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Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
UL Chocolate Lab!! on 10/10/2008 06:21:38 MDT Print View

Hey Guys,
so my dog is getting close to a year old and he is ready for some easy overnight hikes. I have been doing regular easy training hikes with him 3 days a week after work so I am confident he is ready to come along on an overnighter. My question is what kind of gear do you bring for your dogs besides their food and leash. Till he is alittle over a year I will be carrying all of his gear so no doggie packs yet. I am a tarp camper so I am thinking I may setup close to a tree so I can leash him to it so he does not wander at night. Do you guys bring a pad for the dog to sleep on. I am in New England so it is hovering close to freezing at night, should I bring some kind of insulation for him? He is a pretty sturdy pup already at 70lbs and has a very sunny attitude toward life, so I am thinking he will enjoy the experience. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Edited by Jkrew81 on 10/10/2008 06:51:47 MDT.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
doggie hiking on 10/10/2008 06:48:37 MDT Print View

I bring Turbo (70lbs Golden, now 4 years old) a sleeping pad if we're going overnight. He mostly likes to sleep next to my sleeping bag but I've never seen him shivering at all. I always debated getting him a little blanket but he has accompanied me above treeline above winter and even with ice and snow on his face from the wind has never complained or acted cold. He does come in the tent with me if I have one and he's slept with me in the car a lot of times.

Turbo won't wander off so I only bring a leash if required or in a populated area so I can leash him up around people who may not like dogs. By ourselves he roams where he likes.

My wife got him a soft doggie bowl for food and water so I usually put his food in it and give him water from my hydration system or he just drinks out of streams. He also likes Milkbones on summits for a treat as he's climbed 13 14ers. The latest purchase is doggie shoes which he uses in the snow and I carry along in case he cuts a paw on rocks.

Good luck, dogs are great hikers and solo companions!

A. B.
(tomswifty)
dog on 10/10/2008 10:45:27 MDT Print View

I cut a square from a cheap foam pad for my dog. It doubles as something to sit on.

John Brown
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
Dog in desert? on 10/10/2008 11:03:17 MDT Print View

Interesting thread. do you guys have any experience bringing a dog camping in desert? I'd like to take ours, but the inevitability of cactus paw/nose is a major deterrent. I'm not sure the dog could avoid it even if he tried...

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
UL Chocolate Lab!! on 10/10/2008 11:10:44 MDT Print View

thanks for the feedback guys. I think I am going to take the old foam backpad from my Jam2 for him to sleep on as well as an old small fleece blanket as it is getting pretty cold up here. Should be an interesting experience. I am now teaching him the "pounce" command so he will go and jump on Jim Baily when he starts snoring loud at night :)

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
the pounce command on 10/10/2008 11:21:37 MDT Print View

Does anyone know where I can score a titanium suit of body armor for sleeping?

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: UL Chocolate Lab!! on 10/10/2008 11:59:53 MDT Print View

The blanket is a good idea although I'll be surprised if he gets under it. Report back at what temperature he does :) You might end up using it as a towel for wet dog.

I've never had my Golden get cacti or snake bit but I suppose it's possible. They're pretty smart about where they put their paws and Turbo has run through some fields that are filled with pokey things. He does get burrs in his fur but they don't bother him and I cut them out when we get home. Once he stuck his head down a rattlesnake hole and the snake popped out! But he backed off and just watched it.

He listens pretty well though. I can call him off a rabbit from 5 feet away off leash.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: UL Chocolate Lab!! on 10/11/2008 17:30:41 MDT Print View

One of the dogs I take with me is a Lab mix. His cold tolerance isn't that great. I've found that my size medium vests fit him surpisingly well (say 70-90 pound range). Depending on expected temperatures, I bring either a windproof fleece vest or a down vest. I'll wear it around camp, he wears it at night. It helps if the vest has an elastic drawcord at the waist to cinch up around the dog. (I'll try to post pics in the next day or two.) Blankets or jackets draped over the dogs hasn't worked at all for me. They fall off the first time the dog moves.

I bring a 3' long chunk of foam pad. Use it inside the pack framesheet-style, around camp as a sit pad, he gets it at night. The husky I have just gets a pad unless it's really deep winter. Depending on where you go, I've had pliers come in handy a couple times when the lab tried to eat a porcupine. Some superglue-ish stuff if one of them cuts a pad open.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Dog in desert? on 10/11/2008 17:53:23 MDT Print View

John Witt,
Assuming your dog can learn, sometimes a big assumption, the desert can be OK.

Essential items to take are course comb for getting the cholla off, and either large sturdy tweezers or small precision needle-nose pliers for extracting spines.

And, if you have a packrat midden available for training a little up-front on-leash work can shorten the learning curve. Our dog learned (harmlessly) what they smelled like and that that was not a place for her.

Good Luck.

Catberine Taylor
(cattail) - F
Please, let your pup grow up! on 10/12/2008 17:29:08 MDT Print View

Please note that Labs and a number of other large dogs are not physically mature until they are almost 2 years old. Putting stress on immature joints in a breed prone to joint problems anyway is asking for lots of trouble. If you want your dog to have a normal hiking life of 9-10 years instead of 5-6, hold off on the long trips and on weight-carrying. It's OK to put an empty pack on a one-year-old Lab, but don't start adding any weight until the dog is at least 18 months, and then work up very gradually. This advice came to me from several veterinarians who backpack with their dogs. Please check with your own veterinarian if you have any questions.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Please, let your pup grow up! on 10/12/2008 18:13:15 MDT Print View

>but don't start adding any weight until the dog is at least 18 months

Yup. That's why agility training makes you wait until 18 months before you can take your dog on full-on training.

Ours is a very small doggie. Feels the cold easily, so he gets a closed cell pad and a MontBell UL down inner! Sometimes if it's REALLY cold he will sleep with me in my bag!

Joseph Jacaruso
(CaptainJac) - MLife

Locale: Southeast
Hip Problems in Retrievers on 10/12/2008 20:18:18 MDT Print View

You are correct about loading a young dog. However I have a 3 year old Golden with hip dysplasia. It was a product of poor breeding but there is good news. She has been seen by John Sherman one of the most progressive vets on dog mobility issues. His prescription for Bonnie is backpacking. It helps maintain a healthy weight of 70 pounds or less. It helps develop strong muscles to make-up for the deficiencies in bone structure. She also takes glucosamine and hyaluronic acid to help preserve the cartilage in her joints.
How is she doing? We just came in from a two mile nightly walk with her pack at a pace of 3+ miles an hour. I’ve had her on several backpacking trips where she kept a steady pace all day.
Will this treatment work? Yes, I have had a previous Golden named Maggie with the same problem. The hiking and weight management kept her going over 14 years before she passed away from an unrelated disease.
If you have a dog with hip problems I strongly recommend consulting Dr. John Sherman at Vethab in Raleigh, NC.

As for backpacking with your dog. There is no better hiking partner. They are always ready for an adventure and never complain if the weather if bad or the trail is rough. All they ask is a little food and and a little rest.

By the way peanut butter is a great energy booster for dogs. Remewmber they are burning a tremendous number of calories too!

Corba Man
(corbaman) - F
CCF on 10/12/2008 21:44:45 MDT Print View

Does anyone have opinions about the results of using closed cell foam for a dog bed? Did your dog accept it? Did you coat it with anything?

I've been trying to teach Snow to accept a raw 1/2" closed cell pad in place of her usual pampering of a 3" fuzzy polyester pillow. But she's pretty unhappy about the transition.

By the way, Walmart has 1/2 x 20 x 72 pads for $7. Great deal on the raw multi-purpose material.

A. B.
(tomswifty)
re CCF on 10/12/2008 22:34:20 MDT Print View

If your dog doesn't like it then they will when they are cold enough. My dog went to the CCF square I cut because the alternative was the ground.

Your dog may dislike the feel of the raw pad so you might try a cover for it made out of something more familiar.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Backpackin' Dogs on 10/12/2008 23:27:38 MDT Print View

As promised, visual aid regarding dogs, seasonally appropriate layering, and foam pads. Incidentally, the dogs have gotten so that they go to the tent and look at me, expectantly, when they're ready for bed. They seem a bit perturbed if I don't let them right in to get to their pads.

sacket and java at camp

Sacket waiting for bed

A. B.
(tomswifty)
dogs on 10/12/2008 23:42:48 MDT Print View

That's funny Brad. My dog will lead me to the tent when he is ready for bed. I also have to be quick to claim my spot. Otherwise he'll lay on my bag and pad and give me the most pathetic look.

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
UL Bachelor Party on 10/20/2008 13:42:13 MDT Print View

Hey all,
just wanted to report back that my pup did great for his first night out. While my buds and I sat around the bushbuddy drinking Jim's Loco Coco in celebration of my last hike as a free man, the little guy had a great time wandering around camp playing with sticks. Temps dipped into the mid 20's and he did not seem affected without any sleeping insulation. But I did bring a DIAD pad for him and he did seem to appreciate that.

pup1
pup2
pup3

Edited by Jkrew81 on 10/20/2008 13:45:55 MDT.

Christopher Plesko
(Pivvay) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
UL Bach party on 10/20/2008 15:33:10 MDT Print View

He's so cute! Glad he liked it :) My Golden is pouting because we haven't gone running yet today.

Stuart Armstrong
(strong806) - F

Locale: Near the AT
Re:UL Chocolate Lab!! on 10/20/2008 17:42:29 MDT Print View

Great pics!

You guys are seriously not helping my trying not to get a dog. I've been wanting to for like 3 years.

Hike Ultralight
(HikeUltralight) - M

Locale: Southeast
Hiking with dogs on 06/01/2009 11:51:52 MDT Print View

Assuming your dog is fully developed, they can carry up to 1/3rd of their body weight and be totally fine (closer to 1/4th if they are a breed prone to Hip Dysplasia).. My dogs (two Hungarian Vizslas) are 3 yrs and 2 yrs old. They each have their own Ruff Wear Approach Packs. They share an REI adventure Dog tent. They carry their packs, their tent, food, collapsable dog bowl, tether, and a nighttime treat. They each have their own foam pad they carry as well. Fully loaded up, their packs weigh about 6 pounds each (well under 1/4 of their weight). Each dog weighs in at about 40 pounds. Something we have used in the past is a 20x30 bathroom rug as a pad for them. Folded up tight it fits in their pack and isnt all that heavy. They have never had to carry more than 8 pounds, and even at 8 pounds they are still under 1/4th of their weight. With 6 pounds loaded up they could hike all day if I let them. They love every minute of it.

Important things to do before hiking with dogs is:

1. Obedience training. Not where they come 75% of the time when called, it must be 100%.
2. Keep them on lead, even tethered in camp. Your dog may come 100% of the time in the back yard but what would he do if he saw a rabbit/squirrel/fox?
3. If keeping them in your tent, train them to go to an area of the tent and stay there until you release them. You will never get one wink of sleep in a tent with an untrained dog. They will move all over the place.
4. Bring something for them to sleep on. Someone already mentioned the walmart pad which is great. They will be very restless not having a pad.
5. Make sure they know not to bark at strange noises, animals etc.
6. Keep their load under 1/3rd (1/4th if prone to hip Dysplasia).
7. ENJOY IT! there is no better hiking partner. Just like hunting, hiking with a trained dog is very much fun.