Overnighters and climbing with dogs

Dogs, dogs and even some cats
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Dave B
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Overnighters and climbing with dogs

Postby Dave B » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:53 am

Since having lost our sweet black lab two years ago, we've begun to start thinking about a new dog. We want to be able to bring our new pup along on as many trips as possible but I was kind of curious how some of the dog owners on this forum deal with having a dog on overnight and late/early season camping trips.

Do you let your dog sleep in the tent with you? Have you had any major issues when it comes to spending the night outside with your dog? I'm sure a blanket and foam pad is necessary for colder weather camping, do you make any other accommodations for your pup? What about the dog booties? I took our last dog up Mary's peak in the Oregon Coast range on snow and her feet were bleeding slightly from the abrasive snow by the time we got to the top, I don't want that to happen again.

I think for the majority of our day trips on more difficult terrain the dog will stay at home, but what do you see as the cut off for what a dog can do with you? When we did the sawtooth last year we were right behind a solo guy who had his dog with him, it seemed like too much for a dog to me, but the dog seemed to do fine.

And we are perfectly aware of the ethics of hiking with dogs and all that comes with it including leashes, personal space and cleaning up crap, so please, no lectures.

Thanks in advance and cheers!
The mountains - whose summits reach or exceed arbitrary thresholds for elevation and prominence - are calling and I must go.

-John Muir
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Re: Overnighters and climbing with dogs

Postby Jay521 » Fri Mar 18, 2011 10:41 am

I hiked and climbed with my two Norwegian Elkhounds for years. I always let them sleep in the tent with me but most of my camping is done in the winter and I honestly appreciated the extra warmth. Dog booties are invaluable - in the winter they help keep the ice from building up between the pads and in the summer, they can be used as a cover for an emergency bandage should they tear a pad on a rock (spoken from personal experience). Personally, I think the Sawtooth (or any class 3 climb for that matter) is too much for a dog, but mine went with me on every class 1 and 2 mountain I did while they were alive. Good luck to you and your new best friend!
I take the mountain climber's approach to housekeeping - don't look down
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Re: Overnighters and climbing with dogs

Postby Snowgirl » Fri Mar 18, 2011 11:19 am

Most of my outdoor adventures usually include my dog (Taiga, Bernese Mountain Dog). I have several TRs of her 14er hikes with me, as well as having done a 5 week adventure in the Uncompahgre Plateau/far Western CO this summer. (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=24397)

Unless she is covered in mud/really wet/really smelly, Taiga usually sleeps in the tent with me. I had to train her to respect the mesh on the door (aka no tapping with the paw or running right through it), but no hiccups there really. The only concern I usually have is for her nails to not puncture through the bottom of my tent, I try to bring a light tarp (summer backpacking) or a thin blanket (spring/winter/summer) so that her nails aren't directly on the bottom. Of course, keeping nails trim helps too (and lots of hiking usually does that for you).

If she is not in the tent, she's usually in the vestibule. I've only picketed her out once, she was not so keen to be that far away from me. If you are going to picket them outside, make sure you are confident in the stake and the leash!

In terms of hiking considerations, this is a pretty comprehensive thread: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=21854&start=12

What breed to get for hiking? viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1876

Health-wise, your biggest considerations are exhaustion (especially heat exhaustion/stroke in the summer!), scraped paws & musculoskeletal injuries, animal encounters (porcupines, skunks!), and getting separated from their owners (several examples this past summer). Giardia is a concern as well. And of course, not pushing a puppy too far before their joints are fully developed.

Also, if your pet was injured... how would you get it out?: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=20877&start=36

Taiga has hiked 14ers, accompanied me on field jobs in the CO scrub brush, rafted a part of the Dolores, canoed the headwaters of the Connecticut, and been on many day hikes, camping trips, and backcountry ski adventures. I think it all comes down to planning for a four-legged partner, understanding your dog's abilities and limitations, and always being able to decide when to turn back, if necessary.
Such things for example as the grasp of a child's hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover...sunlight on rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind--- what else is there? What else do we need?
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Re: Overnighters and climbing with dogs

Postby rocky » Fri Mar 18, 2011 12:41 pm

When camping with our dog we have found that using a "floorless" tent with a ground cloth is much easier. No worries about nails poking the tent floor and it is super easy to shake out and clean the ground cloth. Also there's no grit that stays inside the tent (which can cause wear on the nylon even when folded up).
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