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Old 10-03-2012, 06:24 AM
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GoingNowhere GoingNowhere is offline
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Default Anybody go backpacking with your dog?

Not just car camping, but actually backpacking?

I'm seriously considering attempting a few day long trip (max 1 week) and kidnapping Boo for the duration. I've done a 1 night overnight trip with her before (we probably only hiked about 3.5 miles to the location although it was a steep climb), but never any more than that.

What should I know, both from an "on the trip" standpoint and from a preparatory standpoint?

Some questions to answer -
Beyond food, what dog specific items would I need?
Could I expect the dog to live off of unfiltered water while we're out (AKA stream water?) - she drinks it already but it's never been her sole source
What is the etiquette with off leash dogs and backpackers?
Should I worry about the length of the walking per day (neither Boo nor I has hiked for more than a day at a time)
Do I need to worry about her age if she's otherwise healthy (she's probably ~8 or 9 now)
Did you enjoy your trip(s)?

And anything else you might want to add would be excellent!
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:19 PM
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elegy elegy is offline
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Not yet...... BUT EVENTUALLY I SWEAR IT

I would take some kind of boots and pay careful attention to feet. My best hiking buddy ended up packing her Corgi out because he ended up footsore on an overnighter. With an older dog, I'd consider talking to the vet about having some sort of dog-safe NSAID along, just in case.

I would be mindful of the distance. Just like you get sore, so may your dog, especially since she's older, and especially if she's not used to that much exercise. You might consider planning two back-to-back lengthy dayhikes beforehand to see how she fares.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoingNowhere View Post
Not just car camping, but actually backpacking?

I'm seriously considering attempting a few day long trip (max 1 week) and kidnapping Boo for the duration. I've done a 1 night overnight trip with her before (we probably only hiked about 3.5 miles to the location although it was a steep climb), but never any more than that.

What should I know, both from an "on the trip" standpoint and from a preparatory standpoint?

Some questions to answer -
Beyond food, what dog specific items would I need?
Could I expect the dog to live off of unfiltered water while we're out (AKA stream water?) - she drinks it already but it's never been her sole source
What is the etiquette with off leash dogs and backpackers?
Should I worry about the length of the walking per day (neither Boo nor I has hiked for more than a day at a time)
Do I need to worry about her age if she's otherwise healthy (she's probably ~8 or 9 now)
Did you enjoy your trip(s)?

And anything else you might want to add would be excellent!
Yes!

Bring a water filter. We love our Platypus.

I would bring a harness if you get sticky and need to pull/raise/lower her.

More food than you think she'll need.

I'd be tolerant of your area, crowded = flexi or long line leash.

I would build her up exercise-wise.

This is exciting!
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:30 PM
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thank you both! I'm going to look into some of the info in your posts

The back to back day hikes is a good idea. I'm honestly not sure how she'd do. She's certainly is as good of shape as I am (not saying too much ATM ) but I've never taken her out on several hikes back to back. Sadly she doesn't live with me at school, so this would all have to be done during the summer (conditioning included unless I can bribe my family into developing a new love for hiking with the dog!), but I can't imagine going on a trip like that and not bringing her! I would definitely be willing to cater the trip length/distance per day to her if it meant I could have her with me. That and I'm not intending to kill myself on my first ever real backpacking trip, so I'd probably be the one putting the ceiling on how far we go anyway.

Another slightly odd/gross question. From some quick looking online, I stumbled across the unwritten "backpacker code" of burying excrement. Is this really necessary to do for a dog out in the backwoods?
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:03 AM
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Tyler and I have done a few back packing trips with Teagan, and Mitsu came as well this summer.

We bring a water filter, but its more for us than for Teagan. She can go ahead and drink the stream water. We bring dehydrated raw for Teagan as its light and does not take up much room. Teagan wears a harness when we hike. You never know when your gonna need to strap her to your back pack or haul her up and over stuff.

When we back pack, we usually go to places that have no other people so Teagan goes off leash most of the time. But she sticks very close.

When we hike we also pack bear spray and a gun. And depending on what is open for hunting season Teagan gets a lot of legit raw when we hike, we also get some good meat out of the deal.

I really enjoy back pack camping/hiking. Its so much fun and you feel like you have really accomplished something.

And regarding dog poo, if its off the trail and in the bushes I just leave it. If its on the trail I just flick it into the bushes.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:04 PM
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thanks Do either of you have your dog carry his or her own food? If so, about how much weight is appropriate to start conditioning with? would something on the order of 3-5 pounds (for a 55 lb dog) be an okay amount to start with or would you recommend conditioning up to even that amount of weight?

Sad to say I don't think Boo could be strapped to a backpack even if I wanted to, but a harness is definitely a good idea for helping her up and over things or just keeping her where I need her
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:32 PM
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I'd definitely bring a filter or a bottle of water just to be safe.

I usually have Yoshi carry her own food and a couple bottles of water. It's not super heavy. Yoshi is about 48ish pounds but usually gets 2-3 bottles of water and most of her food.

For poop I do usually bury it. Most of the places I won't run into another person but I know I'd get annoyed if I stepped in it so I bury it. If not pushing under a bush or somewhere no one is going to walk should be fine.

The only thing I can say is make sure to be aware of any limitations you or she has. Rest when you need to and stop when you need to. And make sure to have a first aid kit for her too.
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Last edited by yoko; 10-04-2012 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:50 PM
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Yes! I have gone backpacking with Cricket numerous times (she's never been winter backpacking with me, but I really want to take her sometime as she's the perfect size for a sleeping-bag warmer)

Conditioning is definitely important, even if it's just walking 2 or 3 miles a few times a week. Watch out for her paw pads especially if you'll be hiking over rough/rocky terrain; I've never had to use anything but it might be a good idea to bring along a little Musher's Secret or a similar product. Make sure you have at least a basic doggy first aid kit too. She may get a little sore if you're going to do any strenuous stuff, I went on a pretty intense trip with Cricket over the summer (10-15 miles a day, over hills); she was definitely feeling it and appreciated some doggy massage at the end of the day.

I always let Cricket drink from streams for the most part, but plan on bringing along an extra water bottle since streams are not always in opportune locations; it's good to carry some along so she can take water breaks when you do. Just make sure she stays hydrated. Also plan on bringing more food than she normally eats, since she'll be burning lots of calories during the day.

Cricket is usually off-leash, unless the trail has lots of people on it. If the poop is off in the woods I just leave it, although if it's in a place with heavy traffic (like near a lean-to) I'll take the time to bury it.

She does have a backpack but because she's so slight, I put very little into it, usually just an extra leash and a bit of food. One thing you have to remember about backpacks is that balance is very important, so if you take food out of one side, be prepared to move some stuff around to make it roughly even on both sides. I think 3-5 pounds is an ok starting weight for a dog Boo's size, though I'd walk her around with just the backpack on for a little while first to let her get used to it.

I really love taking my dog backpacking - there's a big feeling of having accomplished something together.
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  #9  
Old 10-05-2012, 09:13 AM
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Thank you both
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:13 AM
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This looks like it has a lot of good ideas for you. http://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/hiking-dogs.html

I never did over night hikes...just day hikes, sometimes long ones. I was apprehensive about carrying food with me, as I lived in Grizzly bear country. But depending on where you are, you might ask the fish and game dept for any recommendations of what to carry it in. You'll need extra food for that extra expenditure of calories.

Sounds like a great adventure when the time comes. Have fun and stay safe.
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