Hiking With Your Dog: From a Short Walk to a Long Excursion
As soon as the first warm rays of the sun drive away the cold winter, people and animals are drawn to the fresh air. The long, cozy hours on the sofa are over. Instead, long walks are on the agenda. But if the walk is to become a long hike, the dog needs tailor-made training in case of doubt.
Take Your Dog With You for a Hike Without Training: Hot or Not?
Just like humans, dogs have to get used to the high stress of a long hike. This is especially true if you have only taken relatively short walks in the past few weeks and months. If owners think: “My dog is fit, he is always prepared for permanent stress,” this can have unpleasant consequences. Of course, many dogs are agile, and it’s great to see them move lively through the terrain, happily charging ahead. But the stress on the dog’s body when hiking should not be underestimated. Dogs should also be given a chance to get used to endurance sports slowly. In addition, not every breed is equally suitable for long hikes.
Which Breeds of Dogs Love Long Walks?
Some dog breeds are predestined for long tours in nature. These include, for example, Podencos, Jack Russel Terriers, and Dachshunds. Yes, even small breeds have a lot of energy and trot persistently for hours next to their humans. Australian Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Weimaraners, Labrador Retrievers, and English Setters are also possible. Poodles also like to cover long distances, but the pace has to be right. It can’t be too fast. But many other breeds also like to be on extensive hiking tours. Whether a mixed breed dog, shepherd dog, or terrier: Owners can usually assess how fit and agile their dog is.
Puppies: Raise Them First, Then Hike
Before puppies can go longer distances with their owners, they have to learn a lot, grow and try out a lot. Very small dogs should only be allowed to walk on a leash for a few minutes and then be allowed to rest again. You are not old enough to go on a hike. In addition, a dog must be able to master the basic commands and react reliably to the recall before going off-road. Owners therefore first have the task of raising their puppy.
Walking With a Dog: When Are Dogs Allowed to Walk Long Distances?
Dogs should be of a certain age before they have to hike for hours. The reason is that ligaments and joints are heavily stressed on long tours. If they are not yet well trained and not very resilient, the little four-legged friends cannot keep up.
- Long walks of 60 minutes are possible for dogs – depending on the breed – from the 9th month of life.
- From the first year of life, i.e. at an approximate age of 12 months, longer hikes are usually possible – provided that the dog’s condition is appropriately trained.
Tip: Owners should also consider whether a hike is an option for older animals. A long hike is not a good idea if the dog is in poor condition or if a dog suffers from signs of wear and tear, such as back or hip problems.