We are about a week from our next backpacking adventure and have been working hard to prepare ourselves, both mentally and physically. This will be a multi-day backpacking trip and we couldn’t be more excited. Our last trip was so much fun that we couldn’t wait to get out and hit the trails again. It also gave me a decent look at my own physical condition (I was only a week into my workouts at that point) and trail-readiness and that of the dog I chose to bring. Our upcoming trip will be at higher elevations than we are used to and for a longer period of time. We will also be hiking and camping in some cooler temperatures, so our gear needs to be switched up a bit.
I am now six weeks into my workout regimen and am definitely stronger. I still have a long way to go, but I am so much better off than I was six weeks ago. I’ve lost pounds and inches and gained muscle. I’ve stepped up my protein intake and am focusing on the goal. Chewy has been working, too. He surprised me on the Tennessee hike. Granted he is young and would rather die than be very far from Mom, he still did very well.
We have been working toward multi-day trips by slowly getting him used to walking more and in ways which are different from how we normally teach lead walking. Some trails are quite narrow, and our usual way of walking (dog on left) might be a bit of a tight squeeze. I am teaching him “ahead” so that he knows I’d like him out in front of me as well as “behind” for when I’d like him in back of me. Would he gravitate to either of these spots naturally when presented with a narrow path or say, a log crossing over water? Yes, probably. But I want him to associate the position with a word, so that he eventually learns it like any other command. He is also learning the art of climbing over things that might be in the way, such as fallen trees, rocks, etc. Some dogs may balk at these things, and it’s best that you know that before they are on the trail with a pack, etc. So far he is doing great.
Loose leash walking is something I can’t say enough about. No one wants to go out for a drag. Chewy and I have worked on this since he was very small, but honestly, he was one of the easiest dogs I’ve ever taught to walk on a loose lead. His mother was a nightmare in this department. He has his excitable moments, though, and we use them as teaching points.
We’ve been gathering up supplies–including some gear for cooler weather–since our last trip. We are excited to talk about these things in the coming days and weeks. Do you hike with your dog? What are your go-to pieces of gear? What could you have done without?