Do you want to go hiking with your puppy?
So you just got a new puppy! You are sure to be thrilled that your new little hiking friend is coming on the trail with you. But unfortunately, the introduction of your baby pooch into repetitive movements can cause permanent damage to your puppy’s muscles and skeleton.
As an enthusiastic hiker, getting a new puppy can be an ethical dilemma if you want to do this 20-mile 10k ft uphill hike.
Treat him like you would treat a new boyfriend whom you take with you on a hike for the first time.
A slow start for your puppy will bring big rewards later. If your puppy knows how to behave and can eventually master a 20 mile 10k foot climb, that means you’ll never have to hike alone again.
It’s like training your puppy. If you put in the hard work at the beginning, the rest of your puppy’s life, you will get the reward of a great best friend who listens well and you can take anywhere.
It’s a proven fact that puppies don’t really need as much exercise as adult dogs.
If you overtax a growing puppy, you can damage its developing joints, leading to early arthritis.
The bones of an eight-week-old puppy are about as mature as those of a one-year-old human.
You really have to be careful with your puppy’s growth plates – areas at each end of the bones where the cells multiply to make the bones grow longer. There is no calcium at these sites yet, so they are softer than the surrounding calcified bone, making it easier to cause severe damage at this point in a puppy’s life. If a growth plate is damaged, it can stop producing new bone, resulting in a shortening or malformation of the bone.
Repeated stress in this area can cause damage and slightly abnormal bone growth. Over time, this puts a strain on muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments.
In most dogs, the growth plates close around the 12-month period. This means that your puppy will have a solid skeletal development for about 12-15 months and you will be able to start longer, more intense hikes!
Also, pay attention to the breeding of your dogs or ask your vet if they may have a predisposition for osteochondritis dessicans or hip dysplasia. If this is the case, you may need to limit the level of training.
These problems are more common with larger breeds, but ask your vet to see if it should be a problem for your puppy.
Here are some tips on how to get your puppy to get into the habit of hiking:
1Hiking With Puppy: Be patient
Puppies are babies! They know nothing but what we teach them. They need time to learn and a teacher to show them what to do. Remember to be patient and understanding with them. If there is a problem, it is most likely your responsibility. (sorry) Puppy rearing becomes so much easier when we take full responsibility for everything our puppy does. You control the environment! Be patient and have fun.
2Hiking With Puppy: Show & Guide
Teach your puppy the behavior you want and expect. Do you have an older dog? Let them also help the puppy to lead him. Show them that good behavior is highly rewarded and do your best to prevent “bad” behavior from occurring in the first place. By shaping your puppy’s experiences, you are shaping the dog your puppy will grow up to be. It’s powerful!
3Hiking With Puppy: Set limits
It is imperative that you set limits to your puppy. The free run will lead to chaos, as you can imagine! Define for yourself and your family what is allowed and what is not allowed so as not to confuse the puppy with mixed signals.
4Hiking With Puppy: Create structure and routine
When you go on adventures, keep the same structure and routines that you set at home. This creates stability for your puppy and makes it easier to adapt to new places and experiences.
5Hiking With Puppy: Keep everything positive
This is super important! Tons of socialization experiences are not good if they are mostly negative experiences. Look for signs of stress in your puppy and make sure that there is an element of choice available for all new experiences. If your puppy feels trapped without the opportunity to say “no”, this can lead to a very bad experience. Have fun and bring peanut butter!
6Hiking With Puppy: Go anywhere, do anything
Explore it! The biggest problem we see with dogs that have not been properly socialized as puppies is the fear of the novel. Anything new makes them switch off or become anxious. Socializing your puppy is about exposing him to many new things. Adventure puppies even more. That doesn’t mean saying “hello” to 1,000 dogs and 1,000 people. Choose the right puppy partners that your puppy can meet and that will lead to a positive experience. It’s less about meeting than about experiencing. Go to a place, hear sounds, smell things, see things. The more new things, the better.
7Hiking With Puppy: Understand your lifestyle
It is important to include many aspects of your lifestyle in the socialization of your puppy so that he is exposed to these elements. Show your puppy many aspects of your lifestyle and let them be fun and not frightening.
8Hiking With Puppy: Don’t push
If your puppy is scared or says “no” to something, listen. If you get your puppy to do something unpleasant or terrible during one of its critical stages of development, it may mean that he will keep a negative connection to that object or activity for the rest of his life.
That’s the whole reason for a puppy, isn’t it? Enjoy life, go on adventures and have lots of fun! Play with your puppy and be silly!
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