Hiking with your dog is a uniquely enriching experience. The bond between a beloved pet and its master is a very special thing, and going on outdoor adventures together is a great way to take it to another level. And your dog will love it!
Dogs are made for adventure. We’ve heard stories of valiant rescue dogs and steadfast sled dogs and so on. Your furry friend may not be quite as accomplished—but a little endurance training can help with that!
Besides physical training, your dog can benefit from having the right gear when hiking. Canine tactical gear? Yes, that’s a great idea! We’ll show you how!
Pet-Friendly Hiking and Dog-Friendly Trails
You may have noticed a rise in pet-friendly outdoor activities. People are doing more than taking dogs on walks. Some folks go swimming with their pooch, or even boating, canoeing and paddle boarding! Camping and hiking have increasingly become pursuits open to dogs as well.
Outdoor trekking can prove an intense challenge. Keeping up morale as you hike is extremely beneficial. A canine companion can be great for your mood and morale on a hike! For many people, a dog provides excellent mental health support. So why not go hiking together?
Look for dog-friendly trails in the area where you want to hike. Not all places are open to letting dogs partake in outdoor adventures. Confirm that dogs are allowed on the land where you intend to go hiking—in some areas, dog safety could be a concern. Note that a good number of National Parks will not allow even a leashed dog to be brought on the trail.
Speaking of National Parks, those that do allow dogs may have certain rules governing pets and their handling. You should pay particular attention to the National Parks B.A.R.K. rule, which says as follows:
- Bag your pet’s waste
- Always leash your pet
- Respect wildlife
- Know where you can go
Preparing Your Dog for Outdoor Adventures
Before you start going on hikes with your dog, make sure your pet is well prepared for the challenge. Your dog needs to be obedient and behaved, as well as physically ready in terms of endurance and general healthiness.
Dog behaviors need to be adaptable to trail regulations as well as safety and etiquette concerns. Be sure that your dog responds correctly to basic commands such as “heel,” “come,” “leave it,” “sit” and “stay.” This is essential for outdoor pet safety. A dog that can’t follow commands may end up running into poison ivy or doing something just as troublesome. With a well trained dog, you can avoid such misadventures!
Do your best to train your dog not to bark too much. Barking can frighten other hikers and also disturbs the peace of the outdoors. Acclimating your dog by taking it along on outdoor walks in the woods may help.
As for fitness, you may want to start with one-hour hikes. See how your dog handles that and take note of its energy level at the end of the hike. If your dog does well, you can extend the duration of the next hike. In time, the dog will grow capable of handling extended hikes and long camping trips.
Canine Tactical Gear: What to Know
Preparation for a hike includes getting the right tactical gear for yourself and your dog. You can both wear tactical backpacks! Or at least a doggy pack for the furry one.
Why even use tactical gear? It’s durable and dependable and—hey! Here’s a quick primer on how tactical gear improves your camping experience.
Tactical gear can enhance outdoor pet safety and add utility. For canine tactical gear, here are some options to consider:
Tactical Dog Harness
This is a military-style vest for a dog, similar to other dog vests, but offering greater durability and functionality. Pouches can be attached to the harness. It also helps you achieve better control for better dog safety.
Tactical Dog Leash
This is a dog leash, of course. The tactical version is often made out of ballistic nylon or a similar military-grade material. The sturdiness of the leash allows it to endure the rugged conditions of most environments.
Tactical Dog Collar
Some pet owners may prefer this to using a harness. A collar does provide great pet control options for owners. A tactical dog collar is very tough, generally made of high-grade, water resistant material.
Canine First Aid Kit
You can equip your dog with a K-9 IFAK Pouch. This would contain supplies for an individual first aid kit. What’s in a K-9 IFAK Pouch? Here’s a guide on the essential medical supplies to include in one.
Reflective Dog Patches
For better dog safety, these reflective patches can ensure your pet’s visibility. You will be able to keep track of the dog even in dim or dark environments. Reflective dog patches also look very cool!
Essential Tactical Gear for You
You’ll certainly benefit from tactical gear yourself! Tactical backpacks and other equipment offer exactly the functionality you’ll want to rely on during a wilderness trek.
You can’t go hiking without a backpack to carry your essentials. Tactical backpacks are made of tough, thick, military-grade nylon that offers superb protection. The 14er Tactical Backpack also has a MOLLE system to allow for better customization of the pouches and compartments.
Multi-tool or Utility Knife
You’ll find that a knife or tool will come in handy at times in the wilderness. Cutting and shaping walking sticks, cutting firewood, setting up camp and clearing a trail are some possible uses.
Many commercial flashlight products are unreliable. A tactical flashlight is powerful, easy to grip and highly durable. These are usually rechargeable as well. Having a tactical flashlight as well as reflective patches on your dog is a good way to improve outdoor pet safety.
Ready for Pet-Friendly Hiking?
Your dog’s got obedience training down pat? Check. You geared up your pal with canine tactical gear? Check. You’ve geared up yourself? Check. You’ve researched the trail conditions out of concern for outdoor pet safety? Check. You’ve found some dog-friendly trails to explore? Check. You are well prepared for your hike together!
If you’ve got more concerns about outdoor trekking, be sure to check out the 14er Tactical Resources Blog. We’ve got many helpful guides for wilderness explorers!