Have you ever wondered why dogs are banned from most national park trails? (After all, they really, really want to come along.) There are plenty of reasons: If not properly controlled, dogs can trample fragile vegetation, frighten other hikers, chase wildlife and get into all kinds of other trouble. They can also become a meal for larger wildlife, such as bears and coyotes.
The Green Mountain Club is on a mission to help you and your dog avoid all that. The GMC, found, built and maintains Vermont’s Long Trail and emphasizes land conservation, stewardship and education programs. The organization told GrindTV that questions about hiking with dogs are some of the most common.
In response to inquiries, the GMC created a four-part video series that covers the essentials: basic tips, training, health and long-distance hikes for your pup.
The videos are hosted by Richard Windish, a member of the organization’s board of directors, who hikes regularly with his dog Jack. You’ll also meet several experts who provide solid advice for adventuring with your canine.
If you only watch one part of this series, make it this one. It's a great introduction that covers basic etiquette, when to leash or let your dog wander, the best kind and length of leash, places your dog should not go, and what to do if you get separated from your dog.
Before you take your dog out on the trails, make sure he’s ready. Kasandra Fleury will show you training techniques that will help keep your dog under control and safe while hiking. She talks about rewards for good behavior, different tones of voice for commands, how to vary treats to keep your dog interested, and how to make sure your dog stays most attentive on the day of the hike.
This video addresses safety and health. Veterinarian Paul Alfarone reveals the common signs of injury or illness your dog may show on a hike and shows how to remove ticks and watch for Lyme disease. You’ll also learn about doggy first aid kits, how to hike in cold weather, and various canine cover-ups (such as fleece coats and booties) that can help your dog stay warm.
Dogs can be great companions on long hikes; however, overnight trips require extra planning. If you can buy your dog a well-fitted backpack, as described in this video, you can lighten your own load. You’ll also learn what your dog should carry and how to pack it, as well as etiquette at shelters and what to feed your dog along the way.