This summer, we've launched our hunt for our first ambassadog, a four legged, genuine lover of the outdoors. If you think your dog has what it takes to take the crown, find out more and enter them here. You can win up to £400 worth of performance equipment for your dog, plus a whole host of other exciting gifts from Tiso. To celebrate the launch, we caught up with Huw James, ambassador for Ruffwear, who gave us some top tips for getting out there for hiking adventures with your dog!
Fresh air, getting plenty of exercise and having the opportunity to explore more of the country and it's hidden places, taking your dog with your on your adventures is a great way for you both to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether it's just a simple day hike in your local area, or a long weekend of camping and hiking, there's a few things you need to consider to make sure you get the best out of the journey together.
Preparation is key here, If you’re properly prepared, the benefits of hiking with your dog are immeasurable. Hiking can be great therapy for a dog that is exhibiting boredom-based bad behaviour at home such as shoe chewing, lawn digging, or gratuitous barking. If you're wanting to get some training in before you go, this will help to make sure that any hike with your dog goes smoothly.
Our Top Tips:
1. Get To Know Your Dog – Some dogs are born to run in the outdoors. Some love to chill out on the sofa. Know your dog and what they are capable of. Smaller dogs will have to exert more energy to cover equal distances. Large dogs are carrying more weight so they may struggle on longer adventures too. A run around the local park is completely different to the challenge of a mountain hike. It's a good idea to check your dog for signs of poor health on a regular basis and work out what is usual for them.
2. Obedience – Obedience in the outdoors in key. If your dog isn’t perfectly obedient you can still get out, but remember that you are responsible for them always. If you are worried, keep your dog on a leash, give right of way to others and head to quieter areas.
3. Preparation – Dogs, like humans, can benefit from a bit of training in the outdoors. Check that your dog is fit enough for the hike, build them up to longer distances and make sure they can handle it! You can combine obedience training with this so that they get used to commands and signals to make your job of keeping them safe and under control on the hill that little bit easier.
4. Leash – Some leashes, like The Roamer from Ruffwear, can be attached around your waist. It makes for a much easier day out. Also consider the collar or harness your dog has. REMEMBER, if you see another dog on a leash, it probably means they aren’t great with other people or other dogs. In this case, put your dog on a leash and give them space.
5. The Gear – Not all dogs are built the same. Some have double layers of fur, some just one. We can warm or cool our dogs with jackets and coolers. On a rainy day, the Aira Shower Rain Jacket keeps some rain from getting in. The Quinzee for cold days and the Swamp Cooler for hot days are all good additions to your dog's kit list.
6. Water – Plenty of water is vital for both you and your dog. Dogs are susceptible to a lot of the same waterborne pathogens that humans are. If you’re not taking bottled water, it’s a good rule of thumb to treat water for you and your dog. Whilst many places have bowls of water available for your dog, when you are in the middle of nowhere, there won’t always be somewhere for them to get a drink, especially on hot days. get prepared and take a collapsible bowl such as The Quencher.
7. Food – Small packets of food for the hike keep energy levels up and morale high! Treats also promote obedience and a waggy tail. Just like you, your dog will need a little energy boost on tougher trails. if you're stocking up on extra snacks for yourself, make sure you treat your dog in the same way.
8. Waste – A place for your dog’s waste is ideal on a hike. Nalgene Bottles with a wide neck seal away the mess and the smell too. Take one with you to keep everyone happy! It's essential in the outdoors to leave no trace. It is your responsibility to keep the environment clean and tidy and take any waste away with you.
9. Health – Make sure your dog is happy on the trail and isn’t struggling to keep up. If they sit or lie down, nibble their paws or tuck their tail between their legs, it could mean they need to rest. There are other signs to look out for on your adventures too. Make sure you check: Eyes (for seeds and ticks), Ears (for embedded grit or mites), Paws (for cuts, grazes and ticks), Fur & Tail (for hidden dirt or foreign object caught in the fur) & Mouth (for any damage caused from playing fetch or chomping on sticks or plants).
10. Coming Home – If you’ve spent the day on rough terrain, check your dog’s paws for abrasion. Give them a once over for cuts and parasites. Before tucking your dog into their basket make sure they’re happy and healthy! Your dog can be your best outdoor friend, and if they've had a great time on your adventure with you, make sure they're healthy enough to come along on the next one!
For information on how to get your dog into shape for hiking this summer season or other adventures from Ruffwear, click here. Don't forget to share your adventures with us using #MyTiso and enter our Ambassadog Competition too!
Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home are proudly sponsoring our Rescue Hero category, so join us in sharing the puppy love with them and TEXT TISO17 (Plus Your Donation Amount) to 70070! You can pledge as little as £1, so give them a helping hand today!