German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am planning on hiking a 30-40 mile hike, camping along the way. I am new to hiking with my GSD, but I have a doggy backpack for him to carry. He should be 9-10 months old when the we do the hike and the vet gave clearance for that kind of activity. My questions are what tips do some of the more experienced owners have on hiking with your dog, and what do you pack for a 3 day backpacking trip to stay light weight?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,742 Posts
I would not load up a pack for a pup until at least a yr old and then slowly begin adding weight. AbbyK9 from this board has a fantastic post on this topic ( Abby K-9 )

are you hiking this summer or in cooler months? How many miles a day are you going with your pup now? just like a human would need to, your pup needs to build up to hiking that far
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
It will be in the fall, and very close to the 1 year mark. I am not planning on him carrying more than a water bottle in each side for his water when he is unable to get to a creek for hydration. We are trying to plan the hike so it isn't real hot, or real cold.

My main question is what other items do I need, or would be helpful?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,874 Posts
don't worry about weight. the main concern with puppies is the joints/bones and the impact of jogging/running with them on a hard surface. you'll be walking and on a soft surface (dirt, grass etc...) so you're all good there.

I use "porta bowls" they are small, collapsable and extremely light weight. I think the company that makes them is called "Outward Hound". but im sure you can find them anywhere online.

I'd bring extra towels, and his brush. brushing him before he gets in the tent will help keep your tent less furry, but MAINLY it might catch a tick. I'm assuming your buddy has frontline, but if he brings a bunch of ticks in the tent with him...they'll likely end up on you. oh, and don't forget a good hard bone for around camp to keep him busy.

have fun!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
15,195 Posts
don't just slap a pack on your dog
and go hiking.

check and see how much
weight your dog can carry. <

let your dog carry the pack around
before the hike. <

make sure a 9 or 10 month old
dog can carry a pack. <

build your dog up for a hike.
do some walking with a weighted
pack. build up slowly. <

good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Two 20oz water bottles are the most weight he will have, and the vet I used said that his bones should be far enough along to handle that fine. He is already 60lbs, so carrying 2 lbs at the most should be fine with him.

I am more concerned with what other supplies I might need, like extra food, or a high calorie dog alternative to keep us light weight and make sure he gets enough.

Thanks for all the feedback!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
What a great idea.. Hope you have fun!!

I am subscribing to this thread just to see the advice given, I wonder though if you would want to feed more often, but lighter amounts? As to how much food, maybe talk to a vet, I am guessing you will be training with your pet, so I would base the extra food question on what you notice now during the training period.

A doggie first aid kit, I am not sure where you are going, or if your pet will be on leash the whole time, but I am thinking porcipines and what nots, my old Shepherd mix could open a tent zipper with out ever wakening anyone. And he was born blind.

A camera, only because I would like to see pictures of the Hike!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
537 Posts
I always bring extra food in case something happens unexepectedly to a meal (I bring two whole extra meals)...you wont run short. Mia hiked at this age and tired quickly, so we let her rest as she needed. She drank a lot of water too! I poured water she didn't drink back in the container to save it (we had doggie water and people water and she ended up drinking some of our water).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,442 Posts
If you have already purchased a backpack, I would begin with training your dog to wear the backpack and carry very light weights. A properly trained dog can carry up to 30% of his body weight, including the weight of the pack, for an extended hike, but you should not start with more than 5% of the body weight. Just like you, your puppy will need to work up to carrying a pack and carrying a pack for longer distances. You can't just put it on, load it up, and head out on a 40 mile hike any more than you can take Joe Couchpotato and do it to him. :)

It is also as important that you have a quality pack that fits properly for your dog, just like it is for you. A lot of the packs they sell in pet stores such as Petsmart are awful - it's the equivalent of taking your Jansport book bag on a weekend hike to carry all your equipment. Like yours, a good dog pack should be properly fitted, sit in the right spot, and have padding. "The right spot" for a dog is far forward on his back so that the weight is supported by the shoulders and front legs, NOT the spine.

In terms of what to bring - well, aside from bringing all the things YOU would need on a regular hike, you need to bring things for your dog. You may want to re-build your trail first aid kit to include products for your dog, particularly VetWrap (or similar first aid bandages), phone numbers to emergency vets that will be reasonably close to where you are hiking (should you need them), dog boots to protect cut or torn paw pads, and a muzzle.

You will need to bring extra water for your dog as well as food. I continue to feed their regular food when we hike but also bring treats to give them on those long hikes. You will also need bowls to use for the food and water - collapsible bowls are your best bet here and don't add much to the weight you are carrying.

If your dog will be sleeping in the tent with you, an extra towel is a good idea to wipe those paws before the dog comes into the tent, especially if it ends up raining or your dog ends up in the creek swimming before bed time. Having a sheet or blanket to cover the bottom of your tent to protect it from your dog's nails is another good idea. (Also, expose your dog to going into the tent and staying in it - depending on your tent's material and the material of your ground cloth, a lot of dogs find the footing in the tent to be really weird.)

Have a well-fitting flat collar and a good, comfortable leash. In most places, dogs will have to be leashed for the whole hike, and even if they don't, it's generally preferable in many areas since you don't want them to chase wildlife or bother other hikers. Good trail manners are really important whenever you hike with your dog, especially a big dog like a German Shepherd, as bad trail manners can lead to other dog hikers getting banned in the future.

It's also advisable to have a tag or pouch on your dog's collar that contains an emergency contact (your cell phone, a nearby relative or friend, etc.) in case your dog is separated from you or something happens.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
I never thought about getting him used to the tent, are there any creative (or simple for that matter) ways to keep him in the tent?

I think a 1 night over nighter would be a good idea before the big one!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,442 Posts
I trained both of my dogs by putting up the tent in the back yard and letting them check it out on their own terms first, before having them go inside (I was inside and my husband held them one at a time and then sent them in) and then having them lay down and stay. Then I spent a night in the tent with them.

When we had just Abby, both my husband and I could fit into the tent with room for Abby. Now that we have two, we can fit one person and both dogs inside the tent, but not both people and both dogs. We will need to get a different tent or hubby will need to sleep outside. ;P

I have never had any issues with them trying to get out of the tent. I have fly screens that zip up while the "doors" are zipped down, which is enough of a barrier for the dogs to respect it.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top