Hi! My name is Phoenix! I am a 9-year old Border Collie who loves to go on outings with my pack leader, Dog. We go everywhere from breweries and restaurants to hikes and backpacking trips. A backpacking trip was the latest we went on.
This is not about camping, but about getting out of the house and having the opportunity to be a dog. It is about going on a real pack walk. Part of being a dog is being with their pack. That is how it is when I am with Dog. Let me tell you from a dog’s perspective some of the things that you need to keep in mind when taking your dog out.
What Going Out Means to Your Dog
Why Dogs Love to Get Out – When I get out in the woods, on a trail, or at a restaurant, I get to be a dog. Even sitting is an adventure since scent is the number one sense that I use. Ever wonder why I have a long nose? It is to house all of those scent cells I have. Even when we move, it is for the purpose of exploring smell. We smell other dogs, people, and the occasional French Fries laying on the ground. There are new smells, no matter how many times we walk the same path.
How my Pack Leader Feels – I know he is at peace when I am with him because he looks happy and relaxed. He gets joy seeing me be a dog, and I know that he is proud of me when I come back to him. He always tells me how great I am when I come, which is why I happily do so. This is especially important because he lets me off leash so that I can explore on the trail. Even when I travel with him in the truck during his workday, I realize how petting me relaxes him. And this is a great perk for me as well.
Our Relationship – When we spend time together, our relationship gets better every time.
Things to Consider Before Leaving
Our Fitness – It would not be good if we got out in the middle of a long hike and he and/or I get hurt. We walk often and I have noticed that right before our backpacking trips, he increases the mileage.
Our Working Relationship – Dog and I work together on a daily basis in our dog training business. Sylvie takes me to classes and on Paws on the Prowl trips. We have many opportunities to improve how we work together: walking, settling, etc. When we get in the woods and he needs me to be by him, I find it much easier to understand what he wants. Even if it is following his son instead of him on this last trip. It is so much less stressful when I know what he wants. This way, I do it, and I get affection. Don’t tell him but if I know he loves something, I will do it right in front of him so I get his attention. LOL!
Pack Stability – Both he and I know that there cannot be two chiefs and no Indians. This pecking order has helped us many times when we are out. It helps me to understand when I can be myself and when I need to listen to Dog because it is best for the pack. This has helped me even when I am with him during a work day. I am very protective of the truck until he lets me know that the person coming over is friend or family. I would hate to bite the wrong person. When he tells me nothing, I know that I am to protect the truck. If he tells me “No!,” I know that I am going to get petting from the person opening the door.
Dogs Need Good Gear – We don’t need to be in the wilderness to appreciate good gear. A comfortable leash and collar is very important. If Dog does not like the leash, he does not hold it as calmly as the old leather leash he uses. Sometimes he gives me a backpack to carry stuff. It gives me a job and makes me feel like I am contributing to the migration. He always brings a water bottle, or if we are on a backpacking trip, he uses a cool, fold-up dish for both water and food.
Walks – These do not require any long driving times. A walk around the neighborhood is great! Like I said before, every walk has different smells for me to explore.
Restaurants and Breweries – These are cool. Even though I do not get much exercise, I get to meet other dogs and sometimes, I get a taste of beer. One time I heard Dog ask the vet if beer was bad for me. The vet replied, “Just not enough to make her stumble.” Great answer! LOL.
Hikes – This is when we go on a local trail. I get a ride in the car and a walk that is so full of different scents. Sometimes, Dog goes squirrel hunting with me. This is a great time for both of us.
Camping and Backpacking – This is the best! I spend days on end outside with Dog. We go on long hikes and I get to smell things that I have never smelled before. Sometimes, I even get to meet different kinds of animals. At night, I get toasty by the fire and afterwards, Dog and I sleep in the tent.
Please take your dogs out with you. We love our home, but we get to be a real dog when we can explore and be with our pack leader.
Outings are good for everyone! Where does your dog like to go?
Mark “Dog” Parbus , trainer at Topline K9 Solutions is one of our most loved trainers and has an uncanny understanding of what it means to be a dog. He has been working with dogs since 1995. When Mark works with a dog and their owner, he teaches them how to communicate with their dog in an instinctual and intuitive manner. This is very different from conventional dog training in that conventional dog training teaches clients how to get their dogs to sit, down or stay with treats. Mark teaches his clients how to communicate and reward without treats. In a way their dog understands. To learn more about Mark check out his blog: Dog Parbus.