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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

My little pup will only be 5 months at the start of prime hiking season. I've been reading that at this young, puppies really shouldn't do more than an hour of hiking/walking at a time.

So I started googling and I came across a backpack that lets you carry your dog and the dog is comfortably sitting upright. From my research, the K9 AirPack is probably the best for medium sized dogs (which my pup should be by month 4-5) and the best pack on the market. https://www.k9sportsack.com/collections/dog-carriers/products/k9-sport-sack-air-dog-carrier-backpack?variant=6983698841658

Has anyone used this? Recommendations? Warnings? Success stories?

I'm quite the hiker and want my pup to be able to go with me on day hikes but I know they can't do the miles at the beginning and this seems like a great way to let them come along, hike part of the way, and then rest up.

Thanks for weighing in!

Cesko
 

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Cesko


I would get the back pack if it makes you feel more secure, but I question the 1 hour rule, and where it came from. Those packs look pretty nice, but are they big enough to put a 5 month old V in???
Finn has been out in the woods for many weeks now and he is just 4 1/2 months old. We do "loops" that allow me to monitor him and when he begins to get bored, or finally slows down, so that we can be at the truck in a few minutes.
Our typical "walks" this past few weeks have been about two hours, but it's a "moving" two hours because I am working on his field hunting. Once again though, the truck is never more than 10-15 minutes away.
I know it takes away from your day hikes, but it might be a better investment at this point for him to move in loops with him and work on his ground manners while hiking. Kind of remedial for you, I know, but by the early summer he'll easily be keeping up with you. By fall, you'll be the "anchor" on your team. ;)
I know that many people don't believe in diet supplements, but as a former USCF racer and Triathlete, I can't recommend them enough. Start introducing some Cosequine, Hyaluronic Acid, and Glucosamine, into his diet.
I don't know how you're handling the water situation, but I always carry water from home in bottles for the dogs. I know they can get water from ponds and streams, bit I always worry about what's in it. Active dogs need to learn to drink from water bottles anyway. ;)
Give him a little time to catch up to where you're at. You won't ever regret it. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Gunnr,

Thanks so much for the insight and espcially about the diet.

The pack is built for dogs up to 40 lbs (and I could get a bigger model able to hold 80 lbs dogs, but who can carry that?!), but I am still on the fence about it.

I need to see if there are some walks we can do, but the area of the US I'm in doesn't allow us to just walk through the woods, we have to be on a marked trail and the ones that are small, short loops which would allow us to be 15 min from the car are usually paved and full of people (and I'd like to work on training him and working with him on the dirt trails in the forest). I'll talk to the vet more about exercise, though, and I'll start slowly and see how he does. I think in my head I was hoping I could go for 3 hours and split the time between him walking and being carried. From what I read, they can do much logner than an hour a day while young, just not all at once (so a 60 min walk, followed by a 30-45 min rest, then walk again).

Still time to consider, he doesn't come home until mid April and then I have a few months before primo hiking season :). And a 100% agree on the water. Once he's older I'll have him carry his own but in the meantime I've got a doggie bottle for him.

Appreciate the feedback and insight- thank you!

:) Cesko
 

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i read that same advice before he was born, but, observationally,
it’s just impossible to make a V tired, i don’t think it applies...

i think that walk/rest/walk cycle happens naturally,
george runs ahead,
then waits around for my slow ass to catch up to him,
repeat...

by 6 months george and i were doing 5 milers on a regular basis.
by 9 months, he climbed his first 14k peak - 10 miles round trip with a mile of vertical gain (for me, he probably zigzagged for another 5 more).
i can still distinctly recall how much lip he gave me when i drove past the dog park on the way home and didn’t stop...

i added distance slowly, always let george dictate the pace, but,
don’t think i’ve ever seen him get back to trailhead at anything other than full gallop.
i’d be shocked if you ever needed to break that backpack out...

in addition to water, i tend to carry more substantial treats with us when we go,
he seems to do better with regular small bits of energy,
and there are never enough moments to work on training.

best hiking companion i could have imagined, have fun out there...
 

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Ten-fifteen mile hike is a lot of wear, and tear on a puppy's joints.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Joav,

Thank you so much for your observations! Knowing I can a 5 mile by month 6 is great- really appreciate the insight! I wasn't sure how "by the book" i should go and all of the "max 1 hour hiking" times worried me a bit so was looking for a good alternative.

I think it looks like I'll just be starting slow and on basic trails with just a few miles at first, and can see how he does as we go along over the summer.

After he's well over a year, I'll start taking him jogging with me, but I know at first running with him is not recommended as the pounding is not good for the bones and joints that are still firming up. So I'm glad to have hope of including him in my other love, hiking :).

Good idea on the substantial treats, too. I was thinking of even bringing a half portion of a meal for him, too, in addition to the treats but I guess I'll figure out what he needs/wants as he goes along. My husky had zero interest in food while outside so I'm hoping my Vizsla will take a bit more food as otherwise those eager pups use up their energy right away.

Again, thanks a mil for the feedback!

Kind regards,
Cesko
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi TexasRed,

Yes, agreed when they are young this is a lot of miles. That kind of distance is something I'll save for when they get older, but I'm hoping to build up to 5-7 miles weekend hikes after the pup is 6+ months.

In your experience, is 12 months ok for the longer hikes?

Kind regards,
Cesko
 

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Cesko
All growth plates don't fully close until around 15- 18 months. Anything under two years old, you would want xrays to make sure they are closed.

If I do a mile walk, I can guarantee my dogs have probably ran 5 miles or more.
You have years to hike with your dog. There is no reason to be in a rush, and jeopardize their long-term health.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi Texas,

Yes :), that is why I was so keen to look into a backpack so my doggo could come on these slightly longer hikes before he's ready to do the miles.

Appreciate everyone weighing in.

Cheers,
Cesko
 
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