How to Train Your Dog for the Trails

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You’ve outfitted your dog with the essential outdoor gear. But before all of that, it’s important to follow specific rules when you’re outside on the trails. 

Mike Stewart, president of Mississippi’s Wildrose Kennels, offers these tips for adventurous pups and their masters.

Training is Key
If you plan on taking your dogs off-leash, it’s important that they are used to commands. “A good adventure dog needs staunch obedience training,” says Stewart. “Not just heel work: Place training — in which a dog is trained to stay in place despite any activity or distraction — is essential.”

Stick to a Schedule
“This is the main rule of travel with a destination dog. Feed and water your dog at the same time each day, followed by some activity.”

Keep Them Hydrated
“Often dogs simply do not drink enough. Give water at every meal to increase hydration. Carrying water bottles and offering water periodically on the trail is helpful.”

Be Emergency-Ready
“Carry a small first-aid kit with antibiotic ointment, gauze, vet wrap, Benadryl for stings and bites, and hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting if necessary.”

Exercise
“A good adventure dog is in excellent physical condition.” Dogs older than 14 months can swim regularly and can run alongside as you mountain bike.