Awwww he looks like a real gentleman - great coat!
Where did you get him?
Buddy hails from VA. I met a lady and we where talking dog's and I let her know about losing my dog Sierra. She mentioned that she knew of a family in VA that had lost thier home and had to place two dog's. I offered to take Buddy. She had family down there and planned a visit to them, on the way she grabbed Buddy for me and the rest is history.
What a great story. I'm sure Buddy misses his first family and wonders where they are..thank goodness he found a special home with you.
One thing I would caution against is strenuous constant exercise. Some hikes like you are doing now are great, but don't push it in the first year. Their growth plates are still growing and you don't want to risk long term damage just to get a few extra miles in the first year. If you are doing some hard long hikes, I think it is better to leave the dog at home. There will be lots of years of enjoyment to be had to not take it slow in the first year.
Some people may disagree or have pushed their puppies on long hikes without any long term effects, but the risk is there.
Other than that, get out there and enjoy your dog. The recommendation about ensuring they let you work with their paws is a very good one. also keeping their nails clipped (goes along with them letting you handle their paws) is key, especially when hiking/walking on hard surfaces.
It's amazing what a volatile issue the leash is. ...
I've met people on the trail who have insisted that I take him off the leash intimating that it was cruelty to an animal to have him leashed.
I've met folks on the trail whose dog was not on a leash who told me their dog wouldn't do anything and the dog immediately proceeded to jump Lauky. (I was told it was my fault because if Lauky were off the leash it never would have happened.) I might add that I've never encountered a dog on a leash who jumped Lauky.
I am meeting an increasing number of people who thank me for having him on a leash which tells me that there are an increasing number of unpleasant incidents with hikers and unleashed dogs.