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  1. #1
    New Member Sluggie's Avatar
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    Hiking and Hammocking with Dogs

    Hello, everyone!

    I've read through the old posts on hammocking with dogs and found them useful. However, I was curious about several things that I did not see discussed in the thread from last year.

    Lump and I adopted a shelter pup around the middle of December. Her name is Jesse and she is approximately a year old. We believe that she is a beagle mix and her current weight is 38 pounds. Jess is our hiking buddy and we plan on taking her backpacking with us.

    Both of us want her well trained and safe on the trail. Jess just graduated from Beginner Behavior Class and it starting the Intermediate Class in February.

    When we take her hiking in our local favorite spots, she is doing quite well. She carries a backpack with five pounds of weight. Jess is young and overly enthusiastic and needs to be on a leash. We've finally found one that works quite well for us. It is a 6-10 foot ruffwear leash with elastic inside so it is expandable.

    We have yet to cross a small river with Jess. We have also not taken her over anything that involves significant climbing like over rocks that meet the river and form the trail near Laurel Fork Falls on the AT or the log bridges at John Rock. Does anyone have any advice or tips to offer about dealing with those hazards?

    We've tried camping in the backyard on one unseasonably warm evening. We placed sturdy harness on her, gave her a blanket, and a ground pad. For the first part of the night, she slept nicely on her pad beside my hammack. Sometime after I quit the paranoid checking every ten minutes, I fell asleep. When I woke, she was gone. After a short but heartstopping search, I found her safe and sound three houses down. Needless to say, that could have gone very poorly if we had been in the woods.

    Our dog is a tube and they do not make a harness that will hold her. Jess can wiggle out of anything and is curious about everything. We've come to the conclusion that she needs to sleep in the hammock with me. We have had one successful nap that was approximately two hours in length. Jess and I were pretty comfortable. We plan on having more "training sessions" before ever taking her overnight on the trail. Does anyone whose dogs sleep in their hammock with them have any specific advice?

    I would appreciate any insight. I already dote on Jess and do not wish her to come to harm or to be an irritant to other hikers.

    Sincerely,
    Sluggie

  2. #2
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    I usually tie my dog's leash around a tree, but the mosquitoes really bother him in the warmer months. Last summer I took a small kid's tent for him to sleep in and it worked wonderfully (he is almost 11 and well-behaved). He can carry it in his own pack. That would probably work for your dog unless he whined to be let out or chewed a hole in the tent.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by russelj2 View Post
    I usually tie my dog's leash around a tree, but the mosquitoes really bother him in the warmer months. Last summer I took a small kid's tent for him to sleep in and it worked wonderfully (he is almost 11 and well-behaved). He can carry it in his own pack. That would probably work for your dog unless he whined to be let out or chewed a hole in the tent.
    Last year, during one of the first backpacking trips where I brought my buddy "Thunder", we were camped near a beautiful lake. I was in my tent (this was BH "Before Hammock") and Thunder was outside whining "Let me in. Let me in. Let me in." Whenever my wife and I car camp we always let Thunder sleep in our big tent with us. But this time I had a small "lightweight" 5 pound 2 man tent. That didn't matter to Thunder he wanted into my tent.

    "Ok, Ok" I said. I unzipped the door and let him in. I made him a bed of my hiking clothes and tried to go back to sleep.

    That's when he farted.

    And it was a big one.

    Immediately he was whining again "Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!"

    Yeah, thank you for sharing Thunder.

  4. #4
    Senior Member RockIsland's Avatar
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    I have a small beagle sized Hinze 57 that is also the shape of a tube. I use a collar at night and leash him up to a runner under my hammock. He has enough leash to get up into my hammock with me if I want but not so much that he gets into the tie-outs for the tarp. It does take some time training them to the collar if they are not use to it.

  5. #5
    sargevining's Avatar
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    Scout The Wonder Dog carries a 20 foot long plastic shielded cable I got from the WalMart pet section. It has a leash clip on each end. One end goes around the tree and clipped onto the cable, the other end clipped to his collar. It affords him the freedom to choose where he wants to sleep, and the peace of mind it takes for me to. This is in addition to the six foot leash we use when walking the trail.

    Depending on weather, he will sleep outside as far as the leash will let him, close under the edge of the tarp (when raining), or right under me (when its very cold). Sometimes I have to show him where to walk in order to miss the guy lines if I'm not able to tie them off to trees.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mattyg's Avatar
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    My pup lucky sleeps in the hammock about half the time, the other half she is on a bed under me. In the hammock I leave the net unzipped for her head to stick out or for her to make a bathroom escape.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Roche's Avatar
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    Hey there Sluggie,

    My thoughts on dog training: do it all the time and don't spoil her (treat after good behaviour, not just for being cute); you are the alpha, dogs have a "pack" mentality; choke collars work when it is used correctly; avoid "training her to sleep with you". These methods and intelligence do work; Gabriele trained me and I trained the intelligent German Shepherd.

    Some dogs get nervous / terrified crossing a grated bridge, the kind you can see through. Other than that, they all love the outdoors.

    Perhaps a hang with our pups in the Spring?

    Best to Lump.

  8. #8
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    We take our lab/beagle/pit/something mix tent camping with us and she sleeps on the tent's porch (although she would rather sleep inside but my wife doesn't let her). I thought she would be a good watch dog for camp but as it turns out we have trained her to be too respectful of any animal smaller than she is... I watched her watch a raccoon drink out of her water bowl one evening last year. She shares a water bowl with two cats at home so I guess she just thinks that her water bowl is a communal thing...

    I would love to take my dog on longer overnight hikes but 3 to 5 miles is her limit for hiking generally, she is too big for a hammock, and she snores.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bgraybackpacker's Avatar
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    My 10 lb terrier sleeps with me in the hammock, we end up switching around in the middle of the night since I constantly readjust myself. Make sure your dogs nails are always trimmed though. But then again our dog sleeps with the wife and I normally. I'm not sure that I would be comfortable with something 4 times that weight sleeping with me. I think I would give a 1 person tent a try for the dog, buy it from REI so if it is damaged you can return it and get your money back if it doesn't work.

    Where it comes to bridges and such you do what is comfortable for your dog. Carry over if they are scared don't force them or they may shy away from those sorts of situations even if you do end up carrying them in the end. The first time stop right at the top and take some pictures to let the dog get used to the idea of this is the path before moving on, this is a good time to treat. You have probably been told the theory of getting your dog used to things at a young age helps them accept it later in life. Dogs paws are resilient but you do have to keep checking them when you take your dog out hiking, backpacking, or camping.

    Running away, I would suggest if you have a concern about the dog running away in the night invest in a bright blinking light collar and turn it on at dusk. Also there might be a locator beacon you can get for their collar which could help you find them if they run off at night. Also your dog MUST have great recall training in all situations.

    You could also make your dog a hammock of their own and hang it below you with a zippered bug netting. I don't know any dog who would try and go potty in a swaying hammock.

  10. #10
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    I trained my pitbull with a e-collar which really come in handy when he roams around in the woods and i need to call him, the only problem i have encountered is that the e collar runs out of batter after 2 days or so. so if u go that route u gotta get a solar charger for longer backpacking trips.
    I am the all-singing, all-dancing crap of this world.... I am the toxic waste by-product of God's creation. ~Chuck Palahniuk,

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