/ Dogs in the mountains during winter?

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happy_c - on 13 Dec 2012
After a few different threads about dogs including the rescue one, This has got me thinking with my dog, He is a working dog, and bloody hard too, but i dont feel safe taking him in the mountains during winter mainly becasue i either put myself at risk keeping him roped up, or i have him of a lead, and risk putting him at risk, myself at risk rescuing or if i decide to leave him (which just to clarify i wouldnt do) I out everyone else at risk who tries to rescue him.

How does everyone manage this taking muts out in the mountains at winter? The only way i see it possible to make sure hes 'safe' is to get a proper harness, and i guess treat him like a fellow climber!

I know he would probably out climb me anywhere, and out last me, but he is still a dog and i have no doubt would throw him self down a gully because he thought there could be a ball down there! Or something shaped like a ball!

So what do you all do in order to be respobsible with your dogs in winter? For now mine is being left at home, until i come up with a soltuion!
IainRUK - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c: Well I only run, which would include easy grade 1 slopes.. I use a ruffwear harness... with they claws they are pretty good, she's hardcore.. just copes, coat totally caked in ice.. basically as long as I'm there she's happy.. she also does back slides.. where she sprints off and slides on her back down the hill..
happy_c - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to IainRUK: Where did you get one? Im struggling to find shops to go and have a nosey! On slopes etc do you have on a short lead, or long legnth of rope or something?

Milesy - on 13 Dec 2012
I would only take mine about if it was a hill with no crags about because she is a a bit mental and I wouldnt trust her running about near them. She wouldnt understand the concept of a cornice either. She is scared of wheelie bins but tried to chase double decker buses.

I would draw attention to the incident on Ben Nevis a month or so ago where a dog basically ran off the cliffs on the summit and fell down the North Face.
happy_c - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Milesy: Mine is the same, if he happily walked to heal the entire day i dont think i would be as worried, but he doesnt, and i dont think he would enjoy spending the whole day on a lead!

I didnt know about that incident, just looked it up, very sad :( I really dont want that to happen to my dog, and unfortunately it is always the owners fault! (In some way).

Simon Caldwell - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Milesy:
> I would draw attention to the incident on Ben Nevis a month or so ago where a dog basically ran off the cliffs on the summit and fell down the North Face.

Not heard about that, but wouldn't use it as a reason for not taking a dog on the hills (in any season). There are plenty of dogs that run off pavements in front of cars.

If only I had a dog :(
IainRUK - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c: The shops in Betws stocked them..

I use a short lead but normally she's lose.. mine stay around me.. you have to watch kicked rocks.. but touch wood very good. you can even point the jumps out.. ledge to ledge.. and they'll wait and you tell them.. collies are good like that..
happy_c - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to IainRUK: My spaniel will jump ledge to ledge, although its every single ledge on the whole mountain . . . . he will heel when told, but naturally runs around searching, i guess its what hes used to.

You can measure them up and buy them online i guess, are they rated as load bearing? E.g. could you lower them of a crag? (i hope id never need to but you never know!)

Cheers for the reply
Milesy - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Toreador:
> Not heard about that, but wouldn't use it as a reason for not taking a dog on the hills (in any season). There are plenty of dogs that run off pavements in front of cars.

I would for my own dog though cause I couldnt live with myself if anything happened to her. I pick and choose the days she comes out with me or where I go to accomdate her being able to feel the wind in her ears with no shackles.

The road thing is different. Sorry to go off topic but I absolutely hate people with dogs off lead walking along main roads. Unacceptable regardless of how well behaved or mature the dog is as it intoduces other people into the situation should the dog get in front of a vehicle. I have seen someones very well "to heel" dog belt across a road in front of traffic when it got sniff and sight of another dog in heat across the road. Nearly caused an acident.
Milesy - on 13 Dec 2012
Same to "extending leads" as well. A few weeks ago I was out walking my dog and someone was walking their dog on an extended lead on the other side and the dog had about 4 metres of lead out. When it seen my dog it started growling and barking and jumped out into middle of the road because of the amount of lead to the owner. Had there been traffic it would have been flattened.
happy_c - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to Milesy: My dog will walk to heal a lot, but if hes walking to heal and something lands on the road, 75% of time he will stay to heal, but not all the time, so like you said hes on a lead!

I also like what you said about choosing where to go and when to bring her, i think sometimes its easy to be selfish and want the dog to go everywhere, without thinking of this risks (again this varies for every dog?)

I cant stand extending leads, i see so many people in fields of sheep with 5 meters worth of lead out and the dog runnign at the sheep. WTF is the point of the lead then?

ive lost a lead on a walk out and had to walk mylo to heel for quite a way down a busy road, most frightening thing i have done, i had to completeyl focus on him, he was fine but i was worried, got to the car and realised i could of taken my belt of! What a knob! Now i always have a spare accessory cord lead ;)
Ridge - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c:
It's totally dependent on the terrain and the dog. Mines a lot better on steep ground than I am, but you have to consider the safety of the dog, and more importantly, humans in the vicinity. I'd be gutted if he fell off a crag, but even more so if he took someone out on the way down.
peas65 - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c:

My dog loves winter, im pretty sure he prefers it to summer. Having said that, i will leave him at home when climbing above grade 1 or if its really icy.

I dont trust him enough to leave him somewhere in winter whilst climbing as he loves to roam and would probably follow anyone on the fells so long as they threw a snowball for him.

Every dog is different though. Just like in summer, some are happy on grade 2 scrambles but others wont even have a go at a rock step. Just like humans are different!
IainRUK - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c: I'm not to sure re load bearing.. I lift mine with it, but never over a big drop so not sure..

I find them really handy to keep track of them at night..

http://sarzmountainrun.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/cynghorion-night-run.html

We used small red lights in the past, but these broke/fell off and the harnesses are really reflective.. just flash the torch around and you'll pick them up..
climber david - on 13 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c:

pretty sure the ruffwear double back harness is load bearing, at least according to pets at home website

http://www.theonlinepetstore.co.uk/prod_show.asp?prodid=3262&ref=froogle
WILLS - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c: I use the ruff wear search and rescue harness. It was discontinued a few years back. It's somewhere between their webmaster and double back harness. I've belayed him from a dmm super couloir harness when on dodgy short exposed or hard sections with a length of 10m half rope. For walking I sometimes clip his extendable lead to the harness and control him that way. Most of the time though he sorts himself out.
Peter Metcalfe - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c:

Our dog loves the cold. She's often left tied up for several hours at a time whilst we are climbing, in summer and winter, and has never once shown any signs of discomfort. Quite incredible.

That said, she is an Akita which were originally bred to withstand the winters in the mountains in the North of Japan, and I certainly wouldn't treat most dogs this way!

Peter
blackcat on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c:Having read all the other posts,id have to stick to my guns and say anyone taking there dogs onto difficult terrain in winter is irrisponsible not only for the dogs sake but yourself and the safety of other climbers,i could not but help get involved in trying to rescue anyones dog,and a lot of people feel the same way,walking mountain by easy walking routes on a lead is fine,but again thats my opinion.
happy_c - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Peter Metcalfe: Mylo is a springer, so not exactly bred for the same conditions as an akita . . . although he runs around that bloody fast ive only seen him cold once when i had to get him on a lead, after hed jumped in a river, but it was in winter.

this is my issue with taking him out in the mountains, if i need to put him on a lead, and hes soaking wet, i doubt he would keep warm enough, and hed probably try and kill himself out of bordem!

We considered another dog for a short while, and i think the only other dog id get would be an akita, whats yours like with other dogs?
happy_c - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to blackcat: I do agree in some ways, but not in others.

I think if your dog stays by your side and your on big easy paths, then your fine, but most dogs that go out on the hills, tend to be lively so like you said could get themselves into risk .

Id rather leave my dog at home (and this is what im going to do) than keep him on the lead all the time, and in winter, this could be a lot around difficult terrain!

Like you id happily risk my life trying to rescue a dog, and id hate to be the person who caused all that.

I think im going to stick to summer stuff, and even then if i do anything near crags hell have a harness on, and in winter at most ill do none craggy easy stuff.

Id love for him to come into gullies, i know hed manage easier than me, he can certainly climb better than me! But its not fair on him, or others when/if it goes tits up, and ive no interest in him being on a lead for long periods, hed be miserable!
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Dave Ferguson - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c:
>
> Like you id happily risk my life trying to rescue a dog

then I think you need to re-examine your priorities.
happy_c - on 14 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave Ferguson: I don't disagree!
Peter Metcalfe - on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c:

Our Akita is a fantastic dog and great with people. However, she's not very friendly with other dogs that show anything but total submission!

Peter
Stone Idol - on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c: A friend had a border collie that could get up grade 3 ice (well, ok, one). Had her own harness and just loved being in the hills. We carried a mat for her to sit on - apart from that no problems. She was out in the heavy '70's winters and kept going until the arthritis got her - like everyone else. So like the man said - it depends on the dog.
Taurig - on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c:

Probably goes without saying, but if your dog isn't a hardy breed, make sure it has a coat on it. I had a pretty harrowing experience where I had to help my mate down the hill while he carried and tried to warm up his hypothermic terrier. Sadly, despite racing to the emergency vets the dog died later that day. It was a mistake that I doubt he'll forget.
midweekjolly2 - on 15 Dec 2012
In reply to happy_c:
I was slightly cautious at first when a friend suggested taking his dog out in winter
never have i seen a dog so happy! yes we leave her tied up usually in lee of boulders..handy for tieing to, yes we make a snowshelter.(good practice for anyone), yes we leave our sacks (stop people thinking shes abandoned)
what have i learnt..even in the cairngorms in howling gales when we return to the dog whats the first thing she does when set loose...roll in the snow..hmm i think the dogs not suffering..mind you this depends on the breed and dog
the dog is suki..the forementioned akita..a breed designed for minus numbers
quite frankly if we can cope , she can..i am sure this is not the case for all breeds
just my humble rant
happy_c - on 16 Dec 2012
In reply to Peter Metcalfe:
> (In reply to happy_c)
>
> Our Akita is a fantastic dog and great with people. However, she's not very friendly with other dogs that show anything but total submission!
>
> Peter

That seems to be a common trait within them, as I have another dog, and regularly go to a park full of of the lead dogs, maybe an akita would not be wise......
Neil Pratt - on 16 Dec 2012
In reply to Taurig:
> (In reply to happy_c)
>
> Probably goes without saying, but if your dog isn't a hardy breed, make sure it has a coat on it. I had a pretty harrowing experience where I had to help my mate down the hill while he carried and tried to warm up his hypothermic terrier. Sadly, despite racing to the emergency vets the dog died later that day. It was a mistake that I doubt he'll forget.

Sad to hear - it's probably worth being circumspect even if you have one of the hardier breeds. Our collies are both from working stock, so look very comfortable out in all weathers in the sort of upland areas where you'd expect to find them operating, but I noticed that they were pretty subdued on higher ridges and summits when it was really cold and windy. We knocked up a couple of windproof jackets for them from a pair of old waterproof trousers, which seem to have done the trick in terms of their comfort levels.

For security on steep or exposed ground, I use the basic Ruffwear harness and a short length of climbing rope with a screwgate krab to 'confidence rope' them - the harness aren't designed to be load bearing, but I keep them on a tight rope, just to prevent any slips becoming more serious. Interestingly, the dogs tend to be pretty good at indicating if they're not happy at any point and tend to come in close and get a bit whiny - as soon as they're clipped in, the whining stops and the tails are wagging again.


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