Jan 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm #1267339
Well my pup is almost full grown, she is 9 months old and has way to much energy still, I'm sure that wont go away any time soon. I can't wait to take her out hiking this year, I bought her a Mountainsmith pack so she can carry her own, so far ir doesn't seem to bug her to much, I put it on her a a few days a week for different periods of time so she can get use to it, so far so good. Here are a few pics, it was hard to get her to stay still long enough to take the pics, always on the move, always something to see or do, at least in her mind. She really is a good dog.Jan 5, 2011 at 9:45 pm #1680893
Congrats on your hiking buddy Jack. Nice dog. You didn't mention her name. Don't worry about her energy level. That will come down in 8 years or so. :) There's nothing like a good trail dog. Hope the two of you have many miles in your future.Jan 5, 2011 at 10:06 pm #1680899
David W.BPL Member
@davidpcvsamoaLocale: East Bay, CA
Beautiful dog Jack. I hope to hike with her (and you) sometime this summer. Will she carry my gear?Jan 5, 2011 at 10:36 pm #1680904
@ Randy her name is "Shasta" like the mountain
@ David she has enough energy, just not enough size, she only weighs arond 25lbs but with a heart and soul of a Irish Wolfhound.Jan 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm #1680910
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
That dog almost looks like there is some silver phase fox blood in there. Cute.
–B.G.–Jan 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm #1681081
Just make sure Shasta's joints are completely matured before you put any weight in that pack. That's at 12-24 months depending on the breed (since she's smaller, probably closer to the lower number). It's a good idea to check with your veterinarian. Once your vet gives the OK, start with just a pound (during daily walks) and gradually work up. Taking it easy now on both weight and distance now will mean a longer hiking life for Shasta and could save you from very expensive joint surgery!
At 9 months she's still just a puppy (sort of the equivalent of a human 7th grader), and will act like a pup for quite a while yet! It took my dog 8 months after we passed beginning obedience (at 7 months) with the highest score in the class before he passed intermediate (we repeated the intermediate class five times and it got very boring!). Every time I took off the leash my dog decided it was time to go play with the other dogs in the class! Finally he realized that "heel" meant business whether or not he was on leash!
Shasta certainly is a beautiful dog!Jan 6, 2011 at 1:51 pm #1681105
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I agree. I've used 18 months as a general rule of thumb for a dog reaching adult size. My Springers never got brains until 2 years or so :)
My Aussie knows what the pack means and does a real dance when it comes out. He carries an old Sierra cup for his dish, some treats, waste bags and a little water. He carries all his waste out. It makes me crazy to see where people have bagged the waste and then left it beside the trail. It would be better to throw it off the trail where it can degrade than leave it sealed and then not pick it up on the return (they never do).
Please hike with your dog on a lead. I know it is a pain, but I don't think it is fair to other hikers to be greeted by even a friendly dog. I've been muddied by a couple loose pooches and I've been snapped at a couple times too– that doesn't go at all. I've had an unleashed animal try to start a fight with my leashed dog too. Of course running off after wildlife and getting lost or hurt is a bad deal. A deer can do some real damage to your pet, let alone a coyote or porcupine.
Check them for ticks on the way and after too.Jan 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm #1681115
The usual "LNT" procedure for dog waste while backpacking is the same as for human waste–bury it in a cat hole. In populated areas, though (such as my "back yard," the Columbia River Gorge), it's far better to bag it and pack it out.
It really helps if you get your dog used to a routine of producing her waste right after a meal. It helps even more if you can persuade her to "go" on command. My dog does this (well, most of the time). I therefore can take him to an out-of-the-way place with soft ground right after he eats, and after 2 to 5 minutes to find just the right spot, he "goes"! Definitely make sure she doesn't "go" in a spot tat someone might conceivably (or inconceivably) want to use as a camp site or rest spot!
I agree, please, please use that leash! I do let my dog walk loose on the trail behind me where it's legal, as long as we are alone and where he can't get around me. I may also let him loose in open spaces where I can see there's no person or animal within a mile. Many otherwise sweet and friendly dogs become fearful and therefore protective, if not aggressive, in strange places. And not everyone likes dogs–many people are quite nervous around them and will be happy to see that your dog is controlled on leash. You especially don't want your dog barking or making sudden moves around horses or other livestock, or chasing wildlife.
My dog carries a comb in his pack, and I use it on him every night. It makes him feel good, removes dirt and possible ticks and also means less dog hair floating around the tent!Jan 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm #1681307
Thanks Mary and Dale for all the info. For our first hike I was plannig on her just carrying her pack and maybe some food, like you guys said, I don't want to hender any bone growth or create any problems for her future hikes or health. Do you guys know of any good short weekend hikes that you can take dogs on? I know in the Sierra mt's, at least in SEKI it's very limited. I know of 1 or 2 on the eastern side. I will most likely have her on leash 99% of the time, I know how annoying it is to have a muddy dog run up and jump on you and the pet owner not do any thing about it except laugh, and I also understand the danger of a loose dog around stock, those anamils are spoky enough without a loose dog around. Right now she is pretty well trained on doing her business, I just tell her to go potty and she pretty much does it on command, or at least within a few minutes. I forgot to mention she is half pure breed Border Collie and half pure breed Mc Nab, mom was Border Collie, dad was Mc Nab. She is really smart, and learns really fast, but she has that dominate alfa dog in her, makes her real stubborn, give her a command and half the time she just turns her head and looks at you like, what did you say, but ask her to do the same command while holding a treat, and she almost does it before you ask her. Thanks again for all the tips, and info. Randy what kind of dog is in your avatar? looks like a Golden Retriever.Jan 7, 2011 at 12:52 pm #1681501
Yep, she's a Golden. Kai, the Trail Queen. She's a fantastic trail dog with unlimited energy and tackles any obstacles confidently. Unfortunately, she's not the best camp dog. She's a rescue and she's a very nervous dog in general. She definitely prefers a tough day hike over backpacking. We have a Golden pup, Buddy, who will probably get to go on most backpacking trips when he's ready. The breeder doesn't want him to do any real hiking until he's a year old. Which will be June 1. I'm not sure how much it really matters. We have 3 acres and the dogs must do at least a couple miles of running a day when they are playing. But I'll stick with the program. I think he's going to be a great trail companion. Really smart and confident. Here's a pic of him from a few months ago. I don't have any more recent ones handy but he looks just like this only bigger.Jan 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm #1681568
More cute dog pictures! Love them!
Goldens are a late-maturing breed and susceptible to joint problems, so take it easy. My dog is 3/4 Lab and 1/4 Golden, and even with OFA ratings of "Excellent" for both parents, my vet warned me to be cautious. Better not to start pack weight on Kai until she's close to age 2. With everything (hiking, pack), start slowly and work up very gradually.
I think I mentioned about taking the pack off for big jumps up and down (ledges, deadfall). That's why I like a pack that attaches to a separate harness, so the pack can be removed without taking everything off and, without the pack, the harness is available to assist the dog.
OK, gotta add my cute dog photo: Hysson is modeling an older model Ruffwear Palisades pack. (Edited later; I got the model names switched.) It is a big pack and I didn't have it scrunched down in this photo–it's actually mostly empty because this was the second-last day of a week's trip in Wyoming's Wind River Range.Jan 7, 2011 at 5:33 pm #1681610
Cute pup Mary! He looks right in his element. Where did the name Hysson come from? Kai is short for Kairi which is some video game character my kids named her after. She's the small one in the avatar and is 2 years old. She's 52 pounds and may be some kind of mix, we don't know. Probably Greyhound with her speed and thin build. :) I put a pack on her when she was 1 for training and she started carrying her full load when she was 18 months. Which for her has never exceeded 6 pounds so far. My schedule last year, and it's not going to be good this year, has only allowed for 2 night trips. She only carries her food (she doesn't eat much but will share some of my FBC meals), bowl, waste bags, long tie out leash for camp, empty water bottle, mostly used when the packs need balast, and a fleece throw for a blanket. I carry her pad, a 6 section Z-rest. I can strap it on her pack but I just don't like the way it rides and the leash keeps getting under it.
Buddy will definitely be brought along slow. He only gets walked about 1/4 mile around the circle we live on. As I promised the breeder when I got him. But like I said, he gets a ton of running in. And I also don't let him jump down from anything taller than his elbows as also instructed. Which is fine if you live in a house with a flat backyard. But there's all kind of things to climb and jump off at our house so not sure how much I'm helping.
What pad do you use for Hysson? I don't see one in the pic. Kai has a shorter coat so gets the throw over her at night and sometimes my down jacket. Buddy has a more normal Golden coat and is always looking for the coldest spot to sleep so he'll handle the cold better. Probably use a larger section of Z-rest for him as he'll be a lot bigger.
How big is he and what size pack does he use? I got that same Mountainsmith pack that Jack has in a medium but she was too skinny for it. The REI one is smaller but rides higher and works good for her. I kept the MS one thinking Buddy will be able to use it but not sure if it will fit him when he's full grown.
I named him Buddy after my late dad who was always know as Bud. And you know the universal greeting from dog lovers to a dog on the trail: "Hey Buddy". Now evertime Kai gets greeted that way she looks around confused like: "Where's Buddy?" :)
And +1 to leashes. I get plenty of people saying thanks for leashing your dog and have never had a complaint about her. Just the opposite. And we always step off and yield the trail to all regardless of right of way with her in a sit/stay. That goes a long way toward good will with those that aren't thrilled with dogs.Jan 13, 2011 at 8:33 am #1683495
@earn_my_turnsLocale: New England
Sorry for my ignorance, I have only rescued dogs. What are all the rules from the Breeder for? Am I wrong in thinking that once you buy the dog it is your dog to enjoy and let explore as you please?
Anyway to not drift too far from the thread, My pup has a small pack that he has out grown, it went on him as soon as he got to a health weight (downsize of rescuing a dog). He was a 50lb dog stuck in a 25lb body. He went on his first overnight this summer, about 18 months, and was very restless or too interested in other things to sleep well that night. By early morning he was comfortable enough to sleep. I think with a few more trips he should get the picture that I want to sleep at night so he should too.Jan 13, 2011 at 9:35 am #1683509
"Sorry for my ignorance, I have only rescued dogs. What are all the rules from the Breeder for? Am I wrong in thinking that once you buy the dog it is your dog to enjoy and let explore as you please?"
For the most part, yes. They are more guidelines than rules and they are intended to help you end up with the best and healthiest dog possible. I did sign a contract when I bought the pup that covers ownership which is legally binding. Everything else is up to me but I did give my word on a few things and that's just as binding as a contract with me. You certainly can do want you want but reputable breeders care about what happens to the pup. And they know the breed better than most buyers. Thus the guidelines on things like when a dog's joints are strong enough for serious exercise, jumping, carrying weight, etc. One of the things you are paying for a when you buy a dog from a reputable breeder, is their knowledge and commitment. Why not follow their advice? Especially in larger breeds prone to joint issues.Jan 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm #1683940
Nice lookin dogs! Jack, I have that same mountainsmith pack for my husky. He loves it!Jan 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm #1684140
I learnt this lesson the hard way. Watch your dog jumping up and down on and off stuff while wearing the pack. The problem i ran into was the pack hanging down on the dogs side so close to the elbows. When the dog lands wearing a pack the front elbows bend back as the pack is swinging forward toward the elbows. It can make contact if everything lines up right and if it does it can make a real mess of your dog. It does not take something all that solid to become very hard under force. My dog ended up with hygroma on either elbow after jumping off a small ledge of only a couple feet. It put her on strict bed rest for about two months maybe more while the fluid naturally drained. It really stunk for a dog used to 8-10 miles a day of walking to have to just sit around all day.
Also imop 1 year is the soonest you should be putting weight on your dog. I also feel anything more than a 3-5 mile a day walk for a pup is a bit much. I would say 10 plus mile days should wait till 12 months. Go slow with the weight i used empty plastic water bottles and would add water a bit at a time over a period of weeks/months.
I could not agree with the leash your dam dog thing any more! I have two dogs myself that i hike with everyday. I cant stand dogs off leash as they create problems for everyone in some way shape or form at some point. Not everyone likes your dog, i don't care if it is friendly and well behaved!!! Plus it is one and a million dogs that are let to roam off leash that listen to voice commands the FIRST time. Dont get me wrong dogs need to be dogs but they should be dogs on fenced private property.Jan 20, 2011 at 8:15 pm #1686483
I just had to jump in. I hike a lot with my dog, and he and I love it!
Some of the advice above is spot on. I attach one of those 15 ft leads to my pack, and Timber knows to drop behind me if the trail is too narrow for us both to fit side by side. This way I don't have to hold the leash all the time and can still use my hiking poles.
I also have him do a sit/stay whenever we meet other folks on the trail. As you can see, he is a very large German Shepherd. Having him under control, and for folks to see that he is under control when they approach is just the right thing to do. He is a sweetheart, but looks intimidating, so we do everything we can to make others at ease. It is interesting watching him when a deer or other mammal breaks and runs. He actually shivers with eagerness and asks with every body language he knows for me to give the release command. Of course, I don't, but he is always hopeful that maybe this time will be the time!
I waited until he was 2 before doing any long hikes or put any weight in the pack, My vet said for a large dog, 2 was the magic number. Now he carries almost all of his own gear, and we have a blast.Jan 23, 2011 at 6:52 pm #1687527
@notallwhowanderarelostLocale: South East United States
I'm lovin the trail dog pics. I also have the mountainsmith pack for my traildog: Wrangler.
I will skip the advice that has been given so far since it has all been good and there is no need to repeat it and move on to what I have learned:
– He is going to rub that pack on you enough to make you want to scream sometimes if you walk side by side. I hiked alot with my dog before he got his pack, and it took a long time for him to realize he couldn't walk as close to me as he used to since he is wider with the pack. The process is not fun.
– It will help wear him down on shorter hikes for workouts. I load Wrangler with 2 full nalgenes on short hikes (this is breed specific obviously and I did a good deal of work to get him to this point) and it helps turn a short hike into a good workout (just like I hike with 35lbs on my back for those hikes.)
– Every time you change the load in those pockets, redo the compression straps. I took a while to learn this but you have to change them every time because if the contents are loose it wobble and throw him off balance, keep those tight!
– Keep those understraps tight, if these are loose, the pack will slide forward on the downhills and will wing on the uphills. How tight the understraps need to be will change when you alter the side straps, keep that in mind.
– Hook the leash to the ring on the top of the pack near his butt. This keeps the leash above his head and prevents it from getting tangled under his legs, which was happening frequently on trails when the leash was hooked on his collar. I hook the leash to that ring and a loop on my pack and have hands free leashing.
Good luck and have fun with it!
Overall I am very satisfied with this pack. Sometimes I keep it on him at night because it has reflective tape and makes it easy to find him in camp with my headlamp.Jan 24, 2011 at 1:58 am #1687686
"Now he carries almost all of his own gear, and we have a blast."
Why not all of his own gear?
Here's my hiking partner Hertta, hope the pic shows ok:
(Yes, she's not on the leash at the pic, I took it off to get better picture).Jan 24, 2011 at 10:17 pm #1688117
Enzo..Jan 27, 2011 at 6:16 am #1688948
I love all these doggies! I second the healthy suggestions of pack weight and limited physical activity until 18 months for cattle dogs. Jumping and extra weight while falling/descending are the biggest risks. All medium sized cattle dogs do not finish growing their hips together until 18 months, period. It just isn't worth the risk to the dog and these dogs are JUMPERS!!!! Frisbee is a no no until about 18 months, roll it on the ground at first and throw low to avoid massive jumps! Large breed dogs only take about 18 months to finish growing hips together (with exception of the giants). Hip surgery for a puppy is about $5,000 and for an adult about $10,000 so keep this in mind. Saddest thing I ever saw was a border collie at humane society with hip problems because it was worked as a puppy and nobody could afford surgery so it had been on meds its whole life, until that also became too expensive…
I often hike with my border collie/shepherd mut. She is a very good alarm system and insanely alert. Her vision is incredible and she knows how to use it. She outruns every dog twice her size np and can hop and dive through the tinniest holes in brush I've ever seen, coming out unscathed every time. She is the true pack leader w/out her leash or collar on. So so so smart and intuitive that she is hardest dog ever to train but when she learns new commands and really gets it, most rewarding experience for me and my fiance ever. Got her at Hamilton Country Humane Society.
We rescued a shepherd puppy w/out much thought. He was on his way to the society and we picked him up before he made it there. Another case of hill billy breeders trying to make a buck, 4 of his sisters all sold nobody bought him so they were dumping him at shelter. He is 90lbs now and becoming the best off leash trail dog ever. His nature is happy go lucky and after a few miles on the trail w/leash, break off commands, stays, quiets, etc etc are a sure thing. He is oblivous to everything around him at this point, close to 2 years old now an. It is nice having one laid back and one high energy dog because they compliment each other very well. The big shepherd (puppy in pics) is a great trail/pack dog who knows how to stay with you and rely on you!
Both of them are avid swimmers, runners, the older one is almost bird dog ready. I highly recommend shepherds and cattle dogs as great trail companions. Unfortunately, both of these breeds can be risky around children. You have to get shepherds exposed to small things (cats, children, small dogs) at a very early age and keep at it with the rewards or they can be high risk. Cattle dogs are just BAD with children or anything that runs, squeels, and plays. I don't ever leave my border collie mix with children unattended and on the leash… 3 cattle dogs later I'm starting to realize these dogs are just bad around kids they don't know, period… sry for the generalization. The shepherd is a dream around kids though. He knows his place and has never once had any kind of altercation. We reward him for good behavior around children and he is always more excited to play with children than other dogs almost. The cattle dogs on the other hand are just down right nervous creatures.
She has jumped over 25' w/dockdogs at the fair. She is an incredible surprise. When adopted we thought she was deformed but it turned out she just needed about 20lbs more muscle!!!!
w/kittyJan 27, 2011 at 10:33 am #1689028
Hey Brian, shouldn't Enzo be sporting a red pack? :)Jan 27, 2011 at 10:50 am #1689033
Lol, probably so, but he has to find a job to pay for his backpacking gear before he starts getting picky with colors. Found the black one on STP for $23.Jan 31, 2011 at 7:12 am #1690447
I made some packs out of 4oz dacron but it got shredded to pieces. The stuff is strong as heck but the dogs are stronger. The commercial packs are a joke on my dogs, ruined after one bush whacking.
Anyone have a suggestion for durable packs? I was thinking about making a pack that rides on top, instead of a saddle bag type system, and building them an ultralight setup. I mean they're dogs, why shouldn't they be as minimalist as I go?Jan 31, 2011 at 7:50 am #1690460
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Jack, please please please get some booties for your dog. She will thank you for those!
Also, Emmigrant Wilderness is a great place to take a dog backpacking
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