Hiking with dogs is one of most backpackers’ and dog parents’ favorite outdoor activities. Most campers say that hiking is an ideal way [...]
15 training tips to take your dog on a hike
Published: July 15, 2021
Before your hike with your dog, you should train them. In some situations, you’ll need them to behave and listen to your commands. It can be an extensive advantage if you can control them.
It is important to teach your dogs basic commands. Be consistent with the practice. Highlight their recall so that you can manage them with or without a leash. Teach them where they should defecate to avoid them doing it anywhere when you hike. Remember safety tips when hiking.
In this article, we will be focusing on the training tips for your dog before hiking. We will also discuss safety reminders to be observed when hiking.
15 training tips to take your dog on a hike
Train your dog with basic commands and focus on their recall. When you go out and increase their stamina, teach them to socialize with other people so that they won’t jump on them. Train them with a leash and off-leash, and start off teaching them in your house consistently.
- Sit, stay, down, and come commands
These are the usual instructions that an owner begins to teach their dogs. They sound like easy commands but these are very substantial in several instances. While hiking, this is very helpful to avoid your dog jumping on other hikers.
You will probably not be the only one who will be hiking, so it is important to teach your dog simple commands. Just by saying “stay” or “sit,” you can manage them effortlessly. With such, you can ensure safety in case you want to remove the leash of your dog.
Apart from those commands, you can also train them with hand signals and other verbal directives. It is good for the two of you to have personal communication. This way, they won’t be distracted by other sounds nor commands from different people.
- Focus on recall
Calling them and being able to let them stop what they are doing is quite hard to teach. This especially goes for when they are eating. How can we train them with that “come” command?
Begin by using a long leash to teach them to return to you. If they can do this, give them treats. As you go on with this practice, assign a specific command for this. Give them treats again.
Test their learning skills, even if you are just inside your house. Call them with those commands but avoid being in their sight. If they can find you, reward them with treats. This can be difficult at the start but don’t give up and be constant.
- Train them with good behavior and socialization
After they learn basic commands, you should teach them good manners. Some dogs we encounter are very friendly. Even if you are just a stranger passing by and greeting them, those immediately respond warmly.
On the other hand, some dogs who are not used to seeing other people or strangers tend to bark, or worse, attack them. Although we are not professional dog trainers, we find it effective to expose them to public places. Dogs who are too isolated inside the house are more aggressive, based on our observations. They always perceive strangers as enemies.
You are going to build up their stamina through training. When you are walking or jogging in public places, you can train them not to jump on people. The basic commands will work, but also teach them to be friendly towards people.
- One command for one interpretation
If you train them with the command “stay,” your dog should wait. Try to train them using treats or food. They are usually lured by these, which is a great material to be used when teaching them control.
The core commands should be employed exclusively with one meaning. If you say “sit,” then it should be strictly for sitting. Don’t confuse them, as it can result in difficulties in managing them in case of emergency.
As we already mentioned, you can make up your own command. However, make sure to use that for one purpose only.
- Invest in a dog training book
Choosing this kind of training for your dog can save you money but will require you scheduled sequences of training. There are advantages and disadvantages to this option of training. But, we can’t guarantee you that this will result in effective training.
Enrolling your dog to be trained by a professional trainer is more expensive. However, you can be confident that your dog will learn properly. Other dogs are hard to train and may misinterpret your lessons. We actually don’t know what will happen if they don’t listen to us at times.
- Ask for help from a professional
Another thing you can do is to train your dog with a professional instructor. This can cost much more compared to teaching them yourself, but it guarantees that they will learn appropriately.
Research for some reviews on dog training establishments or pet shops. Some offer these kinds of services.
If you train your dog on your own, this can be considered house-training. After you bought a book with dog training lessons, you can start teaching them at your house. We advise you to be consistent in practicing the commands and signals so that they will absorb the information in a short time.
- Teach them where to relieve themselves
Teach them where and when to eliminate their waste. Dogs will just leave their waste anywhere if you don’t teach them to do it in proper areas. You can train your dog to give you a signal if they are about to relieve themselves.
Start training them at your house. Take them outside. Select an area for waste excretion.
Give them treats every time they do this outdoors. Feed and give them water at a consistent time, so that you’ll know when they are going to defecate.
- Leash training
Leashes grant you control. This can be your instrument to manage them immediately when something happens. However, some dogs go against their leashes, which is an arduous activity.
As much as possible, train them how to be calm when on a leash. Use some gears, like a harness, to strengthen your grasp when you train them for the first time. Always go on for a walk on the trail and they will absorb it when you continue.
Going out with your dog off-leash requires your complete attention and practice. You should refine the recall commands, leash training, and signals. This is a bit tricky but your dog will learn gradually.
Giving your dog freedom when you stroll around can be beneficial. They will be able to discover some things and play around if they want to. Though this is fun, it is still advisable you hike with them with a leash. This way, you know that they are safe with you.
- “Leave it” command
Since you already know the basic commands, also train them with the “leave it” directives. Hiking places contain a lot of interesting materials for your dog. At times, they’ll bring them along while you travel.
Start off your training at home. Cover food or treat, then tell them to “leave it.” Continue doing this until it is instilled in their minds. If they follow your order, of course, reward them.
Isolated places contain insects, animals, and poisonous plants. Prevent them from biting off these to avoid trouble.
- Increase their stamina
It will be useless to teach them all of the commands if they bear low stamina. Indeed, hiking requires a lot of energy and strenuous actions. Walk or jog with them every day. Add more distance every time you exercise so that the training will be efficient.
- Feed them high-protein dog food
Before you hike, feed them with high-protein and fats dog food. It can provide them with enough energy to engage in this activity. Another suggestion is foods with carbohydrates.
Pack some of what you usually feed them in your backpack when you hike. They will be hungry anytime because of the temperature and the adventure is exhausting. So, when you take breaks, you can feed them if you notice they need it.
- Practice making them carry a backpack
Some packs were created mainly for dogs. If you plan on letting them wear one while hiking, train them when you are increasing their stamina. Let them wear it, and it’s even better if you load it. It can aid them to get used to the weight when you are hiking. Although, avoid placing too much stuff in their pack. Just put some lightweight items, according to their size.
- Be consistent
We already mentioned this in other tips, but it is crucial that you maintain your training daily. It will be rewarding in the end. Avoid skipping your training and you can apply it every time you approach them. Meaning, make it natural and a habit.
5 hiking safety tips before your hike
Before you hike, seek a veterinarian’s advice regarding your dog’s capabilities. Also, ask them for some preventatives against insect bites. Plus, avoid going to hot places, always bring water, and don’t allow your dog to drink water along the terrain.
- Get your dog checked by a vet
Don’t ever go hiking without getting your dog examined and checked first. Go to a veterinarian and ask them several questions that pertain to your dog’s capabilities. Inquire whether they are allowed to engage in such an adventure.
Some dogs are not allowed to travel, especially those who are still young. “Short-head” breeds of dogs like boxers, pugs, chihuahuas, and many others cannot cool themselves down alone. So if you bring them to hike, they may not be able to survive the activity and the temperature.
If your vet says no, then don’t sacrifice your dog for this. Leave them at home or just cancel your plans.
- Avoid hot temperatures or weather
Although some specific dogs are not capable of cooling themselves down, all of them are not susceptible to heat. If possible, choose shady places and cool temperatures. Your dogs react differently from you in this situation, so be very sensitive regarding this.
- Bring water
Bring lots of water for them to drink. Water that is present in hiking places may contain bacteria and parasites that can harm your pet.
Note that this will be a draining type of activity. It only means that they will be asking for a lot of water, from time to time. When you go to your vet, ask for some advice on how much water your dog will be needing when hiking. It can be associated with their weight.
- Prevent your dog from drinking stagnant water along the terrains
Since we’re talking about bringing your own water, you also need to prevent your dog from drinking stagnant water. Aside from the fact that it might be contaminated, it can be dangerous to your dog. Don’t be complacent and take care of anything they intake.
- Prevent ticks
Request some preventatives against ticks and other insects that can bite your dog. Hiking places house numerous animals and insects. One of these may be probably ticks.
There are some substances that you can apply to your dog’s fur before you go hiking. However, we recommend you ask for a prescription from a vet. This is to ensure that these preventatives won’t harm your dog and will function.
Training a dog will consume time and necessitate patience. Don’t just think that the training can only be used for hiking purposes. If you can control and manage your dog with the tips we discussed, you will be very satisfied with the outcome.
Imagine a stranger telling you that your dog is very friendly, that is a nice thing to hear. But, the prime aim here is to discipline them. In the future, that can help you when an emergency occurs.