I've been a member for a while, but read much more than I post. I am a fairly active guy, and have to labs that are getting a little older...about 9.5 and 11, respectively. They're starting to have some health issues, particularly the 11 year old, and both have slowed down a fair amount over the last few years.

I've mostly stopped taking them on walks/hikes with me because they both are pretty tired after a mile or two. I've been considering a younger GSD (~1-2 years old) as an addition to my horde, mostly so I have someone to keep me company in the woods and trails.

Who does similar activities with their dogs? How has it worked out, particularly when bumping into others along the way? What equipment/leashes/packs do you use? Does your pup carry his own treats/snacks or water? Any advice appreciated!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 05:48 PM
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Hike, ski, canoe...

A really solid recall is essential. I call my dogs to me whenever I meet another person, especially if they have dogs.

I carry a collapsible water bowl. That's the most important thing to have. Dogs can go without food, unless you're out for more than a full day.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griz_ View Post
I've been a member for a while, but read much more than I post. I am a fairly active guy, and have to labs that are getting a little older...about 9.5 and 11, respectively. They're starting to have some health issues, particularly the 11 year old, and both have slowed down a fair amount over the last few years.

I've mostly stopped taking them on walks/hikes with me because they both are pretty tired after a mile or two. I've been considering a younger GSD (~1-2 years old) as an addition to my horde, mostly so I have someone to keep me company in the woods and trails.

Who does similar activities with their dogs? How has it worked out, particularly when bumping into others along the way? What equipment/leashes/packs do you use? Does your pup carry his own treats/snacks or water? Any advice appreciated!
I am an avid hiker, backpacker, kayaker, outdoors person in general and my two GSDs come with me. I use Ruffwear for leashes and backpacks, Hurtta and Kurgo for harnesses. Just my preference.

Like Sunsilver said, a good recall is a necessity for any off-leash activity.

I usually bring some kind of treats with me, and I have the dog carry a collapsable waterbowl in their pack. I carry the water with me in my pack. I also bring dog booties (Ruffwear/Hurtta) with me just in case we get into terrain that could cut their paws.

MacKenzie - Workling Line Female (In Loving Memory)
Wolfram - West German Showline Male [SG1, CGC, DDN, CN, EN, IN, VN]
Bash - Working Line Puppy
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 06:21 PM
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Coming from labs, one breed-specific thing to keep in mind is that there are many GSDs with digestive issues/food sensitivities.

Some have cast iron stomachs and won't have problems with drinking and eating whatever, wherever - they can slurp out of puddles and eat random stuff that you crammed in a backpack several days ago. But this isn't a given with GSDs. As you're searching for your new companion, try to keep that in mind.

Ask the breeder (if you're looking for a puppy) or the previous owner/rescue (if you are searching for an adult) about digestive health and how well the dogs handle diverse and new foods. If you end up with a dog that can only eat limited ingredient frozen Kangaroo patties, you will need to be very well prepared every time you leave your house for an extended trip.

Another breed-specific consideration is use of obnoxious blaze orange collars or vests when you hike, especially if hunting is a big deal in your area. Some of our dogs look wolf-ish or coyote-like (especially sables!), and elicit very different reactions from people than labs.

I do think they make wonderful outdoor companions.... just my $0.02.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 06:44 PM
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Depends on the temperament of the GSD, mine does great on multi use trails, we're on them most days. Some GSD's don't have strong nerves or are aggressive, therefore obnoxious companions and can require to be leashed. Sounds like you're going to rescue, so get as much info as you can about the dog. Hopefully it was raised and trained well.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-13-2017, 06:55 PM
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I've had GSDs and hiked with all of them. In my 20s it was conservation areas where we saw other people/dogs. I had a working line male that could be scrappy with other males. It was a pain. I didn't know enough then to do ay better, and I don't think we did awesome. But we found other more remote places to hike/walk where there were fewer dogs. I lost him chasing deer one time, got him back in one piece thank god but you have to be prepared and know you can call your dog off deer.

After him I learned to use E Collars and that was a game changer for us. I kept my first dog on a long line fr nearly a year because I couldn't trust him not to bolt if he saw a deer. If only I had known.

I used to hike in conservation areas with my girl who's 10.5 now. She was always gracious meeting and passing other dogs if they were nice to her. If they weren't, they might get a smack down. Another case of stuff I wish I knew then.

I have finally bought land in a rural area and hike on my own property now--I have hiked with her and my late male up in the national forest, passed a bunch of dogs and people and everything was cool. I don't hike at the "townie" type places though---seems like the lazy dog walkers are down there with their out of control dogs whereas up in the natl forest seemed to be slightly more serious hikers whose dogs were either too tired to start crap or better trained

My young male is now 2 and he has never hiked in a communal "dog hiking" place...he is intact, he is big, and there is just no reason for us to do it. I do take them to the national forest to swim and we sometimes see other dogs there but they are so into their own thing they pay them no mind.

Definitely with the orange vests and collars. Definitely with the recall. Everybody around here talks about how you can shoot a dog running deer...it's weird because the state is very dog friendly. The hunters talk about it though so they must do it? That's why we have a zero tolerance policy for deer chasing and we wear lots of orange.
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