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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:
- 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:
- Pine’s Facebook Page
- Boundary Training
- Off-leash obedience in tough situations
- The “Can You Listen When” Game
- Hand Targets
Kayla grew up in northern Wisconsin and studied ecology and animal behavior at Colorado College. She founded Journey Dog Training in 2013 to provide high-quality and affordable dog behavior advice. She’s an avid adventurer and has driven much of the Pan-American Highway with her border collie Barley. She now travels the US in a 2006 Sprinter with her two border collies, Barley and Niffler. Aside from running Journey Dog Training, Kayla also runs the nonprofit K9 Conservationists, where she and the dogs work as conservation detection dog teams.