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Thread: Anyone have a dog that doesn't like to hike?

  1. #1
    Senior Member hiking lady's Avatar
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    Anyone have a dog that doesn't like to hike?

    Not sure if this in the right spot to post this, but since it was mentioned that a dog thread may be appropriate, it brought to mind this thought. I've always had dogs that were hikers and 2 years ago I got a very large (120lb) Pyrennese/Golden Retriever who simply doesn't like to hike. I was eager to get him out on the trails and started with the easy ones, but it quickly became apparent that he really wasn't into it. He frequently got overheated, despite having plenty of water, he became tired quickly and went from being an overeager excited dog to dragging butt on the way down the trail. I am wondering if his size likely has something to do with it. He loves to play ball and herd stuff, (cars tractors, people, horses). Will even enjoy a walk that is of reasonable length, but get into any long hikes and he is quick to want to turn around. One time we tried hiking up Mittersall Peak from the backcountry side (very, very steep). He simply sat down when we reached a certain point. We ended up turning around. He was only 4 at the time (just turned 6). So, I don't take him anymore when we go hiking. I do take him for walks and xc skiing out behind my house in the winter which he loves since it is cold out, so he still gets the needed exercise.

    Just wondering if anyone with large dogs has experienced this.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Little Rickie's Avatar
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    Good idea for a thread. Good luck!

    My dog is mostly boxer (54 lbs) but a rescue so I don't know what else is mixed in. She is a very obedient, (except for squirrels, rabbits and some strange dogs) but she does have a nose she keeps it to the ground and follows it. I can't/don't trust her off leash though she walks well on leash.

    In the hot weather she just shuts down, lays panting for a min or two then gets back up. We don't push her. On hot days after her walks she flops down on the wood floor in the dinning room. She's trim, healthy and energetic in the 60s but get into the high 70s+ she fags out. I assume that is just the way she is, not knowing her pre-rescue life.
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    Senior Member The Unstrung Harp's Avatar
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    Sounds like you gave it a good try. I wonder if it isn't a pain issue. Big dogs so commonly have joint issues. Maybe it just doesn't feel good to her to go up and down.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member hiking lady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Unstrung Harp View Post
    Sounds like you gave it a good try. I wonder if it isn't a pain issue. Big dogs so commonly have joint issues. Maybe it just doesn't feel good to her to go up and down.
    I hadn't thought of that, but he does have an old injury from getting hit by a bus when he was with his previous owner (I found him on Craigslist). He only limps on it when he jumps too much from playing fetch with the ball, but that likely also impacted his hiking capabilities.

  5. #5
    Senior Member The Unstrung Harp's Avatar
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    Oooops, sorry - HE, not she! A lot of folks I know feed glucosamine to their older/sore dogs and have good luck with it. Just an idea. Grand Flex, Corta Flx Canine, Missing Link Plus, etc.
    0/1 NH48-THRU

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  6. #6
    Senior Member erugs's Avatar
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    When I was a kid we had a collie who did not want to leave Lakes when we stopped in during a day hike (at that time, dogs were allowed inside). We made her leave and the next day she delivered a litter of 5 mix-breed puppies. (We hadn't known she had been pregnant.) As you wonder above, there may be a reason you hadn't thought of (besides an unplanned pregancy).
    Ellen

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  7. #7
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    Hking lady....you are doing the right thing not pushing him beyond his limits. Whatever the reason, there are dogs that simply do not enjoy hiking. My first Akita would be OK doing daily walks to our local reservoir, at her pace only, and loved to hang out. I took her up a trail a few times and that was the end. When I attempted it again, she would sit, or pull on the leash with all her might to return to the car. My chow mix male would refuse to leave the parking lot. My 2nd Akita was tad better, hated summer, very heat intolerant. In fact all my big dogs were very heat sensitive. Some time ago I resigned myself to hiking near rivers or large bodies of water during the summer months.

    Molly, my Bernese Moutain Dog, loves to run wild off leash, providing there is lots of water, and she thrives in winter. That being said, she is not an endurance canine athlete. Wears out big time in approx 2 hrs and starts walking at turtle pace. Nothing wrong with her legs. She is in a coma as soon as she hits the truck.

    I agree that it is possible that your fella might need some meds for a possible arthritic condition. It is disappointing when you have big dreams of hiking with four paws and they go on strike. I have a new 1 yr old"orphan", aussie/border collie mix, and he appears to have great potential. My biggest fear with him is that he is going to get himself LOST! He runs like a gazelle and appears tireless, but has no common sense.

    From what I have observed, I don't think it has to do with size but rather disposition, and of course orthopedic issues would slow them down. There have been very large dogs on the boards who have hiked the 48 and then some.

    I have done 26 of the 48 but had to quit because of my dogs. When my first little mountain man died, the ones that followed were just not up to the task. As described some had very bad ortho issues and others just didn't want to go the distance. At that point I made the decision that it wasn't "all about me" and I had to modify my activities to meet their needs. I have never regretted it. We had lots of fun over the years and still manage to hike, camp, and even backpack, but a Bonds traverse will never be a happening thing. You won't see my trip reports because they would bore you all to tears, but we most certainly do have a great time in the mountains and in the woods of Western MA.

    It might be worth having your vet take a look to be sure his legs are OK. He might be in need of some pain relief.
    Last edited by Maddy; 11-05-2012 at 03:57 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    I had a black lab, and I'll say she was the best hiking dog evah. OK, slanted opinion aside, she was as a great companion with me for over 2,000 miles and the NH4k. I then got a redbone coonhound, who looked to be a perfect hiking dog. Long legs, great gait, obediant, didn't chase animals (so not a coonhound...), didn't bark. She summitted two peaks...Roger's Ledge and North/South Twin. She just never got into it, and I never figured out why. She likes the woods, and goes with me around the house. But, if I gather up gear, she goes the other way. My lab, all I had to do is grab my hiking hat and she flipped out and couldn't wait to get in that car....

  9. #9
    Moderator Peakbagr's Avatar
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    "Good idea for a thread. Good luck! " - Actually, a really good idea for a thread.

    Our old Springer used to get car sick, so while she enjoyed herself on a hike, she didn't often get to go as we didn't want to have to clean up her breakfast or trail snacks from all over the car seats and floors.
    Along the same lines, she was my running partner for years, in tandem with me on a long leash. As she got older, I'd be lacing up the sneakers and when the leash came out, she'd head into the other room. The long runs no longer agreed with Annabelle and she was talking to me. Your dog seems to be telling you the same thing - that for whatever reason, he doesn't like to hike.
    "The fact that going off the deep end appears
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Dave Bear's Avatar
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    Never had a dog of my own before Thor, my Norwegian Elkhound, and he is always ready to go. I have been fortunate to meet many happy dogs on the trail and despite a few that were getting tired, I have never met any that seemed unhappy to be there. Thor and I both take the better part of the summer off because we are both heat-sensitive! I had read once of a Norwegian that expired to heat exhaustion and could never bear the thought of it happening to my little buddy. If he seems hot or tired I adjust my pace but it's usually him waiting for me! My biggest problem is getting him to settle down and realize we are on a long hike.

    Often animals won't show there signs of lameness or fatigue physically until it's a bit too late. Usually a change in attitude preceeds it and can be subtle. Sounds like your pooch is good at communicating but can't give the reason just yet!
    The heart of the journey is in the path not the peak!

  11. #11
    Senior Member Ed'n Lauky's Avatar
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    I definitely agree with having your dog checked by a vet to make sure he is apt for hiking. There are arthritis medications for dogs such as Rimadyl which I believe is prescription only. Just as with people with arthritis it is important to walk, but it may be your fellow is not cut out for more strenuous hiking. On the other hand, it may be that by taking it slowly you could work up to somewhat longer walks or hikes but you need to monitor your fellow carefully.

    Heat, as has been mentioned is a major factor. Some dogs, depending on the breed, are far more susceptible to heat stroke than people. With your dog as you've noticed, he will be much happier in cool weather than in warm weather. Days like today would probably be ideal for him.

    An interesting anecdote concerning car sickness. When I first got Lauky he couldn't go anywhere in the car without getting sick. I spoke to the vet about it. I said, 'This dog is going to be a hiking dog and he's going to be doing a lot of riding.' She said: 'No problem, you can give him dogie Dramamine.' I said, 'Right, and I get to the trailhead and he's all woozy.' So she said: 'The other thing you can do is just keep taking him out and see if he get over it.' Once as a pup I drove him from Bridgton to Bethel and he threw up five times going up and four times coming back. The first year I had him he would throw up at least once on every trip for a hike. I just put a blanket down and washed it after every trip. Let me add that he enjoyed himself on every hike and rarely if ever got sick on the return trip. Also, dogs are proverbial vomiters and I don't think it bothers them as much as it does us. Anyway, now he doesn't know what it means to get car sick. He truly did get over it.
    I used to look at my dog and think 'If you were a little smarter you could tell me what your were thinking', and he'd look at me like he was saying 'If you were a little smarter I wouldn't have to'. Fred Jungclaus

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  12. #12
    Senior Member TrishandAlex's Avatar
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    I know you asked for folks with large dogs to chime in. My dog is a small breed (border terrier), but here's my experience with him, FWIW.

    Assuming this isn't a physical/medical issue, then I would say yes, there are dogs that don't like to hike. Individual dogs have their individual personalities...mine LOVES to hike...unless there's more than two or three inches of snow on the ground, in which case he makes it quite obvious that he isn't having a good time. Also, if it's hot outside, I have to make sure the trail is close to a stream (or I have to bring a ton of water just for him)...otherwise, he makes it quite obvious that he isn't having a good time. He loves to hike on trails, but if the trail is overgrown and he gets a lot of vegetation in his face for more than a few minutes...then he makes it quite obvious that he isn't having a good time. You get the picture. In other words, my Max loves to hike IF the conditions are right, otherwise he makes it obvious that he would rather be at home.
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    Senior Member WinterWarlock's Avatar
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    Our dog is definitely NOT a hiker...for one, she really doesn't stay with us, so we need to keep her leashed at all times. While I know that is the law anyway, we all know it isn't always followed, nor is it always convenient or safe. But the biggest problem with Gracie, a flat coat retriever, seems to simply be her stamina...even on long walks in the neighborhood she tuckers out quickly and can't go more than a couple of miles, and at 80 pounds, I'm not carrying her out!!
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    Senior Member erugs's Avatar
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    Sunny never liked getting wet feet, and would tip-toe outside if it was raining. Moriah doesn't like wind in her face.
    Ellen

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    "Through winter-time we call on spring/And through the spring on summer call/And when abounding hedges ring/Declare that winter's best of all/And after that there's nothing good/Because the spring-time has not come... William Butler Yeats

  15. #15
    Senior Member hiking lady's Avatar
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    The other part that stinks about my dog not being able to hike is I sometimes hike solo and after having hiked a great deal solo with a dog for years it was like a built in safety protection (more psychological than real probably). So, having hiked solo since having not had a dog and then having a dog that doesnt' hike has felt really weird for me. I also feel so guilty leaving him home alone when we go out. He sees the packs come out and he knows we're leaving The whole thing has been a weird experience. I just never gave it much thought when I got him. My girlfriend had a Newfy and that thing was a bomb, hiking everywhere with them. So, I try really hard to make sure he has equal time of ball catching (I swear his mouth is a mitt) and walks to even out my own guilt. The other bummer is he is a wicked cool dog, having retriever in him, he is just really people friendly and very interactive which makes it all the harder to leave him behind... But I certainly can understand that some dogs are just not cut out for hiking, whether it be a short legged dog, a large dog, old dog, etc.

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