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Astro5

Hiking with a dog?

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My wife and I Geocache mostly on Quadbikes (because I have a bad knee). we take the bikes and the dog by vehicle to a resonably close position, and off we go letting Lucy (4 yrs Yellow Labrador) set the pace, and all of us throughly enjoy the day. We are fairly lucky, living in the Falklands most landowners are OK with the quadbikes and the dog, she just loves meeting people and is really well behaved (which is essential as she is not on a lead). we have some plans to plant some really adventurous caches down here, we are thinking 'terrain 4' or possibly 5.... Look forward to tempting you all down here.....

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Dogs make great Cougar and Bear bait. :D

 

They're domestic pets. Keep them at home.

You've never hiked with one then. They love the trails as much as we do. Being domesticated does not mean they need to be kept at home and on the sidewalks.

Edited by TotemLake

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Dogs make great Cougar and Bear bait. :D

 

They're domestic pets. Keep them at home.

 

I'm a domestic animal and I don't stay at home.

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Dogs make great Cougar and Bear bait. :laughing:

 

They're domestic pets. Keep them at home.

 

We make great cougar and bear bait as well. Most humans are 'domesticated' so does that mean we should 'stay home' as well? Besides, humans domesticated them, it's not their fault. My dog loves to go hiking with me, it's natural for them to love the outdoors, plus he's great at alerting me if something is up ahead on the trail.

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Dogs make great Cougar and Bear bait. :(

 

They're domestic pets. Keep them at home.

 

I thought humans were domestic too. Maybe that jeep should stay at home.

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My dog comes geocaching with us all the time. He`s pretty trained though, and will never run off when we`re out in the back country. I`m in toronto though so I do a lot of urban caches. I`ve gone on a couple caches that involved us crossing rivers, and he really doesn`t like getting wet, we have to get creative on taking him across (http://www.chazownlife.com/ChazownTrekerz/video-spring.html - a video on our team blog where my dog came a long). Ya, there are somethings that are annoying, but usually it`s great. I love my dog, and he is very obedient, curious, and adventurous. If you`re a dog person, I would recommend it. It`s a great way to bond with your dog, and get him out running free.

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I usually take my 3 year old chocolate lab out caching with me - she's great company even when you're walking with other people and a never ending supply of amusement, especially near water !

 

Like all responsible owners, she is fairly well trained and doesn't bother with livestock - we can walk through a field of sheep / cows and she's not in the least bit interested. However, I still use a leash if we're walking during lambing season as I don't want to give anyone the excuse to think badly of her.

 

I'd thoroughly recommend taking your dog - after all, if you are going out walking in a nice area (countryside), why should your dog have to stay at home and miss it.

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has anyone had experience hiking with a boxer?

I had one as a kid, they live forever. mine was 13 years old before he died, saddest day of my life I tell you.

let me know if you've had one that you hiked with, how they did because I'm really considering getting one [when I'm an adult.] and I'm totally going to be one who hikes and is super outdoorsy.

thanks!

oh and also, the humane society has dog training classes. don't know how much they run, but you DO have to 'graduate' or 'test out' to level up, so thats a good way to make sure your dog learns.

I have a 6 year old boxer who comes with me all the time caching and or hiking. She loves it and when I'm at a cache signing the log she sits patiently or snoops around a bit. She never runs off and makes a great hiking/caching partner. I call her the AmmoBoxer when caching and it fits her.

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I just wanted to post a photo of my hiking companion-- my four year old yorkie, Penny.

 

Yes, that's right. A yorkie. She's small, weighing in at a whopping 11 pounds, but she can handle twelve mile hikes and significant elevation gain better than many humans I know. She's been hiking and geocaching with me since she was a pup. The only issues we have ever had were with brambles getting caught in her coat (I keep it groomed short these days to make that less of a problem), and once where after a long day of hiking she cut a pad on a rock. Fortunately, when an 11 pound dog cuts its foot with three miles left in a hike, it isn't a big deal to just carry them the rest of the way. I do take some precautions when hiking with her that folks with larger dogs may not have to worry about as much. When we are in the mountains and hit the elevation where there is likely to be snow, I pack in a warm, waterproof coat for her. I always, always keep her on leash when we are hiking since if she took off after a wild animal, she would probably be on the losing end of any encounter-- and being a terrier, she's prone to taking off after wild animals. Also, I have to carry her food, water and other relevant gear for her since the world doesn't make a dog backpack small enough for her to wear. :)

 

smiling2.jpg

 

She smiles when we hike! (This photo was taken at Snow Lake here in Washington.)

Edited by Scamp

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"since the world doesn't make a dog backpack small enough for her to wear"

 

Have you seen the Approach Pack by Ruff Wear link http://www.ruffwear.com/Approach-Pack?sc=2&category=13 they say they have one that will fit a dog with a girth of 12-19". It might work for your Yorkie. Just remember that the max weight to carry would be 25% of 11lbs or 2.5lbs

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Oh wow, that probably would fit her-- she's about 14" around. I tried on all the smallest packs at Petco and REI, but none of them fit-- I guess they just don't bother stocking the tiny packs. :)

 

I'm super excited to find this-- thank you! It might sound silly, but that 2 lbs of dog gear is pretty significant when a hiker is a small woman trying to keep her day pack at 10% of her body weight. Plus, carrying a pack might tire Penny out a little, which would be advantageous; I've never seen a dog with as much energy as mine.

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Ive been hiking for awhile, and have been thinking about getting a dog to start coming along. Please feel free to share any comments or guidance, or just discuss hiking with dogs. :)

 

Whatever you do: rescue. We have a Beagle/Basset (Sebastian, 7yrs) and a mini Golden Retriever (Holly, 3yrs) and they LOVE going with us. Sebastian (the bagel) doesn't have the fur issues...but we are in SC and he has really bad allergies. So we can't leave without his doggie benadryl. Holly is about as fit and healthy as they come. She's a mix between a golden retriever, corgi, and sheltie so she also has the long hair issue. The thing about the hair is that it's actually a dual coat. It's called a wicking coat and is designed to release things like dirt and grime. That stuff will attach for a little while but will work itself out. The only issue is brushing out ticks and fleas afterwards but I find the AdVantage stuff works wonders with this. We haven't had a problem yet.

 

Honestly, when we pick up the keys they are both ready to go and run to the car as fast as they can. We've always trained from the beginning and both know voice commands. Sebastian is a true hound and very stubborn. He is very "treat-trained." The issue with him is his nose if he catches the scent of something. He wants to hunt it down. Miss Holly has always been more concerned with attention and affection. We've never had to give her treats to follow a command. Neither dog goes too far away and they both come when called. They don't lose sight of us. We have two "no" commands that are sounds. They immediately stop when they hear it. Having a dog is the greatest friend you could have. No matter what, we always have our pals with us and I'd do anything for them.

 

But as I said before: rescue, rescue, rescue! Even if you have a particular breed in mind, there are plenty of shelters out there that can get that specific breed to you. Safe a life. So many need good homes.

 

Training starts early and is all about consistency. Remember, they want someone to show them the way and are pack animals.

 

Good Luck!

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I just wanted to post a photo of my hiking companion-- my four year old yorkie, Penny.

 

Yes, that's right. A yorkie. She's small, weighing in at a whopping 11 pounds, but she can handle twelve mile hikes and significant elevation gain better than many humans I know. She's been hiking and geocaching with me since she was a pup. The only issues we have ever had were with brambles getting caught in her coat (I keep it groomed short these days to make that less of a problem), and once where after a long day of hiking she cut a pad on a rock. Fortunately, when an 11 pound dog cuts its foot with three miles left in a hike, it isn't a big deal to just carry them the rest of the way. I do take some precautions when hiking with her that folks with larger dogs may not have to worry about as much. When we are in the mountains and hit the elevation where there is likely to be snow, I pack in a warm, waterproof coat for her. I always, always keep her on leash when we are hiking since if she took off after a wild animal, she would probably be on the losing end of any encounter-- and being a terrier, she's prone to taking off after wild animals. Also, I have to carry her food, water and other relevant gear for her since the world doesn't make a dog backpack small enough for her to wear. :)

 

She smiles when we hike! (This photo was taken at Snow Lake here in Washington.)

 

Here's a shot of my Penny at a recent hike to Dayton Peak Lookout in Shelton, WA. She's a rescue mutt, part Retriever part Border Collie. On the way back to the car she hit every puddle and creek she could.

 

5dbdbe5f-2ebb-4a70-9ddb-92cff3fa8e7e.jpg

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We started to train our dog early on for endurance and fun, so at 7 months our Chocolate Lab, Dante, went on a 17-mile hike to Wilderness Falls (GC1VC38); at 9 months he hiked 13 miles to Island Getaway 5-Star Resort (GC1X57X). He just goes everywhere with us no matter if it's bear country, bobcat country, or any rugged wilderness. Why, because that's the country in which we live and that's what we love the most. :D

 

I have to comment on this. You should never do such long hikes with such a young dog, especially a lab. Large and giant breeds, including labs, have a tendency for hip displasia that can be caused or exacerbated by over exertion or injury at a young age or repetitive motion (like jogging) on a forming joint. It is advisable to keep your puppy from running long distances and to work up to the required distaces only after reaching adulthood (18 months).

 

Remember; your dog will just keep going because he/she loves being out with you and doesn't want to be left behind. They can't talk to tell you they are experiencing discomfort. Also hip displasia won't show up for several month, even years after the damage has been done.

 

Speak to your vet and rather keep from doing your dog harm. That way you will have many more years of hiking and geocaching together.

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ca7e1e31-6295-4646-8321-7d134405f28c.jpg

 

Our girls after we climbed a cliff. They did very well :)

 

I think cross breeds make the best pets. Even my sister's Border Collie cross Lassie was better than a plain BC or Lassie. These 2 are a black Lab cross and a Staffie cross Jack Russel (we think) and they are the best friends we could possibly want. We love them to bits.

 

But training is everything. A well trained dog is better balanced, well liked by other people and safer because he/she listens to you in a dangerous situation. Dog training classes are actually to train you! Your behavior is what trains your dog. Everything you do teaches the dog to behave in a certain way. Get it right and you will have the best time with your dog who will behave exactly as you want.

 

Abby, he black one, has been on every geocache with me. She works with me when I can take her. We always walk together and she has been my favourite companion for years.

 

So yes, definitely get a dog and go on every hike you can with it. You won't regret it!

Edited by GPSJane

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Hey, as long as you don´t leave their poo behind, i´m ok with that...

 

However, they can carry fleas and ticks that could carry diseases and spread in the area, which could have a impact on the local fauna. So if you´re gonna hike on a pristine environment, keep your pets at home.

Edited by sabato

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I take my dog on all geocaches in the National Forest. The dog must be on a leash in parking lots and trail heads, on the trails the dog must be under your control. States have different rules about dogs chasing wild life. check with your state Wildlife Resources Office.

Have some plastic bags, for unexpected rest stops,

The dog must be friendly around people, other dogs, and sometimes horses, ask for help at your local animal shelter they can help in selecting the breed.

Get your dog a geocaching log of his own. It's fun. My dog "Buddy" has his own log "TimBuckII"

 

Ive been hiking for awhile, and have been thinking about getting a dog to start coming along. Please feel free to share any comments or guidance, or just discuss hiking with dogs. :)

Edited by uttrout

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Hey, as long as you don´t leave their poo behind, i´m ok with that...

 

However, they can carry fleas and ticks that could carry diseases and spread in the area, which could have a impact on the local fauna. So if you´re gonna hike on a pristine environment, keep your pets at home.

You have your source of pests backwards.

 

Ticks and fleas are typically caught in the area the dogs were in which means the local fauna is already affected as hosts.

 

Also, any designated "pristine" areas already have rules about pets and most owners are aware by checking the locality first. The last thing we want to do is leave our buddies in the car while we go hike. Designated Wilderness and National Parks have strict rules about this.

Edited by TotemLake

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Hey, as long as you don´t leave their poo behind, i´m ok with that...

 

However, they can carry fleas and ticks that could carry diseases and spread in the area, which could have a impact on the local fauna. So if you´re gonna hike on a pristine environment, keep your pets at home.

You have your source of pests backwards.

 

Ticks and fleas are typically caught in the area the dogs were in which means the local fauna is already affected as hosts.

 

Also, any designated "pristine" areas already have rules about pets and most owners are aware by checking the locality first. The last thing we want to do is leave our buddies in the car while we go hike. Designated Wilderness and National Parks have strict rules about this.

 

That is not always true. I'm a biologist in Brazil and there's a national park where I work with maned wolves. The dogs living in the park surrondings sometimes have canine cynomosis, which is not always lethal to them but it is extremely lethal to maned wolves.There, the domestic dogs are not allowed but the wolves may roam, reaching nearby farms.

 

So, IMO pets should be kept as far as possible from wild areas, because it is possible that they could affect wildlife in unpredictable ways.

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Hey, as long as you don´t leave their poo behind, i´m ok with that...

 

However, they can carry fleas and ticks that could carry diseases and spread in the area, which could have a impact on the local fauna. So if you´re gonna hike on a pristine environment, keep your pets at home.

You have your source of pests backwards.

 

Ticks and fleas are typically caught in the area the dogs were in which means the local fauna is already affected as hosts.

 

Also, any designated "pristine" areas already have rules about pets and most owners are aware by checking the locality first. The last thing we want to do is leave our buddies in the car while we go hike. Designated Wilderness and National Parks have strict rules about this.

 

That is not always true. I'm a biologist in Brazil and there's a national park where I work with maned wolves. The dogs living in the park surrondings sometimes have canine cynomosis, which is not always lethal to them but it is extremely lethal to maned wolves.There, the domestic dogs are not allowed but the wolves may roam, reaching nearby farms.

 

So, IMO pets should be kept as far as possible from wild areas, because it is possible that they could affect wildlife in unpredictable ways.

 

Then shouldn't we keep people out of the wild areas as well? Couldn't hikers also be transferring diseases to the "pristine" areas in our waste or on our feet? Couldn't people also effect wildlife in "unpredictable ways?" If we are to keep these areas truly pristine and not have any potential harm to wildlife, all human recreation in the woods should be eliminated.

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Hey, as long as you don´t leave their poo behind, i´m ok with that...

 

However, they can carry fleas and ticks that could carry diseases and spread in the area, which could have a impact on the local fauna. So if you´re gonna hike on a pristine environment, keep your pets at home.

You have your source of pests backwards.

 

Ticks and fleas are typically caught in the area the dogs were in which means the local fauna is already affected as hosts.

 

Also, any designated "pristine" areas already have rules about pets and most owners are aware by checking the locality first. The last thing we want to do is leave our buddies in the car while we go hike. Designated Wilderness and National Parks have strict rules about this.

 

That is not always true. I'm a biologist in Brazil and there's a national park where I work with maned wolves. The dogs living in the park surrondings sometimes have canine cynomosis, which is not always lethal to them but it is extremely lethal to maned wolves.There, the domestic dogs are not allowed but the wolves may roam, reaching nearby farms.

 

So, IMO pets should be kept as far as possible from wild areas, because it is possible that they could affect wildlife in unpredictable ways.

 

Then shouldn't we keep people out of the wild areas as well? Couldn't hikers also be transferring diseases to the "pristine" areas in our waste or on our feet? Couldn't people also effect wildlife in "unpredictable ways?" If we are to keep these areas truly pristine and not have any potential harm to wildlife, all human recreation in the woods should be eliminated.

 

Usually people don´t walk around with a tick or flea infestation unnoticed (since this is a discussion about hiking with dogs). Few human diseases can spread to wild animals, however domestic dogs diseases can easily spread to wolves, coyotes and foxes.

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I've had ticks on me that I haven't noticed for several hours and I could have dog feces on my hiking boots because I have dogs at home and sometimes I step in their poop while mowing the lawn.

 

So maybe just people who own dogs shouldn't be allowed in the woods. Other people should be okay.

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When I looked up the issue Sabato mentioned, all I saw were references to his area.

 

Sabato, in the US, pet owners are required to license their pets which also has a sub requirement of vaccinations to prevent them from having these kinds of diseases as well as others. Some pet owners even have their pets on a health care plan. Mine even has a dental care plan. So while your profesional opinion may hold true for your area it doesn't carry forward to all locations. But it is a valid point to keep under consideration for pet owners to make sure they are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

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Yes TotemLake.

 

The bottom line is, please make sure your pet is 100% disease-free before taking it to wild areas :D

 

Here in Brazil, even though in the cities most people do keep their pets health up-to-date (vaccines, vet checkups), in countryside areas that can be a lot less common, since such care can be expensive and only a few have enough money to do that.

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While pet owners are responsible for their pets and therefore any effect their pet may have there are 2 things: first a pet owner may be unaware of a disease or some other unintended consequence of their pets being taken into the wild (or anywhere else for that matter) and second not all pet owners are very responsible, in fact some are downright uncaring.

 

That is not to say that no one should allowed to take their pets with them but pet ownership and entry into sensitive areas should be regulated effectively. It's a pity though the effect that a few irresponsible people have on the rest of the population where dogs are banned because of some bad experience.

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Ive been hiking for awhile, and have been thinking about getting a dog to start coming along. Please feel free to share any comments or guidance, or just discuss hiking with dogs. :)

Sissy has been my hiking companion for seven years. She is a lab/golden retriever mix who is about 9 yrs old and still going on the most aggressive hikes with no problems. I feel blessed. Words are fickle tools to try to describe the relationship that has developed. And Sissy is a four legged GPS... just yesterday I 'lost' my Satellite signal and was hopelessly turned around in a maze of forest trails in Banner Forest which is in Port Orchard, WA. A couple of years ago, a person was mauled nearly to death there by a bear. After an hour of trail twists and turns and second guessing, I turned to Sissy and said (as I often do) "back to the car, Sis". She did a 180, started down a trail we hadn't used, took turns onto different trails at two junctions and 20 minutes later we exited within 50 feet of my van. Its the second time I have been 'lost' where she has led me out. Both times dusk was approaching and I was heading in exactly the opposite direction than the one I should be. Both times, she acted agitated and kept trying to get my attention. Just be sure you have time for your dog... you will never be lonely and will always have a friend who loves you unconditionally. And to those of you who want to trivialize this post and want to lecture me on any issue, understand that I am nearly 60, probably have hundreds of miles more hiking under my shoe leather than you do and yes, I still err on the side of 'impulsive, unplanned and unprepared' diversions. I'm still here, though. And I enjoy life... do you?

Edited by Twister54

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I just wanted to post a photo of my hiking companion-- my four year old yorkie, Penny.

 

Yes, that's right. A yorkie. She's small, weighing in at a whopping 11 pounds, but she can handle twelve mile hikes and significant elevation gain better than many humans I know. She's been hiking and geocaching with me since she was a pup. The only issues we have ever had were with brambles getting caught in her coat (I keep it groomed short these days to make that less of a problem), and once where after a long day of hiking she cut a pad on a rock. Fortunately, when an 11 pound dog cuts its foot with three miles left in a hike, it isn't a big deal to just carry them the rest of the way. I do take some precautions when hiking with her that folks with larger dogs may not have to worry about as much. When we are in the mountains and hit the elevation where there is likely to be snow, I pack in a warm, waterproof coat for her. I always, always keep her on leash when we are hiking since if she took off after a wild animal, she would probably be on the losing end of any encounter-- and being a terrier, she's prone to taking off after wild animals. Also, I have to carry her food, water and other relevant gear for her since the world doesn't make a dog backpack small enough for her to wear. :)

 

smiling2.jpg

I have been to Snow Lake with Sissy, my four legged companion. You may want to go the extra couple of miles to Gem Lake and beyond... well worth the effort and further away from the crowds. I met a family at Rampart Lakes who the week before, had watched a black bear ambush a mountain goat at Snow Lake. I often have two pomeranians with me as well as Sissy... and boy do we have fun! Small dogs seem to have boundless energy. We have always hiked 'off leash' (over 6 years) and they all stay within sight in our roamings and they are very obedient. Most of the trails we use (when we use trails) are not published and we seldom meet anyone else. A bald eagle attempted to take my 6 lb pomeranian one time. I fended him off as he came swooshing through the trees with talons outstretched and a focused eye on Sundancer! In spite of many posts I have seen, birds of prey WILL hunt small dogs, especially right about the time of snow melt, when they are exceptionally hungry. I know of three instances personally. I had seen him above a meadow we were in and went into the trees to discourage him. We also have to be wary of coyotes, cougars and other dogs. Being attentive and wary with a constant eye and ear on your surroundings can help prevent canine disastors. It can be nerve wracking but the quality of life they enjoy can't be compared to our hours at home. Ticks are a constant issue and small dogs may be very sensitive to tick repelling chemicals. I have probably pulled nearly 100 ticks out of our dogs over the years but have never had an issue with disease or infections. Maybe I am just lucky.

 

She smiles when we hike! (This photo was taken at Snow Lake here in Washington.)

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Ive been hiking for awhile, and have been thinking about getting a dog to start coming along. Please feel free to share any comments or guidance, or just discuss hiking with dogs. :)

I agree that a well trained geo-dog is a great companion. We have a 14 year old Brittany with addison's and is partly deaf. "side note to Iron Maiden-the AKC dropped the spaniel suffix in 1980 as Brittany's are versatile pointers, while spaniels are flushers." Our dog goes on long hikes ie: 5-6 miles at least once a week with us now that my MD has OK'd me for outdoor adventuring again. It's been a long 2 years of recovery from metabolic syndrome and clinical depression.

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Ive been hiking for awhile, and have been thinking about getting a dog to start coming along. Please feel free to share any comments or guidance, or just discuss hiking with dogs. :)

Hi,

Check out the ideal dog breed for your needs (distance to walk / hike, climate, where you live, ...) Having a dog along is fun. It helps you a lot, when muggles are arround. Dogs always stop and sniff. No one will think, that sth. is not normal with you stoping and looking everywhere. Better do not use a n"nanodog" or "microdog" for this. And remember, that dogs are not allowed on all places.

If you like to have a dog, go on and get one (with good health, not from a streetside dealer) If you just wand to have a dog for geocaching, bettier think about it again.

 

Bye

rub_m (b is my dog, 35 kg, I don't know, who likes the cachingtours more: he or me)

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I just wanted to post a photo of my hiking companion-- my four year old yorkie, Penny.

 

Yes, that's right. A yorkie. She's small, weighing in at a whopping 11 pounds, but she can handle twelve mile hikes and significant elevation gain better than many humans I know. She's been hiking and geocaching with me since she was a pup.

<snippage>

Also, I have to carry her food, water and other relevant gear for her since the world doesn't make a dog backpack small enough for her to wear. :)

 

smiling2.jpg

 

She smiles when we hike! (This photo was taken at Snow Lake here in Washington.)

 

Have you looked into Ruffwear dot com? One of their Approach Packs goes to as small as 12" around (girth)...tho' she looks smaller than that, really. I saw a Jack Russell on the trail this weekend with one of those packs on. Cute, cute, cute. Looks like it would hold a cell phone...maybe. :lol:

 

Ruffwear

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When I'm down in East Sussex I go caching with DottyTheDog and her mum. She's almost hit the magic 1000th cache. She loves to cache and really enjoys a rest aftwerwards too. :)

 

81d73dc4-3647-40bb-919f-2b48c6bab8e0.jpg

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We have a dog since January 2011 - "Idefix" a Jack Russell Terrier

 

He is really funny, never gets tired and is always happy to go with us - of course on a cache hunt as well.

Usually we keep him on a leash, but when we are somewhere deep in the woods he may run free.

He never runs away or hunts, but always stays in sight and when we whistle he always returns.

If we go caching in an area where many people go for a walk (also with their dogs) we usually don't let him run free.

I do not know about the laws in other countries, but in Austria you are obliged to keep your dog on the leash when you are in the woods... :rolleyes:

Last weekend we nearly got a problem with a hunter, but he just told us not to let him run free.

 

That was Idefix in April, when we have been on a long caching tour - so as you can see: even a Jack Russell sometimes gets tired

49c9f42b-c7ea-472c-9dd2-85ef97df09d5.jpg

 

Idefix finding a cache in Croatia

kro8.jpg

 

Trying to find the cache or just digging? :D

Mrz5.jpg

 

He always has fun

Mrz4.jpg

 

He and my boyfriend are always eager to be the first ones to get the cache :laughing:

Wasserfall1.jpg

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Geopuppies are great companions! Sebastian and Holly often help us on the hunt. We use a special flea and tick thing b/c the beagle/basset (Sebastian) is allergic to them. They love to get out and about. Although it can get a little dicey sometimes. We either find a safe way to get to the hide, one of us will stay with the pups while the other goes for it, or put it on the list for "caches to come back to." They absolutely love it but each dog is different. Sebastian can't go out during the summer months or late spring because of his allergies. He also can't go more than a few miles due to his weight issues. Holly (the mini-golden) could go forever. She's also easy to pick up and carry across rivers and whatnot. I think it's great to have them...just keep up those vet visits, though. We have healthcare plans which, contrary to popular belief, are super money savers. Look into it. Especially at PetSmart.

 

Here are our two GeoPups at one of our river finds!

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I have recently started geocaching in Breakheart Reservation in Saugus/Wakefield, Massachusetts. In addition to exercise and fresh air, these hikes fulfilled my primary domestic responsibility of keeping Shula, our two-year-old Wheaton Terrier, out of trouble.

shulacache.jpg

 

Breakheart was my first attempt to geocache since I struck out on Nantucket in August.

 

Geocaching.com’s maps show only the paved roads, not the park's hiking trails. The hidden treasures should make woodlands like Breakheart sparkle with adventure. Instead, I am slowed down comparing my phone's map with the physical map in my hand.

 

Shula and I started with a cache called "Off the Beaten Path". About 16 caches are hidden throughout Breakheart, but this cache is hidden alone on the park's eastern end. It's in an area I may never have explored otherwise.

 

My GPS led me to a wooden bridge spanning the Saugus River. For once, my phone wasn't zonking out, possibly because there was less tree cover by the river. If my reading was accurate then, the cache was underneath.

 

Climbing down the rocks, stepping over a dead bird, I peeked under the boards. I reached through a thick nest of webs to pull out the plastic container. The dog and I had solved our first mystery!

 

The next week, I searched for the "Breakheart Flume" cache. I brought along a comic book. I decided that since I was geocaching as Reading Quietly, I should leave reading material in all the caches I found.

 

Since the flume is too easy to reach by the paved roads, just for fun, I walked along the Ridge Trail before cutting back between the Upper and Lower Ponds. I remembered the flume area well from my childhood. I am sure I've peed in those bushes.

 

But I couldn't find a cache in there. My phone's GPS kept changing its directions. I have since read that once one is within 20 feet, one has to start looking by eye.

 

I joked in a tweet that Shula's snout would not let us down. But Shula, as much as I love having her out there with me, is a hindrance. With my phone in one hand and Shula's leash in the other, I don't have a free hand to dig.

 

Breakheart has some fun trails. I think the best trail is on west side of the park. The Ridge Trail goes over all the high points of the park, giving one nice views of the Boston skyline. One goes from fording swamps to climbing rocky outcroppings.

 

Plus, there is a geocache at the trail's most remote point: Crow's Hill. I feel deep enough in the woods to release Shula. She always starts with a full gallop forward and back. Then she settles down in a way she never does at the beach or in the city. She happily trots next me like an animal avatar from World of Warcraft.

 

The cache, called "Crow's Nest", has a hint that says the Boston skyline is not visible from where the cache is hidden. In any case, there are no marked trails going up to Crow's Hill.

 

Shula and I tried to go but the approach is very thorny and her leash got tangled up. I lifted her off the ground, but did not turn around. Instead I tried to climb up with a terrified Wheaten in my hands. When we finally turned around and she was safely back on the ground, I worried she'd just flop down. But she was as eager as ever to continue the adventure.

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Dogs make great Cougar and Bear bait. :D

 

They're domestic pets. Keep them at home.

I've found the ones that make the best bait are the ones that are hunting cougars and bears....

 

When you take a dog out, you have to be responsible for them, but that doesn't mean keeping them at home all the time :( I leave my dog at home because I just don't think he's smart enough to go out and about (think along the lines of the child eating paste and that's him). My mother's dog is a jackass so he gets left because he's a safety hazard to others. My father's dog is very well behaved and stays close, so if I'm in an off leash area, she gets to go.

 

I've worked in a veterinary clinic since I was in high school. I've been there full time since I graduated from college in 2009. The only dog I have ever seen attacked by a mountain lion was hunting for mountain lions. My neighbor's dog was either going after a mountain lion or a bear, treed the critter, and then tried to climb the tree after it and fell off a cliff. I have seen more dogs get quilled by porcupines than attacked by a large woodland critter (and that includes the dog that was attacked by a *deer*).

 

There are traps for coyotes, bears, and beavers that dogs can get caught in. There are poisoned pieces of meat they can eat. I have worked on dogs that have been inadvertently poisoned or caught in a trap. Sometimes, when a dog is running off leash, these things cannot be prevented. I am not saying that it is okay by any means, but I am saying that things happen to dogs, just like things happen to people. It doesn't make it better. It just is what it is.

 

Dogs enjoy being out with their owners. My dog (the dumb one) loves to go, but I don't trust him to keep out of things. My father's dog would totally go after a poisoned piece of meat, but she minds very well and stays pretty close, so at least she would be less likely to get trapped.

 

The domesticity of an animal has no bearing. That's like saying a cat is domesticated and shouldn't be outside. How many cats live outside? How many cats have had babies that turn feral?

 

If you don't want to take a dog hiking or caching, then don't, but don't expect others to follow that.

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Dogs make great Cougar and Bear bait. :D

 

They're domestic pets. Keep them at home.

I've found the ones that make the best bait are the ones that are hunting cougars and bears....

 

When you take a dog out, you have to be responsible for them, but that doesn't mean keeping them at home all the time :( I leave my dog at home because I just don't think he's smart enough to go out and about (think along the lines of the child eating paste and that's him). My mother's dog is a jackass so he gets left because he's a safety hazard to others. My father's dog is very well behaved and stays close, so if I'm in an off leash area, she gets to go.

 

I've worked in a veterinary clinic since I was in high school. I've been there full time since I graduated from college in 2009. The only dog I have ever seen attacked by a mountain lion was hunting for mountain lions. My neighbor's dog was either going after a mountain lion or a bear, treed the critter, and then tried to climb the tree after it and fell off a cliff. I have seen more dogs get quilled by porcupines than attacked by a large woodland critter (and that includes the dog that was attacked by a *deer*).

 

There are traps for coyotes, bears, and beavers that dogs can get caught in. There are poisoned pieces of meat they can eat. I have worked on dogs that have been inadvertently poisoned or caught in a trap. Sometimes, when a dog is running off leash, these things cannot be prevented. I am not saying that it is okay by any means, but I am saying that things happen to dogs, just like things happen to people. It doesn't make it better. It just is what it is.

 

Dogs enjoy being out with their owners. My dog (the dumb one) loves to go, but I don't trust him to keep out of things. My father's dog would totally go after a poisoned piece of meat, but she minds very well and stays pretty close, so at least she would be less likely to get trapped.

 

The domesticity of an animal has no bearing. That's like saying a cat is domesticated and shouldn't be outside. How many cats live outside? How many cats have had babies that turn feral?

 

If you don't want to take a dog hiking or caching, then don't, but don't expect others to follow that.

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Ive been hiking for awhile, and have been thinking about getting a dog to start coming along. Please feel free to share any comments or guidance, or just discuss hiking with dogs. :)

 

Our beagles for them would be impossible for them to stay on the trail. We've tried... :blink:

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I love hiking with my girl. She is a Blue Healer and in my opinion the best dog you could have. There are many great dogs on this post and they all have fantastic qualities. My pooch is just that, mine, so yes I am partial. Blue healers are fantastic dogs if you put forth the effort to work with them. Healers are a lot like border collies where they require "jobs" to do and when they can't do their "job" they can become a bit ornery. They are great dogs for hiking because they absolutely love exercise. I can go on a twelve mile hike and within an hour of getting home she will be harassing me to play Frisbee with her. Healers are very loyal as well, they will follow you anywhere. Mine will always be in the same room as me and when we're out she will always wait for me at every turn and consistently stay within sight of me. You do need to associate them with other people and other dogs when they are young because they can become a bit over protective when they get older. Mine won't let any one or any thing get within ten feet of me which is nice when you're on the trail but can be a bit annoying when you are at home. I have often wondered about wild predators, we have pretty much everything except wolves in our area but I think having a dog is just one more layer of defense against the wild creatures. Be sure to research a few breads before getting one, I think working dogs such as blue healers and border collies are best for hiking and any type of terrain as were the more purely "pet" type dog are more attuned to small outings and more gentle excursions.

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Luka, a 14 month old white german shepherd dog, one of seven we bred ourselves, standing over a geocache...

 

He's actually not that great at geocaching. Even for a GSD his prey drive is strong, locks onto squirrels, rabbits etc, but also sheep and ponies - so you have to choose carefully where he's off the lead, and you can't ever relax as I have with other dogs. He's also very stupid and despite a treat at every cache still looks blank when I ask him to "Go find!". His brother is a bit better, but none compare to either of my old border collies for smarts. I wouldn't really recommend GSD's for cache companions, but I still like mine, and other people always take a shine. Other dogs attack them often, and this can lead to them learning to "get their retaliation in first", although now and then you get one that remains soppy their whole life.

 

I take him or his brother walking about half the time. Sometimes I just enjoy a quiet walk with no company, other times a dog adds a lot. Depends on the situation.

 

Interesting to read you guys saying dogs attract bears - not really an issue in the UK, but we walk amongst cattle, sheep and wild ponies often, and having a dog definitely does attract the emnity of those. We're probably soft, not having to deal with bears, moose and big cats here, it's bad enough having a herd of bullock galloping towards you with no sign of stopping.

Edited by dartymoor

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Interesting to read you guys saying dogs attract bears - not really an issue in the UK, but we walk amongst cattle, sheep and wild ponies often, and having a dog definitely does attract the emnity of those. We're probably soft, not having to deal with bears, moose and big cats here, it's bad enough having a herd of bullock galloping towards you with no sign of stopping.

What a cutie! :) :) I love the ears!

 

What about that "beast of bodmin moor"? :anibad: But seriously, cows can be scary! Some sheep are pretty scary too! There was a farm on my college for my veterinary technician program and there were a few sheep. One old fellow was called "Old John" and he'd ram you if you turned your back on him! :o There was a younger ram called "Boomer" and you had to watch him too. You could turn your back because he didn't really want anything to do with people, but when we had to round him up for his vaccines and exam, it was really a rodeo!

 

And if you've seen the comedy horror film "Black Sheep" (not the one with Chris Farley) then you know sometimes sheep eat people :laughing: They don't even need pointy teeth :laughing:

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Whenever I can I always go with my 7 yo yellow lab. The trick is to start young, make sure they are conditioned so they don't get injured. Biggest thing is making sure they are well socialized. My girl is the bes. She is super polite on the trail and extremely protective. Protective but not aggressive. She watches out for everything and has alerted me to many things I have overlooked due to trail dreaming. She is great off leash but not until she grew out of her puppy phase about 3yo. She carries here own gear including her own first aid kit. And she also has booties for tough hikes. I often go hiking alone with my son and when he was younger I felt much more secure having the dog around. I know she wouldn't be able to fight off a bear or anything but she's better than a whistle. I also taught her that the car is "car" so if I say "lets go to the car" she always brings me back to the car. I trust her sense of direction better than my own.

As with any dog make sure they are from a responsible breeder and not prone to barking.

Happy hiking,

Heidi

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