Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » backpacking with dogs


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Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
backpacking with dogs on 05/21/2009 22:48:46 MDT Print View

I've been backpacking for about 7 years now and I'm ready to get a dog to go with me. I have friends and a daughter that go with me most of the time. I need something that is good with people on the trail and doesn't take off chasing wild life. Needs to be a good dog for around the house also. I was thinking maybe a lab,but I've had one in the past and there nose leads them astray. Thinking border collie but don't know if I have that much time to keep them occupied since I work 1 full time job and 1 part time job, any other breeds that might work? Thanks Jack

Edited by jumpbackjack on 05/21/2009 22:51:16 MDT.

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: backpacking with dogs on 05/21/2009 22:57:42 MDT Print View

Australian Cow Dog

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
dogs. on 05/22/2009 00:38:36 MDT Print View

hi jack.

there have been some threads about dogs for the trail. use the "search forums" options on "dog" and see what you can find.

for example:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=6869&disable_pagination=1

cheers!

Elliott Non-Disclosed
(Snowboarda42) - F
no cattle dog on 05/24/2009 08:33:29 MDT Print View

I'd stay away from Aussie Cow/Cattle Dogs since they're just as active and need stimulation as a border collie.

I good cattle dog is a tired cattle dog.
Roo

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
backpacking with dogs on 05/26/2009 08:50:49 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the info. After this weekend hike my daughter and I are really wanting a hiking partner (dog)to go with us, still looking. I think we may go to our local shelter and see if we can save a dog.

Zack Karas
(iwillchopyou@hotmail.com) - MLife

Locale: Lake Tahoe
doggies on 05/26/2009 09:22:23 MDT Print View

If you really want a dog built for walking all day, you can take the recommendation of my veterinary surgeon--nothing that will be over 50 lbs in weight. He thinks that 40-45 lbs is probably ideal--anything over 50 lbs and the dog has a higher chance of injury from stress to joints.

He says that the majority of his surgeries are to larger dogs for rear leg injuries--most of which they received while hiking or post-holing through spring time snow.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Dogs and backpacking on 05/26/2009 23:08:28 MDT Print View

Training and socialization, more training and more socialization are the keys to a well-behaved backpacking dog, and are far more important than breed. Sign up for obedience classes--they train the dog to work around distractions (other dogs and people) and train you to train your dog. I thought I knew a lot about dog training, but I learned in the obedience classes that I was giving all sorts of wrong cues to the dog! Two other things that help are crate training (which teach the dog to lie quietly in the tent--just another crate to him) and beginning agility training, which teaches the dog to remain calm (or at least not panic) in tight places.

Leashes are important. Dogs that run ahead of their owners often become frightened--and therefore protective or downright aggressive--in strange places. Remember that a lot of people (due to unhappy previous experiences) are nervous around dogs. Some who have had otherwise "friendly" (at home) dogs threaten or even attack them carry mace or even firearms for protection. Every year an unleashed dog or two gets too close to the edge of the cliffs here in the Columbia River Gorge and goes over. Train the dog to walk behind you on the trail. Keep him leashed in the presence of other people and dogs. Don't let him roam around other people's food/campsites or get into water sources upstream of where others are filtering. If you also scoop (and bury, same as human waste), the dog's excrement, you'll make sure your dog is a model canine citizen who won't offend others on the trail.

I applaud your decision to get a shelter or rescue dog! He may require extra patience and training, but it will be worth the effort and expense.

Mike J.
(UnionDhaka) - F

Locale: It changes.
Re: Dogs and backpacking on 05/28/2009 04:47:16 MDT Print View

I agree with Mary that training and socialization are important factors in what kind of a dog you will have. One of the most important things in my opinion to remember when you're training your dog is to be very patient and consistent. Don't break hir will, let hir be a dog aside from being 'your' pet, too.

I found my dog on the street when she was 5 weeks old, a mix between a husky and collie. - I took her everywhere. We traveled for the first 8 months of her life non-stop. First with a VW bus and afterwards on foot and hitching. Tried to get her in touch with as many different things and beings as possible. Dogs, people, cows, horses. Big cities and small villages.

It was a lot of hard work, we were training every day and at times I thought it would never make a difference, untill one day she just got it and has listened perfectly ever since. Now I take her everywhere, most of the time off the leash, without having to be afraid that she dissapears or does something she is not supposed to.
The only things I still haven't been able to teach her is to get firewood and dig her own sh*tpits ;)

My dog

Edited by UnionDhaka on 05/28/2009 04:50:25 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Dogs and backpacking on 05/28/2009 05:05:26 MDT Print View

> The only things I still haven't been able to teach her is to get firewood and dig her own sh*tpits ;)

I had a stray collie cross too. I taught her to stop rounding sheep up. She was good at fetching firewood, and finding discrete places to crap. Her abiding fault was biting people. :o)

She looked so cute, but was a nervy type. People would say, as they reached down to pat her head,
"She's beautiful, what breed is she?"

"Colligator, mind your fingers." I would reply.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
dogs on 05/28/2009 22:13:54 MDT Print View

Thats a good looking dog Mike wouldn't mind having one just like her. Rodger dont think I've ever seen a Colligator. That was pretty funny though. Thanks for all the input guys and gals I'm going to try and go to the shelter this weekend.

Edited by jumpbackjack on 05/28/2009 22:14:51 MDT.

Mike J.
(UnionDhaka) - F

Locale: It changes.
shelter on 05/29/2009 09:19:59 MDT Print View

Jack, nice to hear you're getting a dog from the shelter. Good luck, and let us know how it went.

I would probably go for a puppy rather than a mature dog.. a puppy is much easier to train, and so much fun, watching them change from day to day and discovering their world is priceless (to me). Also in the end you will have a much better connection with your dog.
This doesn't mean that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, you could, it just takes longer and more effort.

And remember; the bigger the dog, the more food you will have to carry. Unless you get one of those little backpacks for dogs I suppose..

Aida Martinez
(aidamone) - F

Locale: Washington D.C. metro area
Ladybug with her pack on 05/29/2009 11:31:50 MDT Print View

We sometimes take our two mastiffs for day hikes and they have backpacks where they can carry water, water bowls and some treats. But because they are big lazy dogs, whose bodies are not meant to be pushed so hard, they do not go on backpacking trips with us.

I would go with a puppy from the pound. A medium to small sized dog would be best for a hiking companion. As to breed - that really depends more on the needs of your family. Apart from being a hiking companion, this is a new member of your family

Ladybug (Mastiff girl)

James Bahner
(JMBahner) - F

Locale: Philly suburbs
Dog on 05/29/2009 19:12:10 MDT Print View

We have a Collie who is very well behaved and with some training on our end turned out to be a great backpacking dog. he can easily do 15-20 miles a day we have done 12 mile days and he is ready to play by the time we get home. just make sure you have a tent with some room. Bodhi on the Pinchot

Edited by JMBahner on 05/29/2009 20:39:47 MDT.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: backpacking with dogs on 05/30/2009 14:50:39 MDT Print View

"Thinking border collie but don't know if I have that much time to keep them occupied since I work 1 full time job and 1 part time job, any other breeds that might work?"

That sounds like a paradox to me. The better trail dogs are the high energy dogs and necessarily less ideal for leaving at home all day. Not to say that low energy dogs don't like going on hiking trips.

Edited by artsandt on 05/30/2009 14:53:10 MDT.

Ali e
(barefootnavigator) - F

Locale: Outside
"backpacking with dogs" DOnt do it. on 05/30/2009 14:58:39 MDT Print View

Art, I dont want to seem negitive but it sounds like you dont have time for a dog. Leaving it alone is very cruel and it will be mentally difficult for you. My dogs have never been alone for more than 30 minutes. When I was a fool and worked 18 hour days I had a live in nanny for my dog. I love my pups but would never do it again. Feel free to borrow mine anytime. Lots to think about. Ali

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: "backpacking with dogs" DOnt do it. on 05/31/2009 16:56:52 MDT Print View

"Art, I dont want to seem negitive but it sounds like you dont have time for a dog. Leaving it alone is very cruel and it will be mentally difficult for you. My dogs have never been alone for more than 30 minutes. When I was a fool and worked 18 hour days I had a live in nanny for my dog. I love my pups but would never do it again. Feel free to borrow mine anytime. Lots to think about. Ali"

Ali, don't be a jerk. You don't know the first thing about my experience with dogs so stop talking like you do.

Edited by artsandt on 05/31/2009 17:20:43 MDT.

Ben Colbert
(rvamutt) - F
dogs on 05/31/2009 18:38:11 MDT Print View

Seems to me like poor form to ask for help and then call someone giving it a jerk. You will be hard pressed to find a dog that is going to enjoy 20 mile hikes and also be ok with 60 hrs a week in a crate. I will be the first to tell you that it is more than possible to take care of a hig energy, high maintenance dog while balancing that much work, a family and a social life. I will also tell you that it is very difficult and most people do not do it correctly.

Lastly keep in mind that a puppy will need several hours a week of training and socialization.

A shelter dog may very well need all that and also time to bond in addition. Neither are great candidates for roaming your house until you are completely comfortable with their habits and that might take a year or longer.

If you can do it than go for it as you probably know dog ownership is extremely rewarding. But be sure to think long and hard because this is a very long commitment.

Edited by rvamutt on 05/31/2009 18:48:40 MDT.

Art Sandt
(artsandt) - F
Re: dogs on 05/31/2009 19:46:24 MDT Print View

"Seems to me like poor form to ask for help and then call someone giving it a jerk."

Who is asking for help, Ben? Re-read my post and please do tell me where you see this happening.

Edited by artsandt on 05/31/2009 19:47:47 MDT.

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
dogs on 05/31/2009 22:45:34 MDT Print View

Easy guys. Its all good info. I have had dogs in the past and have trained all of them myself. The reason I am looking now is I had to give my last dog to a friend. We had to move and the land lord would not allow animals. I loved that dog and hated to see her go, but I knew she had a good home,can't just go back and say I'd like my dog back now they have had her for about 3 years now. Thats why I'm looking again we just bought a house so no more renting. I will probably spend about 1 hour a day out side with the dog training and playing, plus my 12 year old will be helping to entertain untill it is house trained. Still looking, didn't see any thing promising yet. I know this is a long commitment and I want to make the rite choice. As soon as I get one I'll post some pics, might be a while

Ben Colbert
(rvamutt) - F
dogs on 06/01/2009 09:06:01 MDT Print View

I think both my post and Ali's should have been directed at the OP. A little friendly misunderstanding. Maybe everyone should take the internet a little less seriously.