Ep. 14: Dogs and the Great Outdoors

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In today’s episode, we are going to talk about heading outdoors with dogs. Our guest, Pine Irwin of Irwin Dog Training, specializes in outdoor adventures. She teaches private lessons and leads a group that is all focused on helping dogs excel in the outdoors, from backpacking to shorter hikes.

We talk all about safety and benefits of off-leash (and on-leash) hiking with our dogs.

What Are the Benefits of Heading Outdoors With Dogs?

  • Sniffs and Smells are good for the brain
  • Body conditioning: using the outdoors to keep a dog and human fit
  • Dirt under your feet is better than pavement, especially for joints
  • Relaxing for the dog (and you)

What Are Some Options for People Who Don’t Live Near Excellent Trail Systems?

  • Urban city parks are still great
  • Gravel or dirt roads – your dog doesn’t know he’s missing an amazing vista
  • Make friends to carpool and split gas costs

On-Leash Versus Off-Leash Hiking

  • Long lines are an excellent compromise for dogs who aren’t trustworthy off leash
  • Off-leash and moving is generally better for keeping dogs friendly if dogs aren’t socially savvy. Just keep moving!
  • If you’re going off-leash, you’ve got to:
    • Know your area.
    • Know the laws.
    • Know the predators, their behavior, and the risks around them.
    • Know the other trail users
    • Know your dog – what sort of situations will challenge him, and when should you clip the leash on?
  • Ideally, your dog should have a few different cues for recall or stopping. For example, between Kayla and Pine, they both use:
    • Come
    • Hand targets
    • Emergency down
    • Fly-bys (running past)
    • Off road (hopping off the trail to let others pass)

Why Is Hiking So Good For Dogs?

  • Dogs don’t get to “just be dogs” nearly enough.
  • If your dog burns off his adrenaline on the trail, he’s got less anxiety for later on.
  • You and your dog build relationships, skills, and trust without the pressure of a cityscape

For Further Reading:

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