If you love hiking, there is nothing better than hiking with your dog. However, dogs do not know how to hike with you, they have to be taught, which is why it is important to begin training your dog at an early age. It is best to begin taking your new puppy everywhere with you to get him or her use of the car, and socialized around other people and dogs. Take your dog with you when you go on short outings in the country or away from other people, but keep them on a leash, especially if their recall is not consistent.
Once you have worked with your dog for the period, you will then want to head to a very short hiking trail that is easy to you and where you can keep the dog on a leash. The leash should be long enough to allow him to explore, but not so long that your dog could become tangled if they head out too far. The point of the first short hike with the leash is you want to make sure your dog’s recall is good and he or she consistently comes when called. This way when you are ready to let him or her off the leash when hiking, you will have confidence that they will return when you call their name.
You will also need to keep in mind that some breeds are better at hiking than others are. Very tiny dogs with delicate legs and feet do not do as well as larger breeds that have more agility, so keep this in mind if you are adopting a puppy with hopes of hiking in the future. Typically, medium to large dogs do much better in hiking situations than miniature or toy sized dogs.
The more you take your dog hiking, the better his or her instincts become in the open trails or even mountainous trails, depending on where you plan to hike. Make sure ahead of time before arriving at the hiking trails that dogs are allowed, because some of the trails will not allow dogs on their trails, so make sure if you are heading out for some hiking that you know where the trails are that do allow dogs. Moreover, make sure you pack a small portable drinking bowl and water for your dog to drink while on the hike, especially if it is in the summer months, you and your dog will need to stay hydrated.