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Taking dogs caching

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I own four dogs, all German Shepherds. One is too old, one is too aggressive with other dogs - that leaves two whites that I can take out walking. Yet... I very often don't - at least when doing the long geocaching trails and series that I have been mostly doing lately.


In Devon, these trails are mostly through farmland. Although I love walking with my dogs in forests and the moors, I don't take them on these kinda of walks any more.


There are usually stiles, mostly non dog-friendly, and after lifting 8 stones of happy, muddy and wriggling GSD over them a few times (One 6 mile loop I had to do this about 20 times - including INTO a flock of sheep who were very interested and wouldn't go away!) I get a bit tired.


Sheep and the possibility of means I have to keep them on a lead almost all the time.


Other dogs, loose - typically around farms - are often more aggressive to GSD's than most breeds (I have a theory about ears, but this isn't the place!) and usually their owners aren't around.


Cows take a strong and sometimes dangerous interest in dogs.


(On hot days, having to take sufficient water for them too!)


All these points combined mean that taking a dog changes from being a fun, companionable addition to a chore and sometimes means lengthy detours and increased danger to them, livestock and myself. So I mostly leave them behind.


I've even found myself sometimes doing it when walking on Dartmoor since recent years have had a significant increase in the sheep and cattle grazed.


I'd be most interested to know what other dog owners think - I see threads in here where people always take their dog, but not from folk who leave theirs behind and I'm wondering if I'm the only one?

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We would no sooner go caching without Charlie, than we would without shoes but given all you have said, I can understand why you leave your dogs at home quite a lot.

Until recent months, Charlie was getting 6 hours of exercise every day but we have come to realise that he is not as young as he used to be and that amount of exercise has now decreased to 4 hours. We enjoy caching, he LOVES it and he gets his daily quota into the bargain. We are fortunate in that we don't have too many stiles in Oxfordshire but when we go caching to a place that does, we are usually in the company of Deadpebble and any obstacles are made short work of. We have had our fair share of encounters with livestock and have adopted methods to avoid confrontation but if cows are showing too much interest in us (or Charlie) at the start of the field, we abandon that route and try to find another way. If no other route is possible, we abandon the set altogether. This may sound a bit drastic but we have had some VERY scary times and the lure of a few more smileys isn't enough to risk another. I agree about the water carrying aspect but we have found this to only be a slight burden in the hot months (remember them?). When the weather is warm, we always try to pick a series where various watercourses feature, so Charlie can have a dip and a drink. The rest of the time, we carry the water between the 2 of us. We are also fortunate that Charlie is a very friendly dog and is impeccably behaved, with sheep, cows, horses, dogs and other walkers.

I know there will come a time when he is unable to come on huge cache walks with us but for now, he is most certainly part of our team. I hope you can find a way around some of the obstacles and take your 2 dogs with you again.

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Charlie sounds a lot like one of my old collies (sadly put to sleep a week ago) who was fantastic to take walking - never got in trouble, never disappeared, was always there. Also a collie is able to resolve most stile-related problems without my help! Maybe I just have the wrong sort of dog for geocaching now...

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We have four border collies, age ranging from 10 months to 12 years. Sometimes we don't take the old girl with us, especially if we are doing anything more than a couple of miles. If any of them see even the slightest touch of the caching bag, or even the GPS being picked up, then they are by the door. On the occasions that we haven't taken them we have had major sulks from them for hours afterwards. They aren't very good at sniffing caches out though.

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Don't have a dog but I occasionally take the Mother In Law's dog (3 year old with a bit of greyhound, black lab, and probably other bits too). She's pretty fast and the greyhound in her means that if she sees anything running she's off after it, so following the first outing where she disappeared after what we think was a deer and took about 3 hours to find her she stays on the lead all the time which is a pain, although I use an old horse lead rope which is nice and long so she can still walk off the path and have a sniff around.


She's no good at sniffing out caches but the number of times I've arrived at a GZ, had a look round with no success and thought "it's time to get serious" then go to tie the dog to a tree and find the cache right there!

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Our dogs are the reason we started Geocaching in the first place. MrsD bought an Etrex to record how long our dog walks were. They used to accompany us on all our outings and have done many long walks: Chiltern Hundred, LOTC's Mega Series, Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Scarfel Pike etc etc


Nowadays, Poppy (the 13½ yo Black Lab) is too slow and stubborn so hardly ever comes with us anymore

Whisper, (12yo Yellow Lab) only comes with us on local stuff where it's no big loss if we have to abandon a walk due to cows.

She's great company/cover for nighttime FTF trips though B)


I don't think they mind too much because they'd rather run around the woods or chase a tennis ball anyway :)



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Dog Sykes is with us most of the time; there's been a couple of caches where he's been left behind for specific reasons, but they were both local trips of less than a couple of hours, not whole days out.


There are caches we haven't yet attempted because he has been with us and there have been cows, or similar, but there's plenty of other caches to do instead.


Sykes is a lurcher and is alert to possible prey, so he is on-lead where there might be such animals or where it isn't safe for him to be free. He has no problems with stiles (indeed has to be discouraged from jumping them, sometimes, if the landing side is a road), though this will no doubt change as he gets older.


He can be a pain when you need to search for what he considers to be too long, as he will sulk furiously, park himself and basically anchor whoever has the other end of the lead to one spot, but on the whole he's pretty good and he loves the walking. He has only ever found one cache by himself, because it had sweets in it. He can be good cover, at times, and a distraction for muggles.


We'd rather cache with than without him; we tailor our "caching walks" to weather and other conditions (heat, livestock) as we would our "normal" dogwalks so we seem to rub along somehow.


Your theory about GSD ears is correct! Also, tail carriage, and body posture.

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I mostly started geocaching so as to discover places with my new dog and to make walks interesting with each other and she now comes to almost all of them with me. I totally know what you mean about the problems though, we walked a tiny bit of the Parramble series this week and it was so ridiculous, field after field after field of cows and sheep etc and what with the weather we gave up. Generally where I live though there are plenty of others to choose from but I tend to study google satellite and try to predict the amount of crop fields and then I check descriptions for stiles, if there's high ones mentioned I wait til I'm not alone as the high ones are impossible to pick her over on my own. I tend to aim for woodland caches as much as possible even if it means going that bit further away!

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golfchick - I finished Parramble last saturday, and that northwestern loop was what prompted my question. North Devon smells of cow muck for one rather obvious black and white reason and there were a lot of livestock there. One lovely stretch of woodland of about a mile at the furthest northwest where I really did miss my dogs, though. Not a soul about, it was perfect.


I do prefer the woodland ones, but they're mostly a little on the short side for my tastes. I like a good walk of about 8-12 miles and that seems to mean either Dartmoor or a farmland walk in Devon. I like both, but...

Edited by dartymoor
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we did the northern section of way down west yesterday and it was much better. Going to try the new Hunters Hike series today, apparently theres only the potential of sheep in one section, have to wait and see though. It is nice going to different parts of the country and seeing how the land differs though. We went to Chelmsford way the other week and I've never seen so much crop in one area!! It was amazing and I'll definitely be going back.

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we did the northern section of way down west yesterday and it was much better. Going to try the new Hunters Hike series today, apparently theres only the potential of sheep in one section, have to wait and see though. It is nice going to different parts of the country and seeing how the land differs though. We went to Chelmsford way the other week and I've never seen so much crop in one area!! It was amazing and I'll definitely be going back.


I got threatened by an untended Rottweiler who kept trying to get behind me on WDW, and again, very glad I didn't have my dogs or there would have been the mother of fights. As it was I had to stay in the field until eventually the farmer's wife came out to fetch it, and she had little control! (That was one of the two very messy scrapyard farms)


Hunters Hike is an excellent, if bracing, walk - and yes, cross one sheep field, rest is clifftop or woodland. Sheep might also be in the quiet lane judging from the mess.

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there were sheep all over, people had left the footpath gate open so as soon as we started to spot the poop she went on the lead, a shame really both for us and the farmer. I once got bit by two rottweilers while caching and i was just glad it was because I went back for a dnf without my 60 year old mum and dog who would never defend herself.

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Own one youngish collie, Roxy. She is with me caching whenever possible. She's trained pretty well now and will walk with me, not straying far from me, off the lead, whether in farm land or urban. Stiles etc are rarely a problem; she'll either jump them or squeeze her own way through close by. I have had to lift her occasionally, but that's rare. But I only have the one dog though.


I leave Roxy behind sometimes though. Notable times have been when I have cycled the nearby dual carriage way to the next town... I wouldn't risk her life having her alongside me doing that. There have been a few spur of the moment caches I have done when I have been way out of my home town alone when she has been home with the rest of the family. And I have never taken her out with me when attempting the few underground 5/5s I have done, though I have read logs that mention others who have seen people taking their dogs under, so maybe one day..


Carrying bags, food, and extra water for her I don't find a problem. She usually shares water from a bottle I will be carrying for myself anyways (I'm sure that thought probably turns stomachs of a few). She's really no problem. For myself, my respect has to go out though to those parents who have taken their younglings out in buggies, pushing them for miles on caching trails, getting bogged down in mud, lifting them and their carriages over stiles, and carrying all their necessities along with them. My kids are are grown up enough that I haven't had to endure any of that.

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'She usually shares water from a bottle I will be carrying for myself anyways (I'm sure that thought probably turns stomachs of a few).'


The water sharing doesn't turn our stomachs Gackt. I often give Charlie a big kiss, right on his nose and he always gets several licks of Dave's summer ice creams too! I always say, there's a big difference in a dog owner and a dog lover. Sorry, slightly off topic I know, but I had to get that one in.

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Getting off topic I know, but one of these folding water bowls is one of the best things I've bought to keep the dog watered whilst walking. When I say "bought" I mean found in a pub but if I lost it I'd buy a replacement like a shot.


Pip the dog generally comes on caching expeditions with me, useless at finding caches, exhibits displays of boredom if kept hanging about for too long, barks if I'm up a tree, cliff, etc, can be dissuaded from chasing sheep but not pheasants, squirrels or rabbits. Also gets me into trouble with bulls.

Edited by The Patrician
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When we're down in Devon we often use our daughter's dog for caching purposes, though we have been in trouble for making her loose weight before now, since a 6-8 mile walk for us is probably a 10-12 mile run for the dog!.

Just last week, it did prove to be a problem for us though, since we had to leave a cache behind, because there was a large husky/wolf/alsatian (called Wolfy) living just a few yards down the bridleway/lane and we couldn't look for the cache while his owner was out. We left it 5 minutes and went back towards the cache; lo and behold, out comes Wolfy again! Gave up when the puzzled owner came out again.

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Cassie (Border collie cross) and molly ( Border terrier cross) come caching with us virually every trip. we trained the early on to climb stiles, a simple up up command and whether on lead or not they soon get the idea to jump up and over the stiles/ walls though the large ladder tile ones can be a problem.

always a good idea to try and train them to do this as it saves lifting muddy dogs.

essential if you do any walking on farmland really.

livestock not a problem sheep keep a wary distance nd run away after a few barks from molly dog and cattle usually just ignore you, at least in cheshire, lancs and west yorks they do,

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I always take my 3 (Border Collies) otherwise I wouldn't have the time to cache and dog walk as seperate events. I always choose caches that are on good off-road walks, and so far so good. I have to keep an eye on one of them though, she gets bored if we stand still too long and starts digging - she could easily ruin or draw attention to a GZ which wouldn't be fair on other cachers :) Perhaps when I run out of rural caches, I'll leave the woofs behind and try my hand at some urban ones

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Motivated somewhat by your replies, I did take one of my dogs with me last saturday on Dartmoor. He was fine, and the few sheep and cattle we encountered didn't cause any problems on either side.


Unfortunately, the next day Luna was very quiet, and had developed a nasty twitch in his face, and an arching of his neck so we took him to the vet. Vet unsure, but he thinks Luna picked up something nasty from a tick bite - he had two on his eyelid. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories, and several days of sickness but he seems to be picking up now.


So that was one negative I hadn't even thought of!

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I love caching with my hounds. But mine are labs and certainly easier than when I took a friends pair of mutts the other week. He has three, an old GSD, an old terrier of some kind and a not so old dalmation. We left the GSD at home as she wouldn't have been up for it. The terrier had to be carried after a couple of miles so would be good to take again with my toddler but I think I'd leave her at home really. And the dalmation was just hard work bless him. He was on the lead and has ben trained but what a difference to my lab.


My first lab (Tia) nearly did as many caches as I had. When we had to put her down due to cacner at 3y she had done 1200 to my 1500. And I put the 300 difference to me doing caches away with out her rather than not taking her. In fact after she was put to sleep my caching certainly slowed.

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We take our Border Terrier "flashy" with us - our other BT, Barney, AKA "Elderly Dog" can't walk far now. so if we are "city" caching, we have a special doggy push chair to take him in - He quite likes it now and causes a bit of a stir when people come up to look at the "baby" and get a very hairy surprise !!! Our caching friends the Beauchiefs take one of their golden retrievers with them - she is a mud magnet and this year with all the rain and muddy tracks has had a whale of a time when out caching

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Just as well ... if your dog finds the cache it would be immoral to log it as a find, wouldn't it :)


Oh no! I didn't realise this wasn't allowed!!!


Like many others we cache as a hobby, and walk the dog as a hobby.....and those hobbies naturally go rather well together :-) I love using geocaching as a way to find new places to walk the dog.


Our geocaching account is a 'family' account, and we log finds if any or all of us make the find. I like adding to the logs which member of the family made the actual find and Merlin gets credited sometimes. He's not actually that good at finding caches tbh, although we're trying to train him!

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