/ Hillwalking with dogs? Tips!

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L Charliesmum - on 14 Nov 2017

I walk with my collie cross whippet. I use a canicross belt and harness with a long line - sadly I can’t trust him not to head off in search of sheep! He is the charlie in my name (dogs are better than children in my mind!)

I find a longish line with some elasticity works and I use canicross commands to help him go ahead of me appropriately.

He can handle anything I can - I’m not up for anything more than scrambling and he’s amazing at that.

Cos he’s part whippet he has a very thin coat (no fur on his belly at all) so I have a nice fleece designed for agility dogs and a lightweight coat if it’s too wet.

So far we’ve done Cumbria and north wales together

So have you guys got any tips for hillwalking with dogs?

Post edited at 08:10
Flinticus - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Charliesmum:

Use a good dog harness. Helps lifting up scramble bits and over fences or minor gaps in the terrain.
GravitySucks - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Charliesmum:

> (dogs are better than children in my mind!)

Yeah way better than kids, I've been trying to train the kids to fetch my slippers for years but to no avail, little Shih Tzu's ;-)
girlymonkey - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Charliesmum:

Watch his paws on scree or rough rock types, consider boots for him if going on that sort of terrain. (Practice with boots in the house first until he is happy in them, first steps in them are hilarious!!)
If you want to get him off lead, there is a company called absolute dogs on Facebook who have a DVD called Leash off, game on. We are still not off lead on hills but feel we are much closer using their games.
We are also going down the canicross direction for now but for smaller days I use a long line so it replicates off lead a bit and can work on 'off lead' training. (Not an extendible, but a 10m long training line).
veteye on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Flinticus:

> Use a good dog harness.

Add small helium balloons for the really steep sections, but keep the lead on...

In reply to Charliesmum:

Sounds like you're already well versed in walking with a mutt, but this article might still have some useful tips:

How to go Hillwalking with Your Dog: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/page.php?id=8993
L Charliesmum - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to girlymonkey:
I’ve been thinking about boots - have found his paws to be ok so far but I’ve been careful do you have any you like? When do you think I should invest? We’ve done week long hillwalking and he’s been ok so far but I’d rather have them before i need them? Have you tried paw butter? I haven’t either but a friend suggested it but she doesn’t do moutains so?

I’m a dog trainer - I just don’t trust my breed with sheep ever - very high prey drive combined with sheep herding instinct isnt good. His recall is ace in other ways. Look up ‘flirt pole’ training if you don’t already know it it’s a very good impulse control game and very fun for dogs with any sort of prey drive!

Finally I love long lines - won’t use a extendable lead I think they are dangerous and also teach the dog to pull - the opposite of what I want! He now pulls on command (a helpful assist up steeper bits!)
Post edited at 10:12
L Charliesmum - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to veteye:

The really steep bits I unclip and he leaps up like a goat while I struggle upwards. He often will come back down to check on me before jumping up again a few times- he’s very helpful like that...
L Charliesmum - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Flinticus:

II think perfect fit is my favourite at the moment cos he’s such a weird shape - what do you recommend?
girlymonkey - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Charliesmum:

We had had no problems with his paws but then a day on the red cuillin in Skye left them very bruised. I think with boots it is so dependant on fit that it's hard to recommend. Ruffwear ones get a good reputation and are probably the easiest to get hold of to try before you buy, but if they don't fit then there are plenty others online to try.

I still hope to get ours off lead eventually (he's still only 18 months), he is a mongrel so bread type is not one I can base any decisions on! Prey drive is huge but he is improving. Yes, we use a flirt pole among other things. I'm hoping that as we do more canicross (we have literally just started that) that he will get better at focussing on my commands in high energy and exciting environments which might help his chasing too. He only wants to chase, no interest in catching, but that is still no use when sheep are involved!
L Charliesmum - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to girlymonkey:

He’s only young- good luck! Mine came to me with a lot of issues at two and half so I am pretty careful with him I found canicross really helpful for Charlie with focusing on me and commands etc. I don’t do it at the moment thanks to an ankle injury ((( which is a shame cos we loved it. Am hoping ankle gets stronger and we can do it again.




toad - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Charliesmum:

Harness and a shorter lead, especially in bird nesting season. There was some research done in the peak about disturbance along footpaths and i seem to remember there was a real difference in long vs short leads.

I cant seem to find it atm, i saw it at a conference, so it might nevef have been published
Run_Ross_Run - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Charliesmum:


'but keep the lead on...'

Probably the best bit of advice.
Flinticus - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Charliesmum:

I use a Ruffwear harness. Good solid buckles and carry handle.

L Charliesmum - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Charliesmum:

I forgot best bit of kit!

Poo holder by duck soup! Non smelly container that holds full poobags and that clips on anywhere... eliminates smelly pockets....
girlymonkey - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Charliesmum:

We got ours as 6 months. Probably fewer issues than yours but still has his fair share! We have made loads of progress, but still a long way to go!

Hope your ankle gets better soon!
benp1 - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Charliesmum:

Last (proper) walks I did with my dog was Loughrigg Fell in the summer and up Devils Kitchen and round the Glyders in the spring

Devils Kitchen was much more scrambly than I was expecting but my lab was excellent. There were two sections that he needed a hand with as there was no way he could get up easily.

I don't think a harness would have helped for that. He's 34kg (and all muscle, he's not a classic fat lab) so lifting him one handed would have been tough. I find it easier to pick him up in my arms and lob him over a style (gently...!) than to use a harness
girlymonkey - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to benp1:

I tend to lift with one hand on harness handle and other under the chest, harness only doesn't look comfy for the dog but the handle allows me to be sure I have a good grip if he wriggles or is muddy and wet. Mine is half the weight of yours though, which does make it easier! Lol
toad - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to benp1:
My current dog is similar sized. 'Cos I do a lot of boating, I have a buoyancy aid for him. He's a lot easier to lift at 37kgs with a handle on his back, than to just wrestle him, plus if he slips he's not getting pulled up by his neck. My old lab sounds similar to yours, but the vet warned me about encouraging him over stiles as he got older because of the usual labby hip/joint problems

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