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williswall
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PostSat Aug 10, 2019 10:01 pm 
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Howdy, my daughter and I are planning on taking my son's mini Aussie Shepherd with us on a 3 day hike the end of this month. She is 2.5 years old but basically an apartment dog, so as a contingency we are getting some dog booties and I'll have a large pack in case I have to carry her; however, barring injury to her pads, she should be able to handle upwards of 10-13 miles per day. My initial plan is the Spider Gap-Lyman Lakes-PCT loop from Phelps Creek trailhead in Glacier Peak wilderness, but this is a 36 mile hike. We could extend another day but I'd prefer to keep the hike at 3 days.

For all you dog owners out there with hiking experience, and considering that this pooch doesn't get out much except the usual 2-4 mile walks, might you have some suggestions for us? Pretty sure she can hang in there for all day. She will be on leash the whole time. Cheers!

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Anne Elk
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PostSat Aug 10, 2019 10:17 pm 
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I don't have a route suggestion, but do get concerned about inadvertent pet abuse.  I've gotten the impression that pet owners often expect too much of their pets.  For an apartment dog, the daily distance you have in mind really seems a bit much for a first outing.

But maybe Wolffie would be a better person to opine on the capability of pooches on the trail.  From some of his TRs, it sounds like he really challenges ol' Al of the Short Legs. biggrin.gif  Better yet, Ruby Wrangler and others who've posted pics of their mighty trail hounds could give an opinion of what your son's dog can/should do.

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williswall
seeking tailwind



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PostSat Aug 10, 2019 10:21 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
could give an opinion of what your son's dog can/should do.

Just what I am looking for...I've had her out for 7 mile trail hikes with no problem but certainly don't want to inadvertently abuse her, which is why I'm asking for advice. I'm thinking that 36 mile loop may in fact be asking too much, and I really don't want to add 28 pounds to my pack.

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neek
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PostSat Aug 10, 2019 10:53 pm 
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Any way to test her out on a long hike before then?  That would help toughen her feet up as well.  Those booties can be great but some dogs lose them quickly.  I bet even now she could hike you into the dirt, but who knows.  A big concern can be water - dogs can be dumb about tanking up when the opportunity presents itself.  Also they don't cool themselves nearly as effectively as we do.  I had to help carry a big guy out once who might have been suffering from heat exhaustion.  Seemed to me he  wasn't going to pull through, but the owners said a few days later he was fine.  Whereas people are generally whiners, animals tend to hide their pain, so I agree with AE that you should be aware of causing inadvertent suffering.  The ground can get hot on a sunny day - keep an eye on those pads.  A route with plenty of shade is always appreciated.  On the route you are planning, you could always turn around on the second day if necessary.
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treeswarper
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 11:10 am 
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My beast is a small, 23 pound energized dog.  She is a town dog now--kinda similar to an apt. dog but is outside watching the squirrel tree.

I am having foot problems so we go on hour long walks in the morning.  For more than that, I ride a bike in the woods.  Her feet get worn on gravel.  I doubt you'll have to deal with that much.  She slows down a bit at 9 miles.  A bit and we are biking with her, which is a much faster pace than hiking.  I imagine an Australian Shepherd is of similar energy.  Your dog may heat up more with long hair.  Like people, if she is overweight, her mileage may be less, otherwise, I bet she can go the distance.

We try to plan our dog rides around areas with water spaced about 3 miles apart.  The Demon Dog knows what to do--flop down to cool off and drink.  Stay in water a while to cool.  Then off we go.

If you leash your dog, you may have good luck.  Loose dogs tear around and put more mileage on.  On a cool day, I estimate that my dog does double our mileage.  I also have what we jokingly call The Taser Collar on her so I can stop her should she take off after a deer or something.  A warning beep usually works.  Make sure your dog will return before letting it off leash.  And, keep it on a leash if the trail/area is busy.  I seldom have that to worry about.

I used to carry one emergency bootie when hiking with my Lab.  He did not wander and stayed right with me so usually did not injure his feet.  Being a lab, water spots or snow patches were extremely important to have.  Different breeds tolerate heat differently--labs do best at 40 to 50 degrees.

The urge to be Rolypoly happens.
The urge to be Rolypoly happens.

You will want to carry a ground pad and maybe a dog coat or blanket for the night.  Our dogs have "clothes" for where they live, not where they visit.  Little dogs can't tolerate as much cold as big dogs.

I wonder if using booties would cause a dog to over heat?  Dogs give off heat through their mouth and their foot pads.  Anybody know?

This time of year, make sure there will be shady and cool spots with water available.  That's the first thing I'd consider.

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Jeff
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 11:51 am 
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Go around Jack Mountain, aka the Devil's Dome loop. Adjust your start or end point along the lake to suit your needs.
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rubywrangler
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 12:09 pm 
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It's hard to give an opinion without knowing the dog, but she's young so if she's generally healthy she'd probably be fine on the spider gap loop as long as you make sure she gets enough water. Don't think that's an issue on the phelps side but there is a long dry stretch coming down from buck pass that you'd want to plan for. I haven't done the whole loop but the parts I've done are dirt trail (ie soft) so I wouldn't expect paw problems.  In my experience, sore paws are usually from prolonged travel on rock/talus.

Other dog-friendly ideas: west fork foss (but not a loop), goat rocks, sawtooth lakes, mormon ladies lakes (see Luke D's blog), Buckhorn wilderness loop (also on Luke D's blog).  Anywhere with water!
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kiliki
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 12:33 pm 
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I personally would pick something with fewer miles and without off trail sections like Spider Gap for a first backpacking trip with the pooch.

Our Aussie/Cattle dog mix isn't a great hiker. He gets a lot of exercise and we hike but if we take him backpacking we plan for good trails, lots of water, not too long days, etc. Sometimes on a hike he gets too hot, or he just needs a break, or he just needs reassurance (seriously--sometimes he needs a "petting break"). He really craps out if we do a 10 mile hike and has laid down on the trail and completely stopped before. I'm pretty cautious with him after mishaps I've had with previous dogs which I mentioned in the "what scares you..." thread so I wouldn't take my dog over Spider Gap though I'm sure there are intrepid dogs that can handle it. We ARE taking our dog the next few days to the Goat Rocks, where we've been before. We know the trails are good, not too rough, and there 's lot of water., and we can access primo scenery without doing too many miles a day.
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Grannyhiker
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 1:43 pm 
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Definitely test her out with an easier trip with much shorter days.  Back when the late Hysson (see my avatar) was alive, I seriously considered this loop (extending it to 7 days, though) and decided that it would be way too much for him.  And he'd been on a lot of relatively tough trips!  My biggest worries were the snowfield descent north of Spider Pass, the climb up to Buck Creek Pass (out in the midday and afternoon sun!) and that  long downhill slog back to Trinity--again, much of it exposed.  Those "out in the midday sun" slogs are really hard on dogs, who are more prone to heat illness than we are, even when in top condition.  It doesn't sound as though your pooch is in top condition.

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Anne Elk
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PostSun Aug 11, 2019 3:25 pm 
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I remember being a little shocked to see photos on the web of folks with their dogs on the summit of Vesper Peak, which can be just a day hike.  So much rock for tender paws, from Wirtz Basin onwards.  Another thing I've wondered about is extended snowfield crossings with dogs - are they not just as susceptible to snow-blindness?  Never saw one dog in online mtn pics wearing doggles.    cool.gif

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yukon222
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PostMon Aug 12, 2019 10:37 am 
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She is going to have a lot of fun, experiencing the sights and sounds and smells of the backcountry.

After going on hundreds of hikes and climbs with the Schmidt whippets (Rowena and Kiefer), I have a few suggestions for the "city" canine:

- pick up a simple harness, like the Ruff Wear series, where you can connect the leash to the top of the back instead of around the collar.  Much easier to keep the leash from getting caught up in the feet, etc.

- try and find trails that will have minimal amounts of talus type rock. That will be tough on a hound that hasn't built up the foot pads over time.  Booties will be a real struggle to keep on and last so I wouldn't count on them at all.

- bring a collapsible bowl for her water (and food) so she has water easily available at camps and break points.  Some hounds don't get it about drinking out of fast moving water streams.

- no pack weight at all for her.  Plan on carrying her food in your pack.

- too many miles over 3 days in my opinion for a city canine that hasn't built up endurance.  Since she'll be out "camping" without the comforts of home, I don't think she'll be as rested on Day 2 and Day 3.  Could be some stiff joints and minor aches and pains if she has to match mileage on Day 2 and Day 3 to get back.  Add in some sunshine and warm temps.

Have fun with her out in the woods.  She'll really enjoy experiencing the brand new world out there!!
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InFlight
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PostMon Aug 12, 2019 1:19 pm 
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One of the biggest issues in a August hike is allowing the dog opportunities to cool off.  Panting only goes so far on a warm August Day.  Picking a route along a slow moving stream that they can cool off in makes for huge difference (even if they're just a wader).   Hiking up a small tributary to a lake would be perfect. 

Do get a collapsible water bowl. 

I'll suggest Greenwater, Echo Lake, Noble Knob, Coral Pass, Lost Lake Loop (Norse Peak Wilderness).  There are consistent small streams and four lakes along the way. 

There's a good National Geo Map that covers the Goat Rocks, William Douglas, and Norse Peak area.

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williswall
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PostMon Aug 12, 2019 6:42 pm 
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Thanks for all the replies, much appreciated. I'm going to back off the mileage and do something much milder with lots of water and shade for the pooch based on everyone's input.

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Grannyhiker
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PostWed Aug 14, 2019 9:56 am 
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Hooray!  Both you and the dog will enjoy the trip a lot more!  Its a lot more fun when your canine friend is also having fun!

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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.--E.Abbey
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Bedivere
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PostWed Aug 14, 2019 10:43 pm 
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Anne Elk wrote:
Another thing I've wondered about is extended snowfield crossings with dogs - are they not just as susceptible to snow-blindness?  Never saw one dog in online mtn pics wearing doggles.    cool.gif

Ever seen sled dogs wearing goggles?

Different breeds may be more susceptible to issues caused by sun exposure, but most of the athletic/working breeds don't have any real problems with this.

I've skied and backpacked extensively with my dogs and know other people who do also and don't know anyone who bothers with goggles/eye protection.

Booties for the paws is a different story.  Buy these cheap cloth ones:  www.dogbooties.com

They stay on really well (better than the more expensive ones, and if you lose a $3 bootie, big deal) and they allow the dog's foot to function normally (no rubber sole) while protecting against abrasion from rocks & icy snow.  I've used them with great success after starting off with one of the expensive sets of boots from a pet store.  My dog promptly lost one of the expensive ones in a talus field and with no good way to replace it, the whole set basically became worthless.  The www.dogbooties.com ones are so cheap I buy them 8 at a time and always have spares and almost never need them because they really do stay on (but they do wear through eventually).

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