Training Tips for Hiking with your Dog

Whitney “ALLGOOD” LaRuffa and his lab Karluk are long distance hikers and Ruffwear Ambassadors based in the Pacific Northwest. Together they have been busy this winter both hiking as well as sharpening their ski touring and mountaineering skills. With big goals this season, ALLGOOD shared with us some of his training and preparation plans for the miles and miles of trails in their near future.

Tips From ALLGOOD and Karluk-

Weight in Pack: I have been easing Karluk back into to carrying weight. We started with four pounds and have been working up the to the ten pounds he is now carrying. Just like a person I didn't want to over do it when just starting back.

Miles: Just like weight we started slow and built the miles up. Our first few training hikes were  six to seven miles. We then built up to completing a thirteen-mile hike. I think it is best to add a few miles each hike that way when it comes time for back-to-back twenty-five mile days Karluk will be ready and not risk and injury or strain.

Booties: When needed, the Grip Trex boots work well for Karluk. I found that once on, it helps to play ball to get him focused on something else beside trying to get the booties off.

Trail Food: With backpacking season approaching, it is time to start the process of dehydrating food for our trips. I am going to use two separate food items this year.

The first is using the Natural Balance meat logs and crumbling up one feeding size per tray in the dehydrator and then dehydrating the food to be reconstituted later on the trail.

The second dehydrated meal I will be making is a homemade recipe. In this, I mix cooked brown rice, chicken breast, beef liver and pumpkin puree in a large pot and then place it in the dehydrator. I then package the dried food into food saver bags. When on trail, all I have to do is add one and a half to two cups of boiling water, then seep and occasionally stir until it rehydrates. This usually takes ten to fifteen minutes.

By making my own dehydrated food, I can lighten Karluk’s food weight for him, and also ensure he is getting the proper nutrition and extra calories needed when on trail.

by ruffwear




Stacie Murray
Stacie Murray

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