The day is particularly hot, the hike is particularly exhausting. On the way home, the big dog notices a pond and rushes into it with delight. No way out. Hiking with your four-legged friend is a great pleasure for many outdoor enthusiasts. It is however necessary to prepare the excursion well so that it remains a pleasure for Pitou, for his master, for the other hikers and for the local fauna.
Posted on August 18
The first question that arises is at what age is a dog ready to begin its hiking career.
“There are several theories on this, but personally, I would avoid hiking with a puppy,” says Angelica Kozak, dog trainer and founder of Kinovie, which offers canine cardio and cani-walk fitness classes. “Their joints are not yet fully developed. »
Depending on the breed, a 6 month old puppy could start on very short, easy hikes. The length of the hikes could increase from 1 year. However, it is a veterinarian who could advise the master more specifically on this subject.
It is not very complicated to train your dog for hiking.
It’s like for humans, it’s about starting slowly, doing progressive training.
Angelica Kozak, dog trainer
“After a short hike, you have to ‘read’ the dog, see how it was, before trying anything else,” says Mme Kozak.
The choice of a suitable path is particularly important. You must first find out if dogs are welcome. “In the same park, there may be trails where dogs are accepted and others where they are not,” recalls Ms.me Kozak.
In SEPAQ parks, for example, only 20% of trails and campsites are accessible to dogs.
You also have to take into consideration the difficulty of the trails. The degree of difficulty can be related to the total distance or the presence of steep or uneven sections. Pitou may not want to go rock climbing. It can also be uncomfortable in a steep passage.
Not to mention the crowds: going for a hike on a popular trail on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in fall might not be ideal for a shy dog.
The temperature is also important. When it’s too hot, you can choose a shorter hike, a trail that follows a stream, or even decide not to hike at all. In July 2018, an 80-kilogram Saint Bernard died on Giant Mountain in the Adirondacks due to extreme heat. The gentle giant didn’t have a chance to reach the pond that could have saved him.
Angelica Kozak recalls the importance of bringing water as well as snacks for the dog and its human. “I also bring a first aid kit. It sells kits specifically for dogs. »
Of course, poop bags are a must.
On leash and in control
In most parks, and even in some sections of the Adirondacks, dogs must be leashed at all times.
“I like to use canicross gear for hiking,” says Ms.me Kozak. The dog can be tied forward, and you keep your hands free. There are several types of dog hiking harnesses. It’s a good idea to take one that has a handle, which allows you to give Pitou a little help during a difficult passage.
Besides, whether you use a leash or not, you have to keep control of your animal. “If you have no control over your dog, there may be something else to work on before going on a hike,” Ms.me Kozak. There is really a question of education that must be done. It takes a basic obedience class. »
A little courtesy can’t hurt either.
“When I come across people who seem afraid of dogs, I don’t do it on purpose, I settle down. »
Where to hike with Pitou in the SEPAQ parks?
Recommended Trails and Trails to Avoid in the Adirondacks
A little pepper
This hiker in Saskatchewan manages to scare away a bear with a spray of pepper spray. We still feel a little nervousness in his voice.
digit of the week
4: This is the number of meteors per hour that it will be possible to see during the crossing of the Perseids, from August 11 to 13. This is very little, because the light of the full moon will mask most meteors.