This past weekend, we went to one of our favorite local hikes: Solstice Canyon in Malibu, California.
To say we are lucky to live here is an understatement; there is no shortage of beautiful weather or outdoor activities. It makes finding adventures easy!
For this one, we took Soko and Pow. They are seasoned pros when it comes to travel, especially hiking. They love following us on the trail, figuring out pathways on the rocks, and jumping over the creeks.
Once we get out of the valley (which is full of people and dogs) and up into the hills, there are few to no other people, and we let the pups off-leash so long as we can see where we're going. The boys have excellent recall and are both older (9 and 5 years old) so that we know there is little to no risk of them bolting (neither has EVER bolted!) or wandering off unseen. However, always take precaution, and in ANY new or unfamiliar situation, keep them leashed and close by, especially if your dog may not be the most friendly to strangers, children, or other dogs or wildlife.
For most of the hike, we keep them on-leash. I personally prefer a rope leash because they are strong and have a good weight to them. They don't have the risk of snapping, and their weight always lets me know that they are firmly attached to me if I strap them onto my waist. Here are some great options:
I also use harnesses, no collars. Harnesses when hiking are ESSENTIAL. If your dog happens to stray too far near a ledge or loses their footing, a harness gives you a good safe and secure way to pull your dog to safety. If your dog wears a collar for idenitifcation reasons, that's great! But keep your leash attached to the harness. The harnesses I use are mesh-front (more comfortable, reduces rubbing, and gives more safe support if the harness needs to hold their weight. They also dry quickly if your pup gets into some water.) Below are 2 good examples.
The exact one that I use is the PETCO harness. I love it because of the mesh front with the soft neck area, and the secure, adjustable clips on the back of the neck AND around the body. It keeps it snug and secure without the risk of my dogs slipping free!
Another must-have for hiking or travel with dogs is a travel bowl or two. When hiking, the most convenient is one that clips onto their leash. I keep it on Soko's leash permanently, and use it constantly. I bring the dogs to brunch with me quite often, and it's helpful to have their own bowl for water. When traveling, I bring a second and use it to offer them some kibble while on the road. They collapse flat and pack easily, not taking up room, and are easy to clean.
When hiking, they're a great, easy way to offer the pups some water. I prefer one that comes with a clip for their leash, but you could also carry them in a bookbag or even in a pocket. I always bring a water on hikes, so I simply pour them some of mine! Taking a break every hour or so is a good bet, but as it gets hotter out, please use your judgement and watch for signs over overheating or exhaustion and let your pups rest as needed. I also always offer them a drink at the end of the hike so that they can hydrate before the car ride home (where they usually nap the entire ride!)
One more thing: poop bags. The last thing another hiker would want to deal with is stepping into dog doo while on a beautiful, scenic hike. Please be sure to keep some on hand and be a good dog owner by leaving no mess behind! I keep one clipped onto Pow's leash so that I don't forget them! I like these because they're earth-friendly and come with 16 whole rolls PLUS the clip-on dispenser:
Hopefully this covers every essential you may need for a nice afternoon hike. In one of the next posts, we'll cover what to do for the actual car-ride part of the trip, which is part of the fun for your pup!
As always, if you have any other products to recommend, or would like to see a specific topic covered, please CONTACT us.
'Til next time!