Hiking with Your Dog: Getting Started

hiking with dog

It’s almost 2022, so it’s about time to give something new a try. Hiking is a great one, it’s not too intense, you can do it with friends, and of course, the dog can get in on it!

While it’s one of the easier hobbies to get your dog into, it isn’t always a case of going to your nearest Munro and walking until you’re at the top. You still have to ease yourself into it, and that’s considering you’ve done all the right things beforehand, like buying and breaking in some good walking boots.

Now, while dogs are little balls of energy, for the most part, they will need to ease into it too. Even sprightly pups may struggle with hills if they aren’t used to it yet.

So, consider a checklist for hiking with your dog, to make sure they’re ready to enjoy the wonderful sights (and sniffs) that hills and mountains have to offer.

Start Small

Starting out big is a great way to kill your motivation as well as your dogs. There are hills spread across Britain and Ben Nevis should not be your first! Start with your local hill (granted if you live in Fort William and your local hill is Nevis, probably don’t) and build up from there.

Consider your dog’s current lifestyle. How hilly is their current daily walk? Are they used to longer walks or a few shorter walks?

Keep in mind that if a dog is conditioned to get all of their energy out over a short walk, they may not be ready for a longer one from the get-go.

Build it up slowly and surely. If they aren’t used to longer walks, work on that before you bring elevation into the mix.

Train Recall

While recall is important generally for dogs, it’s absolutely necessary for hiking and hillwalking.

This is because you’ll be out on fields, you need to make sure that your dog is nearby and not bothering sheep and cows.

Farmers may be nervous with your dog around their animals and may seek to protect their stock, so make sure that your dog comes right back when you call on them.

Wrap Em Up

Once you get to those bigger hills you need to consider your dog’s warmth. While yes, they do have fur coats, many dogs just aren’t made for the freezing temperatures of bigger hills and mountains.

Get wrapped up with a high-quality waterproof jacket for those winter hikes that may or may not be plagued with rain.

Also, consider dog boots for both the hotter and colder days to protect their paws from any damage.

A Good Diet

Diet is really important, especially if you’re taking on new physical challenges like hiking with your dog.

Try different diets and see what works best, be it kibble, canned, or the newer raw food diets.

It’s getting easier to feed raw with pre-prep companies like Bella & Duke, and as the food is whole dogs can break it down more easily.

With that being said, every dog is different, so try new things and see what your dog loves the most.