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German Shepherds and Cliffs

1158 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  hvaclu
Last week we went on a hike around the perimeter of Ouray, Colorado. The hike lasted about three hours. We passed many cliffs, with Molly off leash, and she stayed with us. Near the end of the hike you cross a rocky field with big drop offs, and she was still okay. (This is all around 9000 foot altitude.)

But near the end of the hike was the big challenge, for us and for Molly.

You have to cross a metal MESH bridge that crosses a deep gorge with a waterfall cascading. AAH VERTIGO! Since I could only go about four steps before rushing backwards, my husband went first. Since Molly doesn't like humans separating, she rushed across the mesh without problem, and I kept my eyes up and my mouth closed and crouch walked across.

On the other side you enter a CAVE, black except light at the end. People were coming the other way and thought she was a WOLF!

Okay, got through that too, but here's where I want advice, in case we ever go back.

After you come out of the cave, you have to go down a narrow and steep trail with big cliff drop off to the side. The footing is so insecure that they have a cable along the side of the hill to hold onto (cling to). I kept Molly on her leash here because just the thought of her looking over makes me dizzy, but it made the descent more difficult for her.

But do dogs have natural cliff/height sense? I've seen her throw herself on a pile of elk [email protected]@p and roll down a little hill as an unintended result.

Here's a sketch of what it was like. Think I should leave her on the leash or is she better off free moving?

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I think I would want a harness on my dog for something like that. Because just in case she, God forbid, did slide off the side, she could choke with just a collar on or the collar could slip over her head.
One more vote for a harness!!!
Hey, thanks. I'd never thought of a harness. Any favorite types for a strong pulling dog? I'll need to order it online.
Harness. I use the Sensation one, with the front-clip - I find that it works better than the regular one for dogs that pull.

I have used this website for purchase,but others may know of a better (cheaper)one.
Jake seems to note a drop off but does NOT seem to know how BIG a drop.Never been in big cliff country but he did unwisely go off edge of drop once-wasn't hurt but didn't seem to learn lesson.Guess I would go along with some kind of harness.
I recommend the ruffwear harness. It's great for hiking and such since it has a handle built in in case you need to grab them quickly and/or lift them.

check them out at I think rei sells them too.
A harness sounds like a very good idea. Your sketch made me laugh out loud!

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I too loved the sketch. Made me feel like our hike wasnt to bad last weekend. We were up in the mountains with a waterfall. Greta (5 months) was in the water and it was so slippery that she actually slid down the waterfall to the lower pool. Scared the crap out of me. She was fine. I am so scared when we take the dogs up on the cliffs. My older 11 month old is so clutsy. Its just like when we used to take our children with us. I am always calling them back away. I think the harness is a great idea also. We have a backpack for 11 month old that has a handle on it but the harness sounds great. I think i will look into one for my puppies.
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