The weather is improving, so the weathermen keep telling us anyway and its looking good outside the office window this morning, and we are all itching to get outdoors again and we all like to get our four legged friends outdoors too so here at your favourite hiking store we thought we would see what advice we could come up with to make that experience a little better.

1. Is it suitable for the family pooch?

We should consider the fact that not all dogs will enjoy going hiking, so do consider factors such as your dog’s age, its stature and fitness level as to whether you take them, or maybe alter your choice of trail so that you can take your pooch with you. Older dogs will tire quicker and may suffer (like all of us) from more achy joints. At the other end of a scale puppies development may in fact be hindered if they are taken on too tough a walk or hike as if there is too much jumping or scrambling over rocky areas. Make sure that they react well to others as you will meet other people, dogs, cyclists or even horses, so if your dog is nervous you may want to select quieter routes away from roads.

2. Control

Remember that you will be in effect representing all dog owners when are out walking, so it does help to be on your best behavior, so keep control at all times, which means that it is best to keep them on a leash or lead at all times. This will help prevent potential problems from chasing wildlife to running up to other approaching walkers or meeting up with another dog.

3. Other Walkers

It may appear to be a bit of a bind keeping your dog on a lead but at the end of the day you do have to consider the fact that not everyone likes dogs. Some can be a little nervous, some may have an allergy to them, and there is that minority who just do not like them and think that they shouldn’t be allowed on walking trails and routes. So to keep fellow walkers as happy as possible and to prevent potential incidents it is safer to treat each approaching walker as someone one who doesn’t like dogs until they prove otherwise. Give them the right of way on the path and step to the side.

4. Plant life and other wildlife

Keeping them on a lead or leash and therefore on the path you are using avoids this issue. A dog off the lead can be easily excitable and chase after everything they see. Just remember that you are in these animals home environment, and staying on the right path also avoids the potential for harming fragile and possibly threatened or endangered plants.

5. Take breaks for water and snacks

Remember that dehydration and overheating are common problems for dogs out on longer walks so plenty of breaks should be used, but again try not to let your pet drink from any standing water you find along the way. Be sure to have enough fresh water for you and your four legged companion

So these tips should keep you out of too much mischief while still allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors in the company of your pet; this is by no means an exhaustive list as things can change depending on your location and the time of the year, but your favourite hiking store is always hear so maybe this is a subject we can write more on in the future.