Hiking with a dog

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Hiking with a dog

Postby karen72kc » Mon May 14, 2007 7:49 pm

I will be heading to Denver in a few weeks and I'm looking to climb a 14er or two or three. However, my dog will be with me. Can anyone recommend a route a dog could manage? I would like a bit of a challange but it can't be too technical. Thanks for your thoughts.
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Postby gdthomas » Mon May 14, 2007 7:59 pm

Anything that's class 1 or 2 is usually ok unless you want to carry your dog in one hand and grab rock with the other. Most of the 14ers have class 1 or 2 routes so pick one. Class 2 may even be a problem if you have a small dog. The dog must be on a leash although many hikers ignore this rule.
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Postby mrwilson » Mon May 14, 2007 8:25 pm

I've done Redcloud with my german shephard. There are some sections that are a bit hard on the paws, but no serious problems.

Pick up a copy of Canine Colorado by Cindy Hirschfeld. There's an appendix with 14er ratings for dogs.
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Postby CG_old » Mon May 14, 2007 8:39 pm

May be worth picking up some of those little dog boot things... my Golden Retriever sometimes abrades/cuts her paws on talus and snow if don't use those with her.
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Postby Floyd » Mon May 14, 2007 9:46 pm

Floyd, my yellow lab, got 9 summits in last year: You'll be fine on anything Class 2 and easier. He's done most of the Sawatch with me and would be fine on any of the other Class 2's that I've done. I keep him on a leash below treeline and before sunrise to not scare up any wildlife. Once we get above treeline he just wants the summit. The smaller dogs actually fair a little better on the more technical stuff. When I climbed Wetterhorn, a couple tethered their lab before the Class 3 stuff but a Jack Russell Terrier was running all over the place and easily made the summit.

I think sharing the summit with your dog is something special. If you have a working breed, they'll thank you for it. A tip for the booties, definitely get them but I just carry mine until they are needed. Around $40 for a set and they wear through pretty quick.

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Postby Miles » Mon May 14, 2007 10:03 pm

Miles, my Golden Retriever has most of the Front Range under his collar minus Longs and a turn around on Evans. He is a rescued SAR from Ohio with his dewclaws removed so I don't even bother with the boots. He does great with carrying his own food and water and even a fleece blanket if we are going to make camp near the trailhead.
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Postby jjstromwall » Mon May 14, 2007 11:10 pm

I bought those boots for my dog. I got those Ruff Wear ones. They were more expensive than MY hiking boots!!!! I like the tips they give you, like if you're going to try them out on your dog, make sure after you put them on you do something really fun so when they get them on again they know they're going to have fun! And I read in an exercise for your dog book that you need to calculate out that your dog will do twice the hike that you will. So if the hike is 4 miles, the dog should be physically fit for 8. That would be if the dog wasn't on a leash of course.

My poor dog had gotten hit by a car shortly before we bought her the boots, and she wouldn't put that injured leg down when she was hiking with us! I think it must feel like her ace-bandages again!!!

I can't wait for my dog to summit her first peak! Take care! JULIE
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Postby ChloeBlue » Tue May 15, 2007 4:54 am

Does anyone else's dog act like their being tortured with the booties?

I tried to put them on my boxer, Chloe, and she froze in place for nearly a half hour. And when she finally did move, she would pick up each leg as high as she could, like she was walking through a large mud hole. It took her forever to walk across the yard. Although kinda funny, not very useful for a hike...

The pet stores sell a paste that you can put on a dogs paws to toughen the pads. You have to use it a few weeks before the hike, but I found it works (for us, at least) better than the booties.
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Postby cara » Tue May 15, 2007 5:11 am

With the exception of Longs, the Needle, Crestone and Kit Carson, I've taken my Chessie up all of the 14ers on my list--even Holy Cross. She loves it! Just obey the rules and make sure your dog is under GREAT voice/sight control. There's nothing worse than a crazy dog on a 14er.
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Postby jandjrhodes » Tue May 15, 2007 6:33 am

my dog, a belgian malinois, has made it up all my 14ers except my recent ski descent of the cristo couloir on quandary. I would agree with all that has been said, anything class 1 or 2 would be good for a dog. i have seen a dog on longs, with the owners belaying them down a steep section...i wouldn't do that to my dog! as for the booties, both my dogs have them, my golden has not done a 14er yet as he was a puppy last year, but will be doing elbert with me in a month. they both do fine with the booties in the summer, and to get them used to them i just put them on and then threw the ball with them for a while and they act they don't have them on at all after just a couple of minutes. I usually only use them on really bad scree or hard icey snow, and mainly on the way down as that is the hardest on their paws. The biggest issue is keeping them on in the deep snow as my malinois always seems to loose them when we go back country skiing.
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Postby tragal » Tue May 15, 2007 6:54 am

My miniature wiener has summitted 10 14ers, completely unassisted. Coming down Bross was by the far the most difficult for him as the scree really tore up his underside. No much clearance on those 3 inch legs.

I have the ruff wear boots for him too, mostly only use them for entertainment purposes as it is quite funny to watch him walk with them on, therefore not really a waste of money. :D
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Postby randyk » Tue May 15, 2007 7:34 am

My dogs always come with me when I hike. Aside from getting a bit nervous when dodging through large rock piles, they are great. They did Harvard 2 years ago and loved it. Maybe being Swiss Mountain Dogs has something to do with why they are happier hiking than running in the parks of Denver. I tried the booties once but neither dog would have anything to do with them. If you go without booties expect to see some blood on their paws.

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