Tips for an epic summer of adventure with your dog
Ready for summer adventures with your dog? This one is for you!
Lynn Gagnon, owner and trainer at Stoked Dogs and outdoor activities enthusiast, is sharing some great tips to make the most out of your summer activities with your dog.
Let’s get reading!
Tips for summer adventures with your dog
Summer adventure time is here in B.C., and if you’ve got a dog, that can mean bringing them along on some big outdoor excursions.
As an AnimalKind accredited dog trainer located in Revelstoke, B.C., one of the adventure capitals of the province, I’ve experienced just about every adventure you can do with your dog. If you’re new to summer hiking, camping or water sports, like paddle boarding, with a dog or looking to set up for more success, here are some of my top tips unforgettable summer of adventure with your dog.
1. Be prepared and safe
No matter the adventure you are going on, a bit of preparation can ensure that your adventure ends in smiles and wags. The most common thing to go wrong on summer adventures is injuries. Being prepared with a pet-specific first aid kit can ensure you have what you need to respond to any emergencies with your dog. Getting certified in pet first aid is also a great idea for those who are often out on the trails adventuring.
Another key thing to consider is making sure your dog can handle the weather. Would a mid-day hike be too hot for them? If so, consider starting earlier and bringing some extra water and a bowl for your dog to stay comfortable. Could there be bears? If so, bring bear spray and keep your dog on a leash since dogs can attract bears.
If water sports are on your summer adventure list, make sure to get a well-fitted life jacket for your dog. Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, accidents can happen anytime, and a life jacket could save their life.
You will also want to pack lots of dog treats in a training pouch or fanny pack. Then you will easily be able to reinforce behaviour you want to see more of. For example, helping to teach your dog to walk behind you when you’re going downhill and walking nicely on a loose leash. Plus, your dog loves trail snacks too!
2. Start slow
You might be fitter than your dog. It’s true!
Sometimes our active lifestyle enables us to get fitter than our dogs, so if your dog has never been on a hike with you or hasn’t been on walks longer than an hour or two and you’ve got an eight-hour hike planned, you may want to re-assess. Building up your dog’s stamina is important. A lot of activities we do, such as hiking, require our dogs to use muscles and tendons in different ways which can lead to injuries if we don’t give them time to prepare.
3. Practice recall and leash skills
If you love to adventure with your dog, it’s worth taking the time to work on the fundamentals.
Loose leash walking and recall can make on-leash and off-leash hiking a breeze, but these skills don’t happen overnight! Work with an AnimalKind accredited dog trainer to achieve these skills. While you’re still working on recall, you can use a long line (a leash that’s over 15 feet) to give them more freedom to explore when hiking.
Don’t forget that no matter how good your dog is at recall, following leash laws is mandatory and ensures that other trail users can also have a good time without worrying about dogs.
Being prepared can help you and your dog have the best summer adventures. B.C. is a great playground, and nothing beats safely enjoying the outdoors with your dogs.