If you and your pup enjoy spending time outdoors, you’d probably enjoy a hiking trip. It’s an excellent way to get some exercise, and the vast, beautiful scenery is unmatched. While hiking with your dog is a fantastic idea, it takes ample training to be prepared for the adventure. Learn how to train your dog before a hiking trip for the best possible experience.
Practice Leash Walking
Keeping your dog on a leash is the best option for most hiking trails. With that in mind, your pup needs to be familiar with walking on the leash before the trip. Introduce leash training by walking inside your house to reduce potential distractions. Once you feel your pup is ready to head outside, take a short walk around your property.
Gradually increase the distance and change the scenery to ensure you and your dog feel comfortable walking with the leash. The last thing you want is your pup pulling away from you while exploring dog-friendly hiking trails in the US.
Teach the Recall Command
If you plan to let your dog off of the leash at any point, implementing a recall command is crucial. A typical recall command consists of a particular word or phrase, and a hand signal in case your pup can’t hear you.
Practicing and mastering the recall command is imperative for safety on the trails, and you should start with short distances and gradually increase it to test your pup. No matter what you choose for your command word and hand signal, keep it consistent and authoritative.
Pro Tip: Your dog is more likely to come to you if you’re walking away from them rather than toward them.
Encourage Frequent Socialization
Encounters with other people and animals on the trails are inevitable, and your dog needs to remain composed regardless of the situation. Socializing your pup while they’re young is the best way to ensure positive interactions with strangers. If your dog is overly excitable or aggressive toward other people and animals, it could be a sign they’re undersocialized.
Gradually expose your pup to new people, animals, environments, and experiences to increase their sociability. In addition, your dog will pick up on your attitudes and reactions to other people, so it’s best to remain calm and collected.
Practice the Leave-It Command
It shouldn’t surprise you that your dog wants to explore nature, but you must be aware of things that may be harmful to them. Mastering the leave-it command can keep your four-legged friend from picking up toxic plants or pieces of trash on the trails. You can practice by giving your dog a yummy treat every time they obey.
Knowing how to train your dog before a hiking trip is essential for safety on the trails and an enjoyable experience overall. Hiking with your pup can be a blast, and you won’t regret putting a little extra time and effort into training before the trip.