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119 Mountainous Dog Walking 2009-09-02

Jake in the mountains

We took our good dog Jake to Colorado this summer to help us hike the Fourteeners. He is a part of our lives and we needed him to help bring order to the chaos of life away from home.

Every hike he did with us, was harder on us, than if we had left him behind. Even though Jake is a well behaved dog, it consumed time and energy to take care of him. Jake walks on a leash and is not free to roam.


Collar - We use a Gentle Leader. Most of the time we did not use the nose piece, but when he was not behaving or we really needed his attention, we could slip it on over his snout.

Leash - We made a bungee corded lead for him. It works great for warning us of his sudden movements.

Pack - Jake behaves better when we wears his pack. He becomes twice as wide and does not try to pass as often.

Socks and Boots - To protect his paws, Jake wears his socks and boots. We used Ruff Wear boots we purchased from REI.

Food - Jake would eat about anything, but we used a very high protein food and specialized dog treats. He needed trail snacks to keep his energy level up, just like we do. Oh, despite all of our feeding efforts, Jake lost a good deal of weight on the trip. We did not weigh him, but he looked and felt skinny in the ribs.

Gulpy - A dog’s water bottle, the Gulpy was great for little sips on the summit ridge.

First Aid Kit - Bring a dog first aid kit or add extra items to yours for the dog. One indispensable item we found was New Skin a paint on, liquid bandage.

Rimadyl - Our Vet suggested Rimadyl to help him recover from the aches and pains of the trip. It definitely helped.


Swap dog responsibilities as your hiking (as in who has the leash), it can be very tiring.

Avoid the heat, we had a cool summer, but last year on Barr Trail he laid down and quit on us until he cooled off.

Pack extra food and water. Even if you have to carry it, your dog will need it.

Keep a close eye on the dog’s behavior. Is his paws okay? Is he acting normal? Is he physically fit enough for the climb? Amy had to give a dog on Blanca’s summit a Rimadyl because it was in a bad way.

Train the dog before the trip. If he is not used to walking fifteen miles a day, why would you think he would be able to walk that far in the mountains?

Keep the dog on a leash! It seems that a good many hikers do not like loose dogs. Be courteous and keep your dog on a leash and away from other dogs and humans. Oh, it is also a rule on most trails.

Have a "how to, evacuate plan" for your dog, in an emergency.

Pet the dog regularly. Jake really likes to be petted.

We certainly enjoyed having our dog along on our trip (which was close to two months long), but he was a lot of work. Dogs definitely belong in the mountains, but please keep them on a leash.

Happy wags.



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