Tails on Trails – Things to Know About Hiking with Your Dog

Josie on the trailSo you’ve decided to share your love of hiking with your dog. It’s a great way to strengthen the bond you and your friend have and get exercise for the both of you at the same time. You’ve got your gear and you’re ready to head out. Now, what do you need to know while on the trail?

Pre-Hike Checklist

A good way to begin your outdoor adventures is to find a state park with some easy hiking trails. Go during non-peak hours at first if your dog isn’t used to hiking and doesn’t already have good trail etiquette. It’s also important to get them used to using your hands free dog leash.  Here’s a short list of general rules to follow when you and your friend are out.

  • Doggy sunscreen or a hat will help keep your dog healthy and happy while out in the sun.
  • Some trails have special rules regarding dogs, check before you head out.
  • Yield to other hikers, and to horses if it is a horse friendly animal. Make sure your dog does not spook the horse if you come across one.
  • If you pack it in, pack it out, this means any messes your dog makes too. Bring lots of baggies, just in case.

A good way to make sure you’ve got control of your dog and are able to yield the trail to other hikers is a hands free dog leash. This will allow you to maintain your gear and your dog with ease at all times. In the case of horses passing try to discourage your dog from barking, it can frighten horses and potentially cause an accident. It’s also wise to position yourself somewhere that will make you seem smaller to the horse.

Taking to the Trails

Once your four legged friend has developed their trail manners the fun really starts. For the more active hikers who like to jog the trails, your hands free dog leash is the perfect accessory. If you’re going to jog the trails with your dog though, be sure to bring lots of fresh water for both of you. Your dog will likely need more water than you while out there. Dogs are susceptible to the bacteria in non-filtered water too, so don’t let them drink from streams.

Rest Often

Make sure you take breaks often. After all the hard work on the trail, both of you will need some relax time. If you find a place to sit for lunch, it’s a good time to recharge. If the trail rules allow, you may be able to take off the hands free dog leash for your break as long as you maintain strong voice control.

Have Fun

After all the fun you two have had, you’ll want to keep track of it. Take a camera or a journal and make sure to catalog it all. These kinds of adventures are the ones you’ll cherish forever. Now that your day hikes are a success, who’s up for a camping trip?


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Strengthening the Bond

Spending time with your dog is important to building a strong bond with them. There are many activities that can be useful for forging that lifetime friendship with your new canine companion. With options ranging from taking walks, to climbing mountains or tearing across the tundra together, you’ve got choices to fit any breed and temperament you could want. Try adding one of these activities to your calendar for you and your dog.

  • Walking isn’t just about using the bathroom. Walks can be short tours around the block, or lengthy adventures through the park.
  • Jogging is a great way to kick your walks up a notch. Not all dogs may be healthy enough for frequent jogs or runs, but if yours is, they’ll thank you for the extra exercise.
  • Some dogs hate getting in the water, others take to swimming as if they were born with fins instead of fur. Try taking your dog to a pet friendly beach for some fun in the sun.
  • Biking can be hard sometimes with a dog, and isn’t for every breed, but the benefits are worth exploring this option.

Taking a Stroll

Whether long or short, walking your dog gives you a great way to spend time together. A relaxed stroll through the park gives you opportunities to play fetch, toss a ball around, and sit down for lunch with your four legged friend. If you plan on packing a day of fun into the park with you, consider a hands free dog leash to go with it. With a hands free option, you can handle all of your stuff and your dog, at the same time with ease.


Running with your dog is good for your relationship, and your bodies.  Aside from getting to spend some quality time with your four legged family member, running helps keep you and your dog fit so you can spend the years to come enjoying each other’s company. Now as any recreational jogger knows, you need to keep your arms moving when running and a standard leash just won’t cut it. Hook your friend up to a hands free dog leash and you two will be cruising all day.

Surf Sun and Dogs

A pet friendly beach can be a great outing for you and your dog. With other dogs to play with and tons of activities about you’ll be sure to have a blast on the beach itself. Make sure you follow all leash laws on your beach while you’re out there. If it helps you can use a hands free dog leash to keep track of your dog easily while slathering on the sun screen for both of you.




Long Term Benefits

No matter the choice you make, picking an activity for you and your dog to share will do wonders for the love you have for each other. Different dogs will like different activities so try a few. Just make sure you have the proper gear for your task such as water food or a hands free dog leash before you go. This way, once you’re out there the only concern you have is how much fun you’re going to have with your friend.

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Battle of the leashes: Conventional Vs. Hands Free

An increasing number of people are making their four legged friends a part of their daily exercise routine. With the number of people exercising with their dogs increasing, the number of available leash options is on the rise as well. Having the right gear is important for you and your canine companion. Depending on the activity, some people prefer a conventional hand held leash while others prefer hands free dog leashes.

There Are Several Factors to Take Into Consideration When Picking a Leash

  • Type of activities
  • Surroundings
  • Size of your dog
  • Your height and weight
  • Number of dogs

While both types of leash can work for many situations, it is important to consider your dog’s comfort and safety as well as your own. Through careful consideration, you may find that some leashes may suit your needs better than others.

Round One: Conventional Leashes

Conventional leashes come in a variety of materials such as leather, nylon, and metal. They come in varying lengths, from 4 feet to as long as a 25 foot retractable leash. Conventional leashes provide great control, are great for training and taking walks, and can be used on any type of dog. A special attachment is available, which allows two dogs to be walked with the same leash.

If your dog pulls, it can put considerable strain on your hands and arms, or pull the leash from your hands. In areas with heavy traffic, long leashes may pose safety dangers to you or your dog. With longer leashes, there is the potential for getting tangled. While conventional leashes are great for walking, they take at least one hand and can make running difficult.

Round Two: Hands Free Dog Leashes

Hands free dog leashes are great for anyone wanting to bring their dog along while they exercise. The major benefit of these leashes is the ability to run or walk with your dog and have both hands free. They provide several different positions for the dog to run and increased control. Many of these leashes wrap around your waist and have pockets to store small bags or keys.

People with larger waists may not be able to use this type of leash since it wraps around the body.  Finding the right length can be a bit tricky. You will need to take your height and the size of your dog into consideration.  Maintaining control can be difficult at times since these leashes do not have handles. These leashes can create rubbing and sore spots through active use.

The Best Leash?

Both types of leashes provide different benefits and one is not better than another. The right leash will provide you with ease of control and comfort for you and your dog. Many casual dog walkers prefer conventional leashes while more active dog owners prefer hands free dog leashes. In the end, the important part is getting out and spending quality time with man’s best friend.



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Basics of Leash Training Your Dog

Walking your dog can be a pleasurable experience, or it can be a constant struggle you would rather avoid. Enjoying the great outdoors with man’s best friend has been a source of pleasure since man first began to keep dogs as pets. What makes walking the dog an unpleasant experience is a dog who pulls and does not listen to commands. Leash training is extremely important for the health and safety of both you and your dog. Training your dog to walk on a leash can be done at any age, but is best done when they are young.

The Basics

Many dog owners make the mistake of assuming their dog automatically knows how to walk on a leash. Dogs are not born with the knowledge of leash etiquette, but can be trained easily. There are a few things to keep in mind during leash training:

  • Comfort - If your dog is uncomfortable with their collar, training may be difficult. Make sure your dog has time to get used to their collar and that it is not too tight.
  • Leashes - A hands free dog lead makes teaching your dog to heel and follow commands much easier while out on your daily stroll.
  • Rewards - Always make sure to reward your dog for good behavior. Keep a stash of treats in your pocket or treat pouch during training.
  • Pick One Trainer - Dogs are pack animals by nature and getting training commands from multiple people can be confusing. Pick one person in your family to be responsible for training until your dog has mastered the basics.
  • Consistency - Train your dog around the same time every day to help establish a schedule.

Follow the Leader

Once your dog is comfortable with their collar and hands free dog lead, you can begin leash training. When walking your dog it is important they know that pulling is not an acceptable behavior. If your dog pulls on the lead, stop walking or turn in the other direction. Your dog will soon realize that pulling stops the walk. Whenever your dog stops pulling, acknowledge the good behavior and reward it with a treat.

Once your dog gets the hang of walking with a hands free dog lead you can begin to teach them to walk by your side. Start by having your dog sit next to you and give them a treat. Begin walking and praise them for sticking by your side by periodically giving them treats. If they run ahead, start pulling, or change directions, stop walking or move in the opposite direction.

Things to Keep in Mind

Shelter or rescue dogs may be harder to train. Often times these dogs are older and have had time to develop bad habits and manners. Remember to be patient and never strike your dog while training. Using voice commands and treats during training will go a long way in reinforcing positive behaviors. Soon you will be the proud owner of a happy, well behaved dog. 

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Exercising with Kids and Dogs

Technology has made life easier, giving rise to a booming entertainment industry, video, and computer games, and even working online at home. Unfortunately, with the rise of the entertainment industry, families are spending more and more time being sedentary in front of computers and gaming consoles, instead of engaging in physical activities. Our furry friends are spending more time lounging about the house as well, becoming “couch potato” dogs. Exercising with your dog can be fun for the whole family and encourage a regular exercise routine.

Take Time to Play

Today’s busy family schedules can make setting aside time for an exercise routine difficult. Playing outside with your dog is a great way to get the whole family out and active. Another great activity can be going for a walk through the park. A hands free leash is a great option for walks as it leaves both hands free to hold the hands of small children. Some other great activities are:

  • Playing Fetch - Dogs love to play fetch, and anyone can throw the ball or stick.
  • Jogging or Bike Riding - Jogging or riding bikes around the neighborhood is fun for the whole family. A specially designed hands free leash is available for bike riders.
  • Swimming - Swimming isn’t just for people, your canine companion will love the water just as much as you do.
  • Hiking - Hiking is a great way to experience the wonders of nature and get some great exercise too. Don’t forget to bring your furry friend and their hands free leash, since many trails are dog friendly.
  • Canine freestyle dancing - Who doesn’t like dancing to their favorite song? Playing some fun music and dancing with your well trained canine companion can be fun for adults and children alike.

Whether you are swimming, hiking, or just playing fetch, you are getting good exercise and building family bonds.

Other Ways to Exercise

While play is an excellent form of exercise, some families would like a little more structure. There are a variety of parks and recreational centers that offer activities for the whole family such as agility training, soccer, or extreme Frisbee. Agility training is a great way to get older children active as they will run around and work with the family dog to master the obstacles of an agility course. Soccer is fun for the whole family, passing the ball and playing keep away will keep everyone on their toes. Extreme Frisbee is much like playing fetch, with the exception of being able to teach your dog some fun tricks to do while they catch the Frisbee.

Whether your family is in shape, has young children, or multiple pets, there is something for everyone. Encouraging your family to exercise with your pets is a great way to establish a regular exercise routine. Exercising will improve family health, strengthen bonds, and lengthen the life span of your beloved canine companions.


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