Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Dogs, dogs and even some cats
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Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby spiritedimages » Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:36 pm

OK, so I am new to this forum and very excited to have found it. I was wondering if there is an easy for me to find out what hikes are appropriate for me to bring my 4 year old Yellow Lab on with me.

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby dcbates80911 » Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:00 pm

Hello Mike,

First of all, welcome to a wonderful community. As for your question, you can expect some pretty interesting advise as far as dogs (based on historical forum posts). Negative dog people aside, my first question would be how strong are your Lab's pads???

I have a black lab who climbs with me on many local hikes. However, she has had problems with her pads separating and bleeding (not cuts but more like sever blisters). At first, I thought these were due to the length of our hikes/climb (15-20miles). Her first 14er was Sherman which round trip was about 6 miles and she had allot of trouble on decent. All her pads on all her feet began to bleed. Very difficult time. Since then, she has been wearing shoes on local trips with little problem. Haven't tried the longer, yet.

There have been several hikes where I have encountered people with dogs (Grays, Torreys, Quandary, Sherman, and Pikes). Also, I know other peaks where people have taken their dogs with little problems. Check on the easier and take care of the paw.
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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby centrifuge » Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:43 am

I think it depends a whole lot on your dog and what his/her fitness level is. Just like a person, a couch potato dog is going to have a rough time with any of the 14er's. I have not had any issues with my dogs pads, they do make boots for terrain that is rocky and unpleasant and they are supposed to help. I have not used them yet, but my dog was still a little young for anything that was not on a defined trail all the way to the top.

I think the things you will hear over and over are:

1. keep it to class 1 and 2. Lots of people have lost their dogs on class three+ climbs. There are some people with dogs that they say can do it, but personally I would not take my golden on anything harder than class two.

2. You will hear a lot about keeping your dog leashed. There are a lot of very valid reasons for this, but I think what it comes down to in the end is; can you control your dog? My dog is a 75lbs golden retriever, she would never bite anyone and listens, but I cannot be sure she will not jump on someone so I will put her on a leash when there are people around, or when there are other animals around. Really it again depends on your dog. I think that if your dog responds to voice commands, you are attentive, and you are not in a place that requires a leash it should be dictated by your dogs ability to permit others to maintain their little bubble o' personal space.
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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby peaceandbeats » Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:31 am

Hey Mike-
A dog is a great companion to have on climbs. I have a 2 1/2 year old German shepherd named Sam and he absolutely kicks my butt up these mountains. So far he's climbed three 14ers: Lincoln, Bierstadt and last weekend we climbed Sherman. He keeps me moving at a good pace.
I agree with the other replies. It depends on your dog’s condition, thus age and physical strength. When we were climbing Sherman last week we passed a couple who had brought their two dogs. One of the dogs was a golden and he was 9. I could tell the little guy was having a difficult time climbing the steeper incline when we passed them on the trail. They never made it to the top and when we caught up with them, at this huge snow field, on the descent, the golden was too scared to follow his companions down snowy slope. I tried to help him down with a little forceful coercion, but he had decided to take the long route on the ridge.
I have a collapsible dish from outward hound for water and I also bring some treats (dogs burn a ton of carbs too and need to be energized). Watch out for his/her paws maybe bring a first aide kit made for dogs. Other than that, have fun and enjoy your time with dog.

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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby Phill the Thrill » Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:10 am

I think it's great for you to take your dog hiking with you. We take our dog on some hikes and even overnight backpacking trips, but I leave him home when we're climbing 14ers. Why? Well, because the trails are generally quite crowded and there are lots of hikers with their dogs, many which are not leashed and that can create some problems and even be dangerous. I would say please take along a leash and use it when appropriate. Keep in mind that in certain areas leashes are required (many Colorado wilderness areas including Collegiate Peaks, for example), so please check on the regulations ahead of time or at the trailhead.

Also, please respect the delicate alpine tundra. If you're above treeline, please keep your dog with you on the designated trails and pack out any waste. Finally, please bring plenty of water for your dog and watch for any health issues, and turn back if your dog is struggling, as you would with a child. I've seen dogs with bloody paws on more than one 14er summit and sometimes the owner is unaware of it.
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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby bigplay » Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:15 pm

I agree with everything that has been said already. i have a 5 yr old border collie - golden mix and we climbed Mt Elbert (9mi) on Sunday. He did very well for his first 14er- I was actually impressed with his fitness since he only gets about a 15min walk a day around the block. About 300 ft from the car he did start to limp however, and his pads are pretty raw. For the next time i will get him some booties, i would recommend it if your dog has never been much of a hiker.
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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby gatorchick » Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:39 pm

Our 3.5 year old lab mix has done all six of the 14ers that we have done (Elbert, Yale, Missouri, Quandary, Bierstadt, and Sherman) without much trouble. We run with her regularly and do a lot of short hikes close to home so her pads are toughened and we have never had any problems with them. We do bring booties with us to use on sharper rocks and they have worked great. It took some trial and error to figure things out. She is a MUCH happier pup by the end of the hike if we make sure to give her food and water regularly - just like people, dogs need water and fuel too. Because she is a skinny girl without any undercoat she gets cold pretty easily so we always have her fleece with us. She looks ridiculous but its much better than having her shiver when the temperatures drop.

I think it is important to be flexible and always have a back up plan when hiking with your dog. For us this has meant that we have turned around when she didn't look happy (attempting Grizzly Peak from Loveland Pass a few months ago the wind was making her MISERABLE). We hike with her off-leash as much as possible BUT we always have a leash with us in case we need it. While she is usually perfectly behaved on the trail, last weekend on Sherman she was really really squirrely for some reason so we ended up eventually leashing her to keep her from bothering other people. Basically you have to be flexible and able and willing to adapt for the safety and enjoyment of people, wildlife, and other dogs on the trail. :)

As a side note, I don't think I have seen this mentioned anywhere but if you do Sherman from the Fourmile Creek trailhead, bewware that there is a LOT of old metal on the ground. I was really worried about her paws and VERY happy to have the booties!!

And I have to add a gratuitous dog shot from last weekend on Sherman's summit ... :)


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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby spiritedimages » Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:38 pm

Wow, what a great response! Thank you all for taking the time to share your detailed accounts and thoughts with me, I really appreciate it. I took my dog up to James Peak 13200' and she ran circles around me. There was a lot of snow, even after we scaled St. Mary's Glacier, and she just kept running up and down and sliding and having a great time. I have some photos posted at http://www.pbase.com/spiritedimages/james_peak_hike She didn't even have a problem with the little bit of scrambling that needed to be done on the route I took, but I was pretty worried since she tore up all the pads on her front paws about 3 weeks ago on a hike. I was hoping that it was just because it was our first real hike of the season, and that her pads are stronger now, and that proved true, because after the 9 miles we did yesterday, I think she's good to go. That being said, the booties are a great idea and I think I will get some for her. Thanks again.
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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby mountainmicah83 » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:01 pm

ezsuperkev wrote:1) Where do you all get your dog boots and dog jackets ?

2) Is there much danger of the dogs paws taking damage in the winter ? Are the boots a good idea in the winter as well because of cold/snow, etc ??


You can get dog gear and jackets from REI or Backcountry. Just be sure to link to their sites from 14ers.com so they get the kickback. For the booties, don't buy anything other or cheaper than the ruff-wear grip-trex which seem to run a bit large by the way. Every thing esle will slip off or cause your dog to slip and also just won't last.

Your winter damage comes from the wet cakey snow. My dog will get large snow/ice balls caked inbetween his pads so bad he can't walk sometimes. If your pup doesn't have much fur between the toes, then you wouldn't have the caking problem but then then may suffer from the cold a bit. Either way, I recommend the booties. They are worth the $60 or so. I do recommend taking them off on icy or hard pack type snow so your dog can grip with it's claws still though.

Good luck.
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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby OUPenny » Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:07 pm

Great pic Gatorchick!! Pics like these make me wish mine was still around. I guess its about time I start looking for another.
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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby idrunk » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:48 am

Just like their owners, the more you get them out, the more endurance your dog is going to have. Early season pad conditioning will make your dog much happier on longer trips.

Be courteous to those who don't love dogs.

Teach your dog some manners and etiquette when meeting new people.

Give other dog owners a good name by controlling your dog in the presence of others. I've taught my dog the command 'place' which works wonders. Basically, I designate a rock or stump as her 'place' and she's learned to remain on her 'place' until further instructed. This useful command can be used in many situations and is perfect for situations where another party is approaching. I then ask the other party if they are okay with my dog being off a leash. If they aren't, I'll leash her. I'll have her stay on her place until they've passed and then we continue on our way. It's pretty simple. I appreciate the same courtesy when encountering other dog owners but rarely see it.

Enjoy the time out there with your four legged buddy.
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Re: Which hikes are appropriate for dogs?

Postby roguejackalope » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:58 am

Joe Ward wrote:Also, dogs aren't very good rock climbers.

What?! Don't stereotype!
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