Perfect Puppy Activities Guide – Chapter 2 – Recreational Activities (Part 2)
Chapter 2 – Recreational Activities (Part 2)
Hiking and Camping
If you enjoy hiking or camping, your puppy can be a great companion. Because you will be in public places where sick dogs may have been and where wildlife lives, your puppy must have all her shots before you take her hiking or camping. For camping alone, your puppy doesn’t have to reach her full maturity, but if you want her to hike, wait until her bones are mature, or you could cause her injury. As always, before any physical activity it’s important to get your puppy a thorough veterinary checkup to ensure that she’s in good health and is a good candidate for the activity. It’s best to start out with short trips and gradually work up to longer ones to increase her stamina and gradually get her used to the exercise and experience.
Before camping or hiking with your puppy, make sure that you understand all the rules for the place you’ll be visiting. Some trails and campsites do not allow dogs.
Puppies that hike or camp must have excellent manners. They will be exposed to different people and be expected to behave themselves at campsites and not disturb your fellow campers. Teach your puppy to walk politely on leash, and make sure that she has plenty of positive socialization experiences so that she will be confident and friendly in new surroundings. Also, work on your housetraining so that she learns to potty on cue. You don’t want to have to walk a long distance just waiting for your puppy to find the “perfect spot” to relieve herself. If she has a barking problem, work on that before your trip. Remember, your puppy will be experiencing different sights and sounds on the trail and in the campsite, so she may be tempted to bark, whine, or for certain breeds, howl.
If you find that your puppy has specific issues, like pulling on leash or barking at other campers, work on those issues at home and try the activity again. Always set your puppy up to succeed. For example, if you know that your puppy is hesitant around small children, do not let a small child pet her at a campsite. And never let a mob of kids surround her—you’re just setting her up for disaster. Work with a reward-based trainer to help your puppy with this and any other issue so that she can learn to be a wonderful hiking and camping companion.
If you’re a jogger, you may enjoy sharing that activity with your puppy. Many high-energy puppies would love to run with you, but you should wait until their bones are mature before starting any strenuous running activity with them. If you begin this athletic activity too early, your puppy could sustain injuries.
Talk with your veterinarian to see if your puppy is a good candidate for jogging. She will need to be healthy, sound, and preferably not a flat-nosed breed, because they often have breathing difficulties.
When you do start, start slowly. Train your dog to run short distances, and gradually work up to longer ones. Always carry water with you for her to drink, keep a close eye for signs of overexertion and heatstroke, and be careful of the ground that you run on. It’s hotter for a dog to run on asphalt because she doesn’t have shoes to protect her feet. Check her paw pads regularly for cuts or scrapes.
Until your puppy is mature enough to jog with you, train her to behave politely on leash and work on your socialization exercises. These will help you later, when she’s ready to become your jogging partner.
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