We all love getting outside and making the most of the fresh air. Including your dog when hiking in the countryside can be an enjoyable experience for you and for your dog. No doubt your energetic best friend will encourage you to pick up the pace, but since he will have a different perspective on the surroundings, he will likely help you to notice things during your hike which you might otherwise have missed.
To make the most of your hikes with your dog, make sure that you are adequately prepared. Gear exists for all manners of expeditions, and your canine friend can even wear a backpack and carry his own food and supplies! You can find great hiking gear for all sizes of dogs, including your cockapoo, on the internet. Gear like this Mountainsmith Dog Pack is rugged, handy, and lasts a long time.
Be sure to obtain a dog license and check that your dog has his identification tag attached to his collar. Obviously, you would not wish to make your dog hike for many miles if he is aging or suffers from any serious medical conditions. You would want your dog to have a fairly good level of health and fitness. Your dog should also be up to date with his vaccinations, and it is a good idea to have his nails trimmed before venturing into the wild. Instead of making your first hike an all day trek, start with shorter distances, and gradually build up the time and distance you spend hiking with your dog.
As well as a dog which is fit and healthy, you will need to be sure that your dog is trained to be obedient to you.
Just as people need to be aware of nutrition when exercising, likewise you will need to care for the energy levels of your active pet. It is best not to feed your dog immediately before a hike or a period of exercise, since he may suffer from sickness. Instead, feed him after the hike when he is suitably rest
Before setting out on a trail, check whether or not dogs are permitted in the area you intend to explore. Some state and national parks do not allow dogs on their trails, so it is best to check in advance, to avoid disappointment.
You are responsible for your dog and his behavior at all times. You will need to keep your dog on a leash and must closely supervise him to make sure he is under your control. In particular, be aware of your dogs behavior when he comes into contact with other dogs, with fellow hikers, particularly children. So that the parkland is not spoiled in any way, do not allow your dog to chase after wildlife.
As part of your pre-hike preparation, be sure to pack a water bowl and plenty of water for your dog so that he may stay suitably hydrated. Dogs with particularly dark or heavy coats may also suffer from thirst, so be aware of how your dog might be feeling during the hike. If possible, try not to hike or be overly energetic during the hottest part of the day. Hiking in the mornings and evenings is often recommended if you are hiking in a warm climate. As well as an adequate supply of water, if you intend hiking for a large portion of the day, bring some treats or food for your dog so that he can maintain his energy levels.
It is a sensible idea to take a first aid kit with you when hiking. Not just for yourself, but also for any injuries which you dog may suffer whilst out walking. Dogs are more prone to injuring the pads of their feet whilst out hiking since they will likely come into contact with sticks, sharp rocks, thorns and so on. Also be aware of the surfaces which you walk on, since some surfaces can become hot during the heat of the day and may cause harm to your dogs paws.
Some plant life which you may come across during your hike may be harmful to you as well as to your dog. With this in mind, be aware of plants like poison ivy, and do not allow your dog near such greenery. As well as being on the look out for plant life, your dog may also come into contact with ticks and fleas, or may be exposed to other diseases passed on from animals in the wild. Seek your veterinarians advice before heading out on the trails, as he may suggest vaccinations against conditions such as Lyme disease.
Make a point of bringing pet waste bags for cleaning up after your dog, as you would not want to spoil trails for use by other hikers.