dog gear question

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing.
User avatar
Posts: 1554
Joined: 6/13/2007
14er Checklist (15)

Re: Dogs and Avalanches

Postby coloradokevin » Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:59 pm

Jared Workman wrote:I agree about traveling solo in winter avy terrain. My point was more along the vein of - if you are going to be doing something like skiing avy terrain, where an avalanche is quite probable (as compared to the rather meager number of occurences triggered by snow shoers) then bringing a dog is highly irresponsible, especially if you already know that it's life is quite secondary to everyone around you.

Why take the animal into hazardous terrain when you aren't willing to give it the same chance of rescue as everyone around you. It seems to me that it makes the dog a disposable commodity and that was what I was referring to as irresponsible. If you are soloing you generally don't have to worry about other people so you can, to some degree, look after your pet's safety to a higher level.

Personally I think it's nuts to take a dog back country skiing in steep avy prone terrain no matter what the circumstances. It makes it more dangerous for the dog and the people around the dog.

As far as non-avy prone ski trip I think bringing a dog along on winter trips is fine. I'd personally still put a beacon on it though. To my thinking if you short the animals chance of survival because people come first you shouldn't bring it out, they are totally dependent on us for their protection and, to me at least.

I'm a bit nutty about my pets, I don't own a dog but if I did I'd put a beacon on it and consider it part of the greater rescue or I wouldn't bring it.

This only applies to avalanche terrain, I'm not looking for a dog flame war.

Thanks for the reply!

Yeah, I agree with most of that too... Which is also the reason why I don't bring the dog for the backcountry ski trips (as you mentioned, those trips almost necessarily involve traveling in the heart of Avy terrain, doing things that are much more likely to release avalanches).

Still, I do find myself grapelling with the issue of beacons on the dogs. My fiance and I are both dog lovers, and it is often just the two of us traveling in the backcountry. We'd both hate to put our pup in harm's way, though we also realize that given a grave choice between pulling each other out of the snow and losing the dog, or having it the other way around, we'd still choose each other! Nevertheless, at the same time, it is still possible to consider the dog a part of the larger rescue scene as you mentioned... And our pets are still a part of our family!

I guess ultimately I don't know what the "right" answer is to this dilema... But there are certainly things to consider on both sides :)

I do like the idea of a dual-frequency beacon that would provide a secondary search level for pets. I mean, if I hypothetically had the choice, I'm going for my spouse first and pet second!
User avatar
Posts: 119
Joined: 8/1/2004
14er Checklist (46)

Postby kgmo » Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:21 pm

Here I go chiming in as the 14er-vet again. I know there are other veterinarians on this site, so feel free to chime in if any of you have other opinions. 14ergirl, regarding Walter, your pyrenees/lab mix (cute dog by the way!!!), I would say that not witnessing the behavior on the climb, it is a little difficult for me to interpret. It can be frustrating when you take a dog on a climb, and you feel great and want to summit, but the dog is not doing so well. As a responsible pet owner, the right thing to do is to turn around, just as you would if your climbing partner said he wasn't feeling well. Please don't get me wrong, I am by no means judging you in this circumstance. The fact is that our dogs are loyal and excited to be out there hiking with us. They aren't going to stop and turn back to the car without us. Plenty of dogs are happy to take a little snooze if you stop for a snack, and it just becomes a judgement call as to how tired is too tired. There are countless reasons for a dog to slow down. Lack of conditioning is probably the biggest reason, but altitude sickness, lameness (this could be due to anything - ie; pad sore, arthritis, etc.), dehydration, and I could go on. On long hikes it is common for them to get sore on more than one leg, making the lameness less obvious, so often people don't see the dog limping. (They don't favor a leg as much if more than one hurts).

There is no reason that a big dog like Walter can't be conditioned to climb mountains, however, large breed dogs can be more predisposed to joint disease that may contribute to his slowing down, just something to keep in mind. A great pyrenees is not a high energy dog, so a few naps on the trail doesn't concern me as much as if you said your Border Collie was sleeping. Lastly, my very well conditioned Trooper dog was happy to sleep for days after a climb, so that in itself wouldn't bother me at all. If you have other questions, feel free to send me a pm.
Failure is never as frightening as regret.
User avatar
Posts: 1060
Joined: 6/22/2006
14er Checklist (8)

14erVet posting

Postby rlw49 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:39 pm

User avatar
Posts: 107
Joined: 8/29/2006
14er Checklist (39)
13er Checklist (5)


Postby 14ergirl » Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:22 pm

Thank you so much kgmo! I pm'd you to give you more details. He is feeling like himself again today after all that sleep.
"Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right" ~GD
"Spay, Neuter, Rescue, LOVE!" "opt to ADOPT!!!"
User avatar
Posts: 65
Joined: 9/1/2007
14er Checklist (9)

Postby jasper9890 » Mon Oct 01, 2007 9:46 pm

i love the pictures of maddiedog and walterdog!

Hey 14ergirl - how about doing some hikes around boulder with us to see if walter just needs more building up to a summit? The mesa trails are my favorite right now, but i'm sure there's a ton we haven't been to yet.
User avatar
Posts: 107
Joined: 8/29/2006
14er Checklist (39)
13er Checklist (5)

Boulder Hikes

Postby 14ergirl » Tue Oct 02, 2007 12:47 am

I would SO love to do that and Walter already misses Maddie. You guys will have to let us know next time you go!
"Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right" ~GD
"Spay, Neuter, Rescue, LOVE!" "opt to ADOPT!!!"
User avatar
Posts: 291
Joined: 9/4/2007
14er Checklist (15)

Re: Boulder Hikes

Postby gatorchick » Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:40 am

14ergirl wrote:I would SO love to do that and Walter already misses Maddie. You guys will have to let us know next time you go!

Hey 14ergirl! Have you done this hike near Boulder --> ???

Its around 7 miles round trip with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain - about the same as an easy 14er. We could try taking the pups out there to see how Walter does? I'm thinking that since its not at altitude (well, not 14k altitude) it might help you figure out whether Walter's problems are distance/elevation gain in general or more altitude related?

I did that hike a few weeks ago with a friend and her enormous lab and would be more than happy to go back. :)

p.s. I sent you a myspace message - I think we found tickets for BOTH nights!!! :D

"In her heart she knows that sometimes a dog can be as good as any man ..." - widespread panic (slightly edited)

Return to “Gear, Climbing Prep, Safety, etc.”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests