Here's our rules for hiking with your dog:

  1. Maintain excellent health through proper diet and exercise. This makes it less likely they will eat inappropriate things due to nutritional deficiencies and will help ensure they are not overweight and have the stamina for hikes.
  2. Keep up with appropriate vaccinations (or titers) and vet checkups to ensure their best possible health.
  3. If they are off lead, have an excellent recall.  We carry treats with us to provide extra value for coming when called, staying close and checking in with us on their own.
  4. Use walks or hikes to practice your training, provide extra mental stimulation, and help maintain a solid connection with you. Play fetch, practice agility, or other tricks and exercises.  This keeps their brain working and focused on you, not on other things that might distract them.
  5. Keep them close and within sight at all times, especially small dogs who are more likely to get snatched by a cunning coyote.
  6. Inspect them after each hike for scratches, bite marks, skin irritations, or the presence of ticks and fleas and remove or apply first aid as needed.
  7. Do not let them drink from water sources that are accessible by wildlife, especially birds. This applies even if you keep a water dish outside for your dog and birds also drink from it.
  8. Do not let them put their noses into a small hole in the ground to sniff.  Fleas, especially, can lie in wait at the base of a hole to latch onto their next host when one comes by and takes a sniff. A solid Leave It can help with this.
  9. If they do capture an animal or find a dead one, even if it is a low threat to biting your dog, remove the animal from them as quickly as possible. Teaching a reliable Drop It can be valuable here.
  10. Try to never let your dog ingest an animal or animal part they might find. A wild animal can carry fleas or bacteria that can transfer to your skin.

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