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Hiking with dog – for which dog is it suitable, how to build it properly and avoid overload and injuries?

Wandern mit Hund ist eine beliebte Aktivität. Doch für welchen Hund eignet es sich,, wie trainiert man richtig und vermeidet Verletzungen?

Hiking with a dog is an activity that many dog owners love. It is simply wonderful to explore nature together with your dog. But what do you have to consider if you want to go hiking with your dog? Can you just get started, or are there things you should be aware of? I summarize the most important facts in the article.

Can any dog hike?

Clearly no. Hiking is a physical exertion that not every dog is up to, and when in doubt, the activity can be detrimental to health. Care should be taken with short-nosed dogs, for example, as they may experience breathing problems.

With puppies and young dogs should refrain from hiking in any case. The load on the joints is intense. Therefore, I would only go hiking with an adult dog, meaning the growth phase must be completed. Before that, in any case, you can physically prepare the dog for hiking. You can train his body awareness, coordination and good musculature, while slowly and gently building endurance.

In the case of small dogs, it should be taken into account that they have to walk correspondingly more steps due to their smaller body size and the route should be adjusted accordingly. The terrain should also be physically manageable for the small dog.

Older dogs and dogs with diseases of the musculoskeletal system

Here, you can’t make a blanket statement that senior dogs or those affected by joint problems shouldn’t be allowed to hike. This must always be decided individually. However, if a dog is in pain, lame or has movement restrictions, then hiking is absolutely off limits. Otherwise, even a dog with, for example, arthritis or hip dysplasia or a gray muzzle can go hiking with you, as long as the length and the nature of the route is adapted to him.

And then? Just go for a hike? – Taking your dog hiking without much preparation – Yes or No?

This can end badly for your dog in doubt. Most dogs do well off-road – no question about it. They love to be out and about with us and enjoy walking over hill and dale – and have the sore muscles of the century at the end of the day.

Many dog owners underestimate the special physical demands that hiking places on dogs. Uphill and downhill slopes, as well as rough terrain, are much more challenging than the normal walk. The cardiovascular system and also the musculoskeletal system are heavily stressed. So some preparation is necessary if you do not want to harm your dog. The first step should be to ensure that the dog is in good health to hike. Organically and also in terms of the musculoskeletal system, the activity must be okay for him. According to the health needs, you can then begin to pursue the hobby of hiking with dogs.

Getting started with hiking – this is how it works!

Here I recommend that you pay close attention to the length and difficulty of the route. Start with easy and short routes. Increase slowly and with care. Observe your dog well. He should not be severely exhausted after the hike and should not fall behind on the way. Physical needs and capabilities are the top priority.

If you start unprepared and ambitious immediately with a demanding and extensive hike, you risk injuries, muscle soreness and overload damage.

Physically prepare for hiking – train the physical fitness.

In addition, I encourage you to prepare your dog physically for your activity and to build him up.

Here, the focus is on the following factors in particular: Endurance, strength and, body awareness and coordination.

Exercise endurance

If you are just starting to hike with your dog, or you haven’t hiked in a while, then training is first in order to prepare the dog physically for hiking.

Regular fitness training is important. You can do this, for example, with trotting units (alternating with stride units at the beginning) to promote healthy endurance. Jogging together or running on the bike at a trot also train endurance. The cardiovascular system is also made fit through this. This comes into play especially with altitude differences and when the routes are longer.

Here you can find my tips for jogging and cycling with dog.

Dog fitness exercises as accompanying and preparatory training while hiking

Strength, coordination and body awarenessshould also be good so that the dog does not injure itself if possible and can cope well in the field.

Since the physical strain is different than during everyday walks, the dog’s body must also be precisely prepared for it. This works great with active movement exercises from dog fitness. Only with a good body feeling the dog can move safely even in rough terrain and injuries can be avoided.

My Basicfit class focuses on building good basic fitness, strength, body awareness and coordination. If your dog is already well trained, then the Profifit course is perfect to further strengthen him.

Warm Up and Cool Down also when hiking with dog?

In any case, take the time to warm up your dog briefly before you start and for a cool down after the hike. You reduce the risk of injury and at the same time the regeneration phase is shortened. The dog can better cope with the physical stress. The warm up prepares the body for the following physical stress.

By the way: The perfect complement to the Cool Down is a soothing massage. Most dogs love them. It relieves tension and also relieves pain.

Here you can find more about warm up for dogs and here different exercise suggestions.

When have you put too much on the dog and how can you avoid it?

Basically, a hike should be well planned so that it is finished BEFORE the dog is severely exhausted. So, if possible, it should be avoided that you overload the dog, as this not only strains the health in the short term, but can also have long-term health consequences.

If you notice on the way that your dog lets itself fall back again and again, pants strongly, itself ggfs. If the dog lies down, this is a clear sign that it is overtaxed. This has nothing to do with laziness. Give him an appropriate break in this situation, give him a chance to drink, and don’t move on until he’s physically recovered enough that it’s okay for him.

I wish you and your dog lots of fun on your hiking trips together!

All the love, your Tina

Dieser Beitrag ist auch verfügbar auf: Français (French) Deutsch (German) Español (Spanish)

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