Adventure! We all want it. Our beloved canine companions thrive on it.
So, how do you get started in transforming your dog buddy from an unmanageable wild coyote to that amazing hiking, biking, mushing, padding, and camping partner?
Simple. Basic training, equipment, and the desire to find adventure is all it takes.
I train dogs professionally here around Nashville, Tennessee. In fact, I have trained, lived, and offered workshops all around the US and Canada. Whether I am teaching a client in Franklin, TN how to crate train a puppy, or teaching advanced competition skills in another state, a common theme abounds: Owners want their dogs to enjoy an activity with their human counterpart AND be enjoyable to handle.
Skills-It starts with obedience skills to enjoy the process, along with proper equipment. A simple “leave it” to get your dog to ignore distractions, “sit, stay” for one minute, and leash manners will allow you to navigate getting your dog in and out of the vehicle seamlessly, walk through busy trail heads and camp grounds ignoring distractions, and not wear your arm out in the process. I mean, let’s face it…if it’s like a wrestling match resulting in a face plant every time your dog is wrangled like a wildcat in and out of the vehicle, the whole process kinda lacks the intrigue.
Equipment-Having the right equipment readily available is the key to enjoyment! A proper training collar or even a head halter to reinforce non pulling behavior will bring you to a new level of freedom. It’s simply not practical, and typically ineffective, to be treat rewarding every ten feet when you simply want to burn off energy and enjoy nature. Use a pinch collar if you need to do so. Enjoy yourself. Live a little. You won’t hurt your dog’s feelings, I promise you. Your dog will love you for the adventure. If your arm hurts you will quit, so be less worried about appearances and more concerned with living a good life of adventure with your dog.
Get a fanny or backpack pack. Keys, cell phone, poop bags, collapsible water dish, a protein bar and water bottles can all be carried. In fact, for an added workout, I often have my dogs carry their own collapsible rubber mini dish and water bottles. You can get a variety of dog backpacks, and I will be doing a video blog soon on product reviews, so be sure to check back and subscribe to my YouTube page.
Wondering what to do? The number one activity your dog will love you for is a nice, long, exhausting hike! Nature. Dogs need nature! Don’t be so concerned with a perfect heel. Let your dog be a dog (as long as they ar e well behaved and ignore others). Sniffing, running, etc. are all healthy. One of the fundamentally lacking activities contributing to the behavioral issues I see on a daily basis is frustration stemming from lack of proper mental stimulation and physical exercise. Tire that pooch out. He or she will be so much happier/relaxed for it, and look forward to new adventures. If you need help getting to this stage based on lack of control skills, no problem. Set up some in person or video lessons and we’ll get your pooch under control. It will be a game changer.
Here are some ideas for you:
-Trail running or Canicross (dog running out in front of you with a specially designed belt affixed to your waist attached to a bungee line). *moderate to training
-Urban or trail mushing (your dog pulling you behind a kickbike scooter or bike called bikejor). *Moderate training needed.
-Paddling or kayaking
-Camping. Dogs loooooove to be with their peeps and camp during the night, hanging out around a crackling fire enjoying s’mores. If it’s cold, consider purchasing a dog jacket.
So get out, enjoy your dog, and hit the trails! Check back for videos of hiking, scooterjoring, and camping adventures with my dogs.