Article – Wilderdog, Author – Alex Jan 15, 2020
“Do you want to go on a hike?” That is the first thing I ask Aleu and Kyra every morning when we are about to head out on another one of our always epic adventures. Their ears perk up, their bodies straighten, and then next thing I know, it is complete utter mayhem with zoomies and long loud howls as I grab their collars, my pack and we head out the door.
My name is Alex and I’ve got two Siberian Husky girls – the black/grey with bi-eyes is Aleu, and the red is Kyra, and we are the @adventuresibes. With two high energy dogs that don’t like to play fetch, or anything of the like, it was important that I was able to find a way for them to run, play, and get their energy out. Hiking is how we do that. Being located in Utah we are given ample opportunity to get outside and enjoy they day, with many trails located so close to home. Our favorite stomping ground near home however is the Uinta Mountain Range, located about an hour and a half from where we are at. It is full of trees, fields, and mountain lakes.
Hiking with your dogs is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures, though there are a few things you should know, and should be aware of when you go hiking with your pup!
First and foremost – know your dog!
You know your dog better than anyone, their needs, likes and dislikes, energy and activity level, and what types of trails they can and can’t do. It’s always better to start with a smaller hike, and gradually increase distance and difficulty, if your dog can handle it. For example, Aleu has hip dysplasia and while I know that she would push herself more than she should, I never do trails that are too strenuous or too long that might put her in pain later, her safety and health is my number one priority.
Second – if you plan to let your dog off-leash make sure they have a solid recall.
Having a strong recall is super important when you are out on the trails for a number of reasons; Other dogs on the trail may not be as friendly as your pup or may have anxiety, and deserve their space. It is very stressful to have an unknown dog run up on you and yours while on the trail. Dogs with high prey drive also need to have a strong recall as you don’t want your pup running off into the wilderness and not coming back because they saw a squirrel. Overall, having a strong recall is for the safety of your dog and others.
Third – Always obey leash laws for the trail.
I like to hike off-leash, it’s more enjoyable for me and the girls, so I always choose areas and trails that allow off leash dogs. We’re lucky that Utah has so many off-leash options so close to where we live.
Fourth – bring lots of water!
Especially if you’re hiking in the summer. My rule for giving water is at least at every mile. My girls know how to drink from water bottles and my water bladder I carry in my pack which makes water breaks quick, however there are plenty of collapsible bowl options that you can pick up from a nearby pet store. Pay attention to your dog’s nose, if it is dry they are under hydrated.
Fifth – always carry a first aid kit!
It’s very rare that I have needed a first aid kit out on the trails, though I have had to use it a couple of times and I am always glad I have it with me when hiking, again this is about the safety of your furry friend.
Here are a few things I always bring with me when hiking with Aleu and Kyra:
Lots and lots of water
High reward treats
Dog booties (just in case)
You know your dog better than anyone, and you will learn more about each other on the trails and the things you will need! I hope this encourages you all to get out there, and if you ever see us, don’t hesitate to say hello!