Dogs

1:18 a.m. on August 28, 2009 (EDT)
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I have camped for many years in the boring public campgrounds in Central/North Texas and Oklahoma, usually in State parks with lots of RV neighbors, and no public land to get away from that crap. So dogs are chained and pretty much had to be.

Now I live in some pretty good wilderness, and have found a few places to bring my dog Freddie, the Aussie Shepherd. Freddie is very polite to all an usally listens to me, but balks to be on a chain or leash.

We plan to be doing a lot of camping (truck camping sorry), but also will do a bit of day hiking, and am curious to know what some of the rest of you dog owners do with your pups when in the wilderness?

Hell just tell us about your dogs and dog experiences in general?

7:52 a.m. on August 28, 2009 (EDT)
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I love my 1-year old German Shorthair Pointer, Bentley. He loves the outdoors and he could probably go all day in the woods without tiring. I live in west Michigan, which has great little woods hikes all over (think 2-6 miles), but virtually zero opportunity for backcountry exploration. I always take him whenever I go to the city or county parks for a quick 4-5 mile hike, but for any sort of serious camping/backpacking, pup will be staying with the in-laws.

10:39 p.m. on August 28, 2009 (EDT)
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I hike solo with my dog (is that still solo?) . I have a male Akita, very well suited for rough terrain and cold, windy, wet conditions.

We often go on 3 - 5 day trips together, this is my third trail dog and I'm starting to get the hang of it. First one was too wild, second one could not take the cold weather, but the Akita is a great fit for my style and where I go.

This may be the last year I can take my dog due to age (his not mine) so I want to make the most of it. My dog has always been able to out hike me but stays with me regardless, he's so cool.

My current dog was trained just for hiking with me, the other two were not, I keep my dog on leash most of the time. Any time we are on trails or in an area where I think we might encounter others, he is on leash.

It has been a great experience, I have learned a lot just by watching my dog, he is very alert. When he hears something he remains very quiet, not giving his position away. If I think it best to make some noise I will talk to him and he will sit down and listen to me. But he almost never barks, and I like that part.

My Akita carries his own gear and some of mine in his own doggie pack, he gets excited when I get it out at the house. He knows we are going on an adventure, I don't tell anyone, but I think I get just as excited myself!

2:00 p.m. on September 2, 2009 (EDT)
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I solo hike with my dog, who is a belgian turverun shepard/chow mix. She loves exporing the outdoors, flushing birds and in generally following her nose.

If I am hiking in state parks or national forest areas, I always check the rules for that specific areas. Some areas require your dog to be on leash and may even designate how long a leash it must be (8' seems to be the length where I hike). Some will have designated areas where you may not have your dog. I think that most campgrounds for car/truck camping are also going to have rules about having your dog on leash.

My girl used to chew through her leash if I wasn't going the direction she wanted or wasn't going fast enough for her. I did a lot of work on leash training during her first year with me. Bitter Apple spray was also a must have item in that it stopped her from chewing on her leash. Before I started using that she went through 3 leashes and a really nice leather lead. Now she doesn't care if she is on her leash when we hike. She is just excited to be outside with me.

1:07 p.m. on September 4, 2009 (EDT)
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Here's my dog (Border Collie) "Chico".

He loves to camp, but has the annoying habit of constantly bringing me other people's tents.

12:46 a.m. on September 18, 2009 (EDT)
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I like to bring Judge and Jury with me for any outdoor stuff. Jury is a 3yo Lab/Eskimo mix and Judge is an 18 mo Newfie/Shepherd mix (a "puppy" at 140 lbs!). The Eskimo gene in Jury must be recessive, as he is not a big fan of the cold weather. The Newfie gene must be dominant in Judge. I caught him napping in the snow one day. Both hate the heat (like their father). A couple of slugs.

Neither one do very well at night in the woods. It goes from total silence to a chorus of growls or barks for every little noise, which makes me think that Sasquatch is outside my tent. Maybe a little doggie Benadryl is in order.

Regardless, I love taking them!!!

2:42 p.m. on October 1, 2009 (EDT)
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Have hiked with most of my dogs over the years.But now my big guy,Buster, is 13 years old with hip and heart problems so he now stays home except for short walks on easy terrain.Sara is near 12 and Denali is 10 and both of them still go on the easy hikes,mostly day.I will probably have another dog when one of these pass away but till then i will continue to enjoy them as i can.Car camping all of them always go with us.

4:09 p.m. on October 1, 2009 (EDT)
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Dogs are often a liability in the BC bush and we were not allowed to have them as companions in my years of bush work; a bird dog was just killed by a Grizzly sow with cubs near my home town a couple of days ago...but, the older hunter got away from the bear and was not attacked.

My best mountain dog was my purebred black Lab. male, "Spot", who was an excellent fire lookout dog, except he hated Porcupines and would kill them and suffer the consequences. He was smart with bears and would not lead one to me, as so many dogs do.

My large, purbred Rottweiler males are superb guards and can outpack any other breed, sue to their incredible strength and toughness, but, they cannot take the cold like a Malemute and always want to attack and fight ANY bear, even big Grizzlies...and they are utterly fearless, they will die to protect their beloved people. So, I usually don't take them.

My little lady, "Lily", a very smart little Rottweiler, is currently finishing her show championship, but, she loves cold, snow, rain and being outside and I am going to begin to train her to pack and be a bear warning dog. She is VERY smart and has no fear of herding bulls or sheep, but, is not as inclined to "duke it out" with a bear as the big boys were and she will make an outstanding mountain dog.

I like having a nice, warm dog cuddling me at night in cold weather inside my mountain tent and Lily loves to cuddle, but, unlike "Spot", she will not catch her own trout to eat and expects me to provide a certain number of organic weiners per day!

4:11 p.m. on October 1, 2009 (EDT)
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I am new to hiking with a dog too. My dog is a basset mix about 3 yrs. old and he loves the trail. We don't leash him while on open trail but do when trails are populated. He carries a backpack with all his food and I carry his water (when it is scarce). Water isn't a big deal because I always carry atleast a half liter more than I need anyway and the dog always drinks right from the streams and springs. Right now we only do overnights with him, because we are afraid of overdoing it with him until he gets conditioned.

5:20 p.m. on October 1, 2009 (EDT)
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I love hiking with my dog (chocolate Lab). I live in Michigan, and a great place to hike with your dog on Lake Michigan is Grand Mere State Park. Dogs are allowed on the beach here, but not in most other parks.

We backpack together and she knows her place in the tent - on the sleeping bags between me and my tentmate (sons or wife). They make a great tent heater BTW. She loves go camping with the Scout troop. The boys like it too, and they wear eachother out.

You do need to train your dog to obey off-lead commands in order to have the best outdoor experience with them. Having control of your dog at all times is important in being a responsible dog owner. It's more respectable in public and much safer for the dog, too.

When my dog was a very young pup, we took her hiking and played a lot of hide-and-seek to train her to stay close. Whenever she would go out of sight, we'd stop and hide, then give a treat, play and praise when she found us. Now she's 6 and is always looking over her shoulder to be sure we're back there. Never runs away off-lead. A great hiking buddy.

10:58 p.m. on October 4, 2009 (EDT)
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Very good points about training. I rescued my dog from a no-kill shelter in PA called Four Footed Friends. He is excellent in responding to calls and has learned an amazing amount in the time we have had him. I use the call "stay close" and he never goes off trail or too far from us.

6:26 p.m. on October 6, 2009 (EDT)
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Loved the picture of your dog Ed G. I too have a Border Collie, and the look in that picture said: Don't fiddle with that camera, but get going and throw the ball/stick so that I may fetch it for you!

We use our BC for pulling a pulk in winter and carrying a backpack in summer. Best companion on a tour there is, never complaines, always eager for some play even after a long days work. Best thing about a BC is they are easy to train so that they do not chase sheeps, reindeers, elks aso.

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