Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Packing with Dogs


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Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Hounds on 02/10/2014 07:29:41 MST Print View

I have to agree with those who say that hounds are more trouble to deal with when hiking than most other breeds. They can be very sweet dogs and good hiking companions, but are more difficult to manage and generally louder. I find herding breeds much easier to train and generally deal with on the trail. Of the hunting breeds retrievers are fairly easy to manage.

Not knocking your beagle, but do put in the extra effort training and care in handling her (him?). There is more danger of hounds getting lost as well as more chance of their vocalization being a problem. They are not only more likely to vocalize, but louder when they do. They are also likely to follow a scent trail into the next county, so be extra careful about that. They either need to be leashed or VERY well trained, more so than other breeds.

Matthew Helmuth
(matthewhelmuth) - F

Locale: Cascade Siskiyou National Monument
re: thanks for all the input! on 02/11/2014 11:41:53 MST Print View

I appreciate everyone's insight. We'll definitely take your encouragement and admonishment into account over the coming months as we figure out how to have her as an outdoors dog.
We're planning to spend the summer in the BWCAW, so I hope she becomes a water dog. Canoeing ought to be a little bit easier on her joints, also.

Thanks again!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: re: thanks for all the input! on 02/11/2014 11:52:26 MST Print View

"We're planning to spend the summer in the BWCAW, so I hope she becomes a water dog. Canoeing ought to be a little bit easier on her joints, also. "

Hopefully she can will learn to settle into one spot and just watch what's passing by.

On one trip our pup decided that the yearling moose bulldozing his way through the trees and across our narrow channel needed a lesson in manners.

My wife, in the bow, and I in the stern, simultaneously landed paddles on head and tail, accompanied by a synchronized NO!, followed by a long and furious backpaddle. Mr. Moose stopped, looked, and then continued on. We were lucky.

Edited by greg23 on 02/11/2014 11:53:44 MST.

Todd Hein
(todd1960) - MLife

Locale: Coastal Southern California
My opinion... on 02/11/2014 13:12:04 MST Print View

On the trail, I've been bitten by dogs, tripped by dogs, jumped on, and awakened by dogs. I'm sure all the owners thought that their dogs were "good", "well-trained" dogs. It's not the dogs' fault - they're just being dogs. I love dogs and own two, but I don't see a place for them on well-traveled trails. They bother wild life as well. Leave them at home. If you do insist on bringing them along, at the VERY least they should be on a leash.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: My opinion... on 02/11/2014 21:53:12 MST Print View

If I was around you Todd I'd be spraying you down with water as I'm speaking, for your own good ;^)

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: re: thanks for all the input! on 02/12/2014 05:28:38 MST Print View

Matthew...

I can't tell if you are discouraged or not...but if you are, don't be. Now is the perfect time to acclimate your pup to the outdoors and train her (him?) to be the perfect trail dog. I think all of us (except Todd, who I agree needs to be sprayed with water....wink...) are really just saying to do a lot of training, and to go slow the first year. No real weight on her back (although an empty pack is probably a great idea after 8 months or so), a lot of very short day hikes to use as training tools (think an hour, maybe 2), car camping to get her used to campfires and tents and sleeping bags, etc.

I wanted a dog specifically to go hiking with me, and I trained him a lot. It took a few years, tho, before I could relax with him!! Now he's an absolute joy.

As for those of you who feel like Todd..and honestly, I agree there's very little worse than a misbehaving dog in camp. So here's the scenario: CharlieDog runs ahead (he's not supposed to...). He enthusiastically greets oncoming hikers (he's not supposed to...). Said hikers pet and scratch and coo all over him because he's just so darned handsome! CharlieDog has just been rewarded for violating his rules. It happens over and over again...and wow am I losing the battle to undo that.

The point is that it is a lot of work to "create" a good trail/outdoor dog...but wow is it worth it!!!!!Chuck

Edited by Jenmitol on 02/12/2014 05:36:16 MST.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: Re: re: thanks for all the input! on 02/12/2014 07:28:06 MST Print View

Is there anything Charlie likes more than running ahead and greeting people like treats,toys or playing fetch? I find liver sausage to be a very prized reward for some dogs frisbees for others. If there is nothing the dog prizes over meeting and greeting and your recall fails then there is not much you can do but some type of punishment but that should be last resort. Punishment can be anything from mommy coming unglued to getting a shot of citronella spray from the person Chucks greeting. I'd be working on recall with distractions first and be 100% consistent on what you want. The problem usually is not the dog its the trainer not being consistent. A dog can be trained that if he sees someone coming down the trail he comes to you rather than them but easier done B4 the dog learns how to get his own reward. Behaviors that dogs have learned on their own to be rewarding are the hardest to break.

Edited by mtmnmark on 02/12/2014 07:37:55 MST.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Re: re: thanks for all the input! on 02/12/2014 07:47:26 MST Print View

You are very correct Mark...the problem is that there is also a great deal of consistency with the folks rewarding him up ahead!!!!

His recall is now spot on in other situations, such as a time he was off leash and really wanted to greet another dog, but the owners said it wasn't a good idea...chuck turned right around and heeled without a second thought. But when he's got a chance to wag his tail and be goofy with his tongue and have hikers fawn and coo all over him....consistently....not a chance.

He's even stopped begging for food! Well, except for with Milton. Milton still gives him bagels.

David Olsen
(bivysack.com) - F

Locale: Channeled Scablands
Freedom with responsibility on 02/12/2014 10:11:53 MST Print View

After successful dog schooling, this can help keep a hound as model citizen.

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Hunting/Dog-Training-Supplies/Electronic-Dog-Collars|/pc/104791680/c/104715180/sc/104314680/SportDOG-Brand174-SD-105S-Trainer/720340.uts?destination=%2Fcatalog%2Fbrowse%2Felectronic-dog-collars%2F_%2FN-1104239%2B10000051%2B4294697752%2FNe-10000051%2FNs-HAS_BAZAARVOICE_REVIEW%257C1%257C%257CPRODUCT_BAZAARVOICE_RATING%257C1%257C%257CPRODUCT_BAZAARVOICE_REVIEW_NUM%257C1%3FWTz_st%3DGuidedNav%26WTz_stype%3DGNU&WTz_l=Unknown%3Bcat104314680

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: thanks for all the input! on 02/12/2014 11:16:08 MST Print View

"But when he's got a chance to wag his tail and be goofy with his tongue and have hikers fawn and coo all over him....consistently....not a chance."

Wish it worked for me as well as it works for CharlieDog. When I wag my tail and start being goofy with my tongue, I get maced. Still working on that.....

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: thanks for all the input! on 02/12/2014 11:41:50 MST Print View

And I understand completely the nicer looking the dog is the more people that will sabotage your training you can even ask them not to pet your dog as its got its paws up on them and they still will, ask them not to give it a treat and oops sorry and its really hard backpacking with them off leash as you might not see anybody for hours or even days you get used to that then someone quietly walks up it can happen quickly,you come around a blind corner and there they are. That last trip to the winds I went with you guys on was the first one in fifteen years that I didn't bring a dog. My last 4 dogs have had great recalls the present two beyond great. I used to let them off leash and if we saw someone coming they were trained to come to side get off trail and sit til people passed if other dogs llamas or pack animals were involved I leashed them. My prior trip to the winds my dog Twist was its normal 15 ft ahead of me she went around a rock outcrop and ran into someone who didn't like my dog, I think she got kicked I didn't see it happen i just heard it. I was told to keep my effn dog on a leash. The rest of the trip her hackles went up and she snarled and barked at most everyone she met even while on leash the only way she felt safe was if we moved off trail far enough. She's mainly frightened by big guys with packs and she does not have any problems in non backpacking settings. She is a well trained well socialized animal and very smart, loves most everyone. I know what it will take to get her over
this and that is successful encounters with people on the trail with packs on which kinda counters my initial training. It was my fault she should have been on leash if I couldn't 100% keep an eye on her and see up ahead on the trail to see what's coming. I decided to give her time off I'll most likely start bringing her again this year on overnighters and build from there. The guy was right I never should have had her off leash but in the future I will try to watch it more when I do have her off.

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Re: Re: Re: Re: re: thanks for all the input! on 02/12/2014 12:19:35 MST Print View

Dogs take cues from you and use it to their advantage: either to chase you or to get a pat on the head, either way is to get attention from a person. When I meet an out of control owner and dog, I just scoop up Maggie (Rat Terrier) and continue on without breaking pace. I've been trail running soooo much the past year and running into soooo many dogs that I use the following:
1. Never look directly at any approaching dog.
2. Never talk to any approaching dog.
3. Never look at the dog owner.
4. Talk to the owner as you get close and ask them to please take the dog in for training or ask if their goofy tongued Golden can give you a sloppy kiss or pass by and say "Hello".
Stay consistent with your dog: "he won't learn" means that you have stopped repeating the lesson, and repetition is the mother of all learning. This comes up in every 'Dog thread'.
Grouchy Old Man stepping off of the soapbox and heading outside with Maggie to shovel snow (BTW: she'll be off-leash today and knows her limits).

Travis Bernard
(DispatchesfromtheNorth) - F - M

Locale: Lake Laberge
My Thoughts... on 02/13/2014 10:08:45 MST Print View

My girlfriend and I picked up a dog from the shelter last August and have been going through the whole training process since then. My advice is to not be overwhelmed by the training, and make sure you keep things fun for you and the dog. Dog owner's can be worse than parents sometimes. Everyone is an expert and you'll find no shortage of opinions as to how to train your dog, or what you are doing wrong in your training. Heed all advice, of course, but focus on what works for you and let your dog, her breed, and her own personality quarks guide your training.

We have an alaskan husky and she's fast, independent, and has an extremely high prey drive. She's never going to learn to heel or walk behind us on the trail like a lab will. Instead, we take advantage of her desire to pull and we skijor, bikejor, run or hike with her on belt and harness. It gives her purpose and it gets me to places faster than I would on my own. Not to mention, working in tandem with a dog is one of the greatest joy's I've experienced when things click and you are able to understand each other on the trail.

In my opinion, consistency and experience are the two biggest factors to ensure you have a positive experience backpacking with your dog. The consistency in the training is what creates trust between you and the dog so that she listens when you need her to. Experience, however, is the biggest single factor. I don't think we give full credit to how complex and intelligent dogs are and the importance of experiential learning. Much like people, a dog that spends 95% of it's time laying around a house and going for walks on neighbourhood sidewalks is going to be more at risk of making an error out on the trail than a dog who spends lots of time in the bush.

Our dog is off-leash a lot due to where we live. It's been amazing watching her learn to travel by herself. She knows how to read the snow conditions and will bolt off into the trees at full speed when she knows the snow is hard packed and will hold her. She'll also walk gingerly and distribute her weight more carefully as soon as she gets on snow that won't hold her weight. In real soft snow she hops from tree base to tree base to avoid the deeper snow patches. She's constantly aware and analysing trail conditions, risks, potential rewards (ie: finding a fox cache) in the same way that I am, just using different senses and sometimes with different goals :)

So find the training methods that work best for you, make sure to take that dog with you everywhere you go, and have fun. And don't forget to let her be a dog too...

Travis Bernard
(DispatchesfromtheNorth) - F - M

Locale: Lake Laberge
One more thing... on 02/13/2014 10:15:24 MST Print View

Regarding meeting other hikers on the trail:

There is good reason that the dog as a species has had such success from an evolutionary standpoint. They are adept at reading human emotions and body language and have used it to great advantage. I've noticed that our dog decides whether or not she will approach oncoming hikers (if we ever come across them) based on their body language, as others here have mentioned.

If the other hikers have stiffer body language and don't appear interested in her, she will stay far clear of them. If they start calling to her and appear inviting and friendly she still approaches cautiously, but will warm up and become very friendly once contact is made.

Cheers,
Travis

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Packing with Dogs on 02/14/2014 12:12:46 MST Print View

HERE is what you can expect ;)

Troy Childs
(tchilds) - F
tips on 02/18/2014 06:58:41 MST Print View

.

Edited by tchilds on 02/19/2014 07:43:45 MST.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: tips on 02/18/2014 07:49:39 MST Print View

Not to delve into a dog training argument, but I disagree with you on a few points (as you knew people would...)

First of all, a well-fitting pack sits on the dog's front shoulders, NOT on the back. CharlieDog's pack barely even reaches his back...the vast majority of the wight is centered at his shoulders. By the way, he has had nasty hip problems since I got him and he seems to feel the best when we are out on the trail. He loves the pack (and all that is ever in it is his food and my trash, and he's 80#s) and stands and waits for me to put in on.

Secondly, don't use the boots all the time. Your dog actually vents a lot of heat through the pads of his feet, so when they are in boots in the heat they are at much higher risk for heat stroke than when their pads can touch cool ground. Obviously boots are necessary in some situations, just be careful about using them all the time. CharlieDog wore them once and overheated so badly I thought we were going to have to evacuate him. I removed the boots....doused him with water...he was totally fine after that. And he has never had issues with his feet...although he was just as sore as the rest of us on an 8-day trip the Winds! Nothing a little massage and a rest day couldn't handle....

And lastly...the e collar bit. I agree that sometimes an e collar is necessary, say for some working dogs and such, but an e collar is known as negative reinforcement training, whereas training without one is positive reinforcement training. I choose to train my dog in the positive reinforcement category - he wants to please me, so he does what I ask and he is rewarded for it. The e collar, while not at all painful, is a punishment based one. You do this behavior, I'll not shock you. You go over there, I'll shock you. Instead of the dog choosing to do the correct behavior because he knows that's what you want, he does it so you won't punish him.

Again, there are situations when this is necessary...but I'm not so sure you want to go that route first with a pet. A bomb sniffer? Perhaps.



Just take some good dog behavior/training classes and have a ton of fun! I love backpacking with my pup!!!

Travis Bernard
(DispatchesfromtheNorth) - F - M

Locale: Lake Laberge
Booties on 02/18/2014 07:56:53 MST Print View

We use cheap fleece booties for our dog in the winter. Haven't used them in the summer but I imagine they'd do just as well in the summer. Much better than those rubber sole booties. They still protect the feet and they breathe too. Not to mention they cost about $1 a piece or can be made for even cheaper.

Cheers,
Travis

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Booties on 02/18/2014 08:02:18 MST Print View

I encountered a human with dog once. They had walked over sharp rock area. His feet were all cut up. Very sad. I think it eventually resolved acceptably though.

David Olsen
(bivysack.com) - F

Locale: Channeled Scablands
Re: Re: tips on 02/18/2014 12:14:15 MST Print View

"Secondly, don't use the boots all the time. Your dog actually vents a lot of heat through the pads of his feet, so when they are in boots in the heat they are at much higher risk for heat stroke than when their pads can touch cool ground. Obviously boots are necessary in some situations, just be careful about using them all the time. CharlieDog wore them once and overheated so badly I thought we were going to have to evacuate him. I removed the boots....doused him with water...he was totally fine after that. And he has never had issues with his feet...although he was just as sore as the rest of us on an 8-day trip the Winds! Nothing a little massage and a rest day couldn't handle....

And lastly...the e collar bit. I agree that sometimes an e collar is necessary, say for some working dogs and such, but an e collar is known as negative reinforcement training, whereas training without one is positive reinforcement training. I choose to train my dog in the positive reinforcement category - he wants to please me, so he does what I ask and he is rewarded for it. The e collar, while not at all painful, is a punishment based one. You do this behavior, I'll not shock you. You go over there, I'll shock you. Instead of the dog choosing to do the correct behavior because he knows that's what you want, he does it so you won't punish him."

------

Scent Hounds are very different than other breeds, save for maybe Huskies. A dog pack and an e collar made long backpacks doable with mine. My black and tan (think long legged beagle) needed both the positive reinforcement and the e collar. You do not want a scent hound learning they can EVER ignore you. If you use an e collar right, they don't know it is you controlling it, but rather think it is their own doing. The dog has to be well trained to recall before you start with an collar, and they are to wear a fake one for a couple of weeks prior to training with the real thing.

Homemade canvas booties with athletic tape to hold them on worked best for our dogs. They breath but stop wear on rocky or paved trails. Not for snow.

Our dog was 50 lbs and carried a tiny sleeping bag, square of 1/4" foam pad, dry food, pint of water. She lived till she was 17 and could come on our mountain bike trips till 16. No joint problems, but we kept her in training.

The pack seemed to settle her down on the trail, she seemed less likely to get excited at animals and other distractions.

Goggles were needed at altitude with snow or bright rocks. She had show blindness once.

Even made a simple climbing harness for canyoneering in the Inyo's. Learned how to rappel with a dog. Unlike the youtube video's by mall ninja's and seal wanabees, you attach the rappel device directly to the dog and hang below it like you would a haul bag or a litter lower.brook

Edited by bivysack.com on 02/18/2014 12:15:03 MST.