Training For Backpacking - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Training For Backpacking

One of the things I would like to train Viking for is backpacking/hiking and camping so I can bring him with us when we go out and do it. Since it's the winter season and I'll have many months to kill until proper camping season again I figured I could spend this time training him to handle the trails and working on proper camping behavior (for lack of a better way to put it).

Once he's a year old and has begun PT and is cleared by a vet I'd LIKE to start training him to hike with a pack on. Any tips on that would be good as well.

Right now three days a week I do a 20-30 minute each way off leash hike with him on an average incline. No climbing, but not a walk in the park either. I have done the 45-50 minute each way one a couple of times and both times he was very tired afterwards (naturally, he's a puppy). His recall is excellent, though it could still be more solid (I haven't done much work on that lately). He actually has an easier time focusing on me in the woods than he does in schutzhund, go figure. I don't want to push him too hard, just want to slowly build endurance over the next 6-7 months of winter/rain season. If anyone has any resources/advice for camping with dogs I'd very much appreciate it.

Viking vom Zeder-Kamme (11/19/2011)

Last edited by ladyfreckles; 09-24-2012 at 11:03 AM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 11:33 AM
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At a year old my dogs could hike circles around me for hours, so I think you shouldn't worry about distance other than clearly keeping an eye on him. The advantage of the off leash part is that he can pace himself by running or walking or waiting so it shouldn't be too bad for him.

As far as a pack goes, I'd do my research and start looking for the best fit for him. The following is a site comparing backpacks and what to look for:

---> Dog Backpacks

You do need a 100% recall if you are going off leash some of the time. Not fair to other dogs/people on the trail who may not be such a fan of GSD's and obviously we also don't want to loose our dog. I know I have a backup of using e-collars on my dogs, so I do the additional training required by that. I rarely have to activate the collars but nice to have it available if my dog does decide to go say hey to someone/dog rather than coming back.

What works best for me is to call my dog back, get off the trail with the dogs in a sit/stay and let everyone else go past (leash them if necessary). So I practice this on all our walks.







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Last edited by MaggieRoseLee; 09-24-2012 at 11:37 AM.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 11:49 AM
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Agreed with MaggieRoseLee.

I took Rocket last year on an 8 mile hike in October--he was born in June, so he would've been 4 months. We were prepared to carry him, but he was fine. We stopped a lot and he would rest when we did. We hiked several times a week all fall, winter and spring, doing up to 8-9 miles.

This summer we've backpacked him three times. One a 5 mile each way, one a 10 mile each way with lots of talus slopes, and the last one was about 4 miles each way, but he actually packed his own stuff this time and it had a killer last mile of very technical and rocky, steep trail. (There is a thread in the pictures forum with pics of it )

The pack we have is a bit too big, but it worked for that one. The first time I put it on him, it was empty and we immediately went for a hike so he would associate it with his favorite thing to do. He frankly only wore it twice, empty, before we packed with it. I only loaded it with about 4 lbs of food, so he maybe carried 6lbs. He was fine. I wouldn't overthink it too much, they're pretty stout dogs, as long as you don't try to make him pack 20lbs his first time out or anything.

Is PT physical therapy? Is this for his pasterns?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketDog View Post
Is PT physical therapy? Is this for his pasterns?
Missed that, if there is a physical issue that would make a difference.






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Miss Osin Blue Wildhaus NA NAJ NF

"Nothing new can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. ~ "--- Michael Bernhard, gratitude
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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It's for building up the muscles in his rear. He shows no signs of pain or weakness, but there isn't as much muscle there as I would like. I want him to push off his hind legs more (in a way hiking is good for this) and I found a place that specializes in underwater treadmills.

Wow thanks for all that info. His recall is great on trails, even with other dogs and people around. He never ignores me. But sometimes he takes a few more seconds to respond than I would like. I usually keep a 20' leash with me and flip it if I'm in an area where we're passing a lot of people. That way he can kind of keep his own pace but I'm able to get him if I need to. His weak rear is why I want to take this extra slow and the vet has said that hiking is a very good way to help build that up. I'll luckily have all winter to prepare him for any difficult hiking/camping. I can't remember the thread but I think one person said that a simple filled waterbottle is a good starting weight.

Viking vom Zeder-Kamme (11/19/2011)
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