Few activities allow you to enjoy nature as close and genuine as hiking in the mountains. The clear air, the spectacular view from the summit, and the heavenly peace and seclusion that you experience are very close to paradise for people who love nature.
You can upgrade this experience, like any other, by bringing your best friends with you. There is hardly anything nicer for your four-legged friend than being out in the fresh air with your family. For the dog as a running animal, easy mountain hikes are the best kind of leisure activity. However, if you want to explore the mountain world with your four-legged friend, you should consider a few things so that the tour is a great experience for both dog and person.
Gradually get used to new heights
The most important thing first is: You have to be aware that a mountain hike can also be a great physical strain for the dog. Even if you are fit and can handle the mountain air very well, you have to slowly get your dog used to the exertion and the special conditions of such a hike. Doing the first tour in the high mountains is not a good idea.
On a somewhat quieter hike in a low mountain range, you learn to assess your four-legged friend better and to interpret signs that indicate that his strength is slowly running out. Because there is nothing worse for a dog than disappointing its human. Therefore, the animals tend to show weakness only when they are completely exhausted and can hardly move at all. However, if you know how resilient your dog is, you can take breaks in good time and give it the much-needed rest. It is therefore best that the dog runs either free or at least on a long leash so that it can set its own pace and you can tell when a break is needed.
Even if you’ve got your four-legged friend used to the height and the strain, that doesn’t mean that you can just drive into the mountains and start hiking. Before doing this, you should gather information about which routes are suitable for dogs. The local tourist office, mountain guides, or internet research before departure provide important information. Starting from the accommodation, you can plan great tours that are ideal for the dog and owner and guarantee fun on holiday.
Most people will be surprised at the complicated distances dogs can cover. In rough terrain, they often move better and more skilfully than their two-legged companions. But as I said: As far as the distance and the altitude to be overcome are concerned, you shouldn’t overtax your dog.
What to have with you
The equipment that you should always take with you when you go hiking in the mountains with your dog is essentially the same as what we presented in our article on hiking with a dog in general – so here is the most important thing in a nutshell :
- Leash (and possibly a muzzle): It is not only important to find out about the route in advance, but also about the local regulations on the leash requirement.
- Harness instead of collar: A well-fitting, padded harness distributes the pressure of the leash and provides security if the dog slips
- “Booties”: The small paw protectors make long distances much more bearable for dogs. Always think of a replacement!
- Carrying bag with food, first-aid kit for people and animals, and, above all, sufficient water
- A carrying device with which you can help your four-legged companion over particularly complicated sections.
If the dog is sufficiently prepared for hiking, nothing stands in the way of conquering the summit with a dog. As a precaution, you can of course visit the vet beforehand and clarify whether the dog is up to the physical challenge.