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Hiking With Your Dog

By Kathy Santo | Updated: April 26 2019

If you’re lucky enough to have a place where you can hike with your dogs, or if you’re just going on a long walk, remembering all the “must haves” can be tough! There’s a lot to remember, so we’ve created a list of everything you need to know before, during, and after an outdoor adventure with your dog.

Happy Trails!

Before You Hike:

  • Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are current and that he’s up to date with his heartworm and whichever flea/tick prevention you use.
  • Double check your dog’s identification tags! We advise having more than one way for your dog to be identified. That could be ID tags, a personalized ID collar and/or leash, a microchip, or ID information on his harness.
  • Make sure to have a Dog First Aid Kit packed and ready to go!

What To Pack:

  • Make sure to bring enough water for your dog and a portable water bowl. DO NOT allow your dog to drink water from a lake or stream.
  • Bring a mini air horn (available on Amazon) in case you run into either an unfriendly off- leash dog, or an animal you need to deter from coming any closer.
  • Your leash should be 6-10ft (no retractable leashes!!!). Use a carabiner to clip the leash to your belt loop or backpack if you want to be hands-free.
  • Poop bags to clean up after your dog.
  • Tick Key to check your dog for ticks when you are done with the hike.
  • Bear Bells that can be attached to your shoes or your dog’s pack if they wear one while hiking.
  • Bring your dog’s treats or kibble for training on the trails!
  • Have an orange vest for your dog if hiking in an area where hunting is allowed.

On The Trails:

  • Hikers without dogs always have the right of way. Step aside with your dog (practice your Sit/Wait!), and allow them to pass
  • Stay on marked trails! You never know where there might be sharp rocks, broken glass, a steep drop off, or an unexpected and potentially unfriendly wild animal if you go off the trail!
  • Everyone’s idea of “my dog is friendly” is different, and not something to be tested while out in the woods. Keep yourself and your dog safe by switching him to walk on the opposite side, and try to avoid any interactions between strange dogs you don’t know while passing.

Kathy Santo has spent her entire career as a dog trainer and handler, training dogs and winning over 500 obedience, agility and Canine Good Citizenship titles. Working with her own dogs, she has achieved every competitive obedience title the American Kennel Club (AKC) has offered and earned the prestigious AKC “Obedience Trial Champion” title (OTCh) multiple times.

In Ramsey, Kathy teaches classes, private lessons, and oversees the training of her student’s dogs using her extensive knowledge, experience and intuition to handle problems from the benign to the serious. Her engaging personality has won her the respect and friendship of her many students, who now consider themselves part of her extended family.

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