Over the past weekend, we took Loki with us on our first backpacking trip to Desolation Wilderness, CA. This isn’t the first time we’ve gone hiking with him up tall mountains, the tallest being Mt.Tallac also in the Tahoe area. Turning 2 years old this August, he has boundless energy and no trouble keeping up with us on long, strenuous trails. If you are looking for an outdoor dog, shibas are for you (but don’t expect them to follow commands anytime soon :P )!
Staying true to his shiba nature, he still doesn’t have the greatest recall in the world. Yet, we manage to keep him “off-leash” on long hiking trips after recognizing his preferences:
1) When its potty time, he pretty much ignores all and runs off to do his business, but always returns
2) He prefers to hike faster than us, but always stops to keep us in sight
3) On hot days, he runs off to find a water source to cool down, but always returns
With long backpacking/hiking trips, bringing the right gear for your dog is a must. Below is a list of my favorite products that we frequently bring for Loki.
1) Gulpy Water Dispenser – $8
The gulpy makes it incredibly easy for us to give Loki his water. It saves you the hassle of finding his water bowl, dispensing water, drying out the bowl, and packing it away. We love his gulpy!
2) Bear Bell – $5
Doubles both as a bear bell, and as a location tracker for your dog is. Highly recommended if you hike in the wilderness and let your dog off leash.
3) Doggy Backpack – $40-80
If the temperature is relatively cool, we like to make Loki carry his own water/treats with a doggy backpack. It reduces the weight that we carry and tires him out a bit more. With backpacks, it is important to bring your dog to the store to try on the backpack. Relying on measurements alone can be difficult because you want to judge how comfortable your dog looks with his backpack on. At 29lbs, Loki fits the REI ultra dog pack pretty well.
4) Doggy boots – $30-60
If you are a serious hiker, you probably take your dogs on more difficult, rocky trails. This can really mess up your dogs paws. I’ve heard stories of hikers having to carry their dog mid-hike because their dog refused to move another inch. On our Mt.Tallac hike, the terrain was rocky near the summit, and Loki started showing signs of discomfort. This was when we decided to purchase doggy boots. Again, it is important to try out the boots in store before you purchase. The ones that fit Loki were Ultra Paws in XS. However, they did start sliding off after a while, so I am curious if there are better options.
5) Any 6ft lightweight leash – <$10
This only applies if you have shibas with not-so-good recall. We usually have him drag a short leash on trails, so that its slightly easier to catch him if necessary. On the end of the leash, we cut open the loop so that it doesn’t catch on rocks/branches. Works pretty well with Loki!