If you think you enjoy the great outdoors, wait till you get your canine partner in crime on the trail. So many smells so little time. Here to get you started on training your mountain dog for the switchbacks are 8 items to outfit your four-legged friend:
Dog Pack - Perhaps the first thing most people consider, the dog pack prevents your pet from being a free-loader. Save room in your pack and have your dog carry it’s own food, water, and other miscellaneous supplies (see below). Ruffwear is a tried and true brand, check out their summer selection here. Be aware of how much weight your pooch can carry and be weary of over-weighting him or her.
Dog Vests & Clothing - Based on the temperature of where you will be trekking, you will want to be sure to pack some additional layers for yourself and your dog. Simple dogs vests can go a long way and are very versatile. They are especially good for cold spells or back country thicket patches.
Dog Booties - Some canines may take time to get used to wearing shoes, but after a long day of hiking, their paws need a break. Long trails can wear down the pads of dogs feet making each step more tender then the last. You can find booties in specialized outdoors shops or online through different websites such as Back Country K-9.
Compression Dog Bowls - Same with your own gear, your dog needs something to eat out of. Leave the metal bowl at home and invest in a collapsible bowl. You don’t need to get too fancy here, chances are if their is dog food in it, your pooch will scarf it down.
Food and Water - You can take with you the normal diet you feed your dog at home, but keep in mind the extra calories that you will both be burning with all day hiking stints. Check out Backpackers Magazine write-up for ideas on how to supplement your canine’s cuisine.
Dog Leash - Find yourself a durable and preferably extending dog leash. Most National Parks and state land have leash-laws, and unless you have your dog trained well enough to heel and follow your side for days on end, a leash is a good way to prevent your pooch from wandering far off into the sunset.
GPS Collars - Not to be mistaken for the micro-chip, which only holds veterinarian information, those with a little extra to spend might invest in a GPS dog collar. Garmin makes specialty units and can be found here. It might not seem likes its worth the money, until you have to use it.
Dog Life Vest and Harness - If your looking to ascend some vertical terrain or spend the day on the water, a harness or life-vest can be the difference between a fun day out and full-scale canine catastrophe. Choose the model that fits best, and to help you with your search, check out Outward Hounds selection.
The list goes on, but it’s a good start. The gear will improve your dog’s exercise, and the exercise will improve your dog’s life. Wait for the tail to wag and the ears to perk, soon it will be clear that a dog is an adventurer’s best friend.