The Beginner’s Guide to Hiking with a Dog

This post may contain affiliate links and ads. Read our disclosure policy here.

Our furry friends are great company when we go hiking or backpacking. The next time you want to enjoy a walk in the forest, consider bringing them along. Their raw curiosity and enthusiasm can be intoxicating, heightening the thrill of enjoying the outdoors. If this is your first time to go hiking with your dog, you need to be well prepared. This article offers you tips on how to go hiking with your dog as a beginner.

Dog on a hike

Make sure your dog can handle the hike

Not all dogs love hiking. This is an activity that requires stamina. It can be physically taxing. If your dog is older or sickly, he might not be able to handle the hike. Other dogs are prone to heat strokes, something that can adversely affect your hiking experience. Understand your dog’s physical abilities before you decide to set out for the hike.

Is the campground pet-friendly?

Before you head off to a camping/hiking ground, do your research to determine if they allow campers to have pets with them. Not all campgrounds allow dogs or other pets. Other camps allow dogs but give conditions and regulations that must be followed. Make sure you check out our list of must-have supplies for camping with your dog.

Start with a moderate terrain

If this is the first time hiking with your dog, start them off on moderate terrain. The idea is to introduce the dog to hiking and see how they enjoy it. Although some dogs take to hiking like fish take to the water, you do not want to tire the dog too much the first day. Let them build stamina and hiking endurance before you start tackling more challenging trails.

Protect their paws

If you will be walking in rough terrain, you may opt to protect their paws by wearing booties. Note: this may be a new experience for your dog, and you may want to consider practicing with them at home first. Dogs can easily get bruises on their paws because they are curious, running into thorny bushes or across sharp bits of nature without hesitation. Trim their toenails to lessen the tension they might have while walking. Trimming nails also prevents the dogs from tearing your tent with their nails. If you skip the booties but worry that your dog will drag lots of mud into your car or house, check out this portable dog paw washer! It’s small, easy-to-take anywhere and gets rave reviews!

Keep the dog on a leash

Always make sure you have your dog on a leash when you go hiking. This allows you to control your dog and will prevent them from wandering too far off in the distance. Make sure you have your contact information and phone number written on your dog’s collar, just in case he does manage to get loose.

Teach your dog how to obey commands

It can be very challenging going hiking with a dog that does not know how to respond to basic commands. You want to keep your dog on track, and that means that now and then you will need to shout a command. If the dog understands these commands, your hiking experience will be more successful and enjoyable.

Observe the hiking ground rules

You should always do your part to keep a hiking trail clean. Carry waste bags to pick after your dog and then dispose of the waste the right way. Some campgrounds are very strict about this and failure to observe these rules may land you with hefty penalties. Always keep your dog on a leash around other hikers and campers.

Do you hike with your dog? Are there any tips that you can think of that we didn’t include on our list? Leave us a comment and let us know! 


Guide to Hiking with a Dog

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.