Pack hiking is a great activity to do with your best friend, it’s a wonderful workout and a great bonding experience.
Start out slow, if your dog has never worn a pack before don’t put anything in it the first few times you go hiking, just let them get used to the feel of the pack on their back. Slowly add weight, up to 25% of your dog’s body weight. The pack should always sit on your dog’s shoulders, not back towards the loins. Make sure the pack is properly fitted and secured to avoid any damage to your dog’s spine.
Always keep your dog on a leash, most public parks have rules about this but even if the park doesn’t have this rule it’s important to keep your dog on a leash for his safety and out of courtesy for other hikers because most Samoyeds enjoy saying hi to everyone but not everyone likes being rushed at by a stranger dog, even a friendly one.
Depending on the terrain you plan to hike and the weather your dog might need booties to protect their feet. Most of them don’t like the feel of the booties the first time you put them on so give them time to get used to them.
Take plenty of water and a portable water bowl for your dog on the hike with you, offer your dog water every 30 minutes. Pack hiking can be a very strenuous activity so make sure to keep your friend well hydrated.
Samoyeds are cold weather dogs so I would not recommend hiking with them when it’s hot outside, I don’t pack hike with my dogs if it’s warmer than 75F.
Below I will outline the equipment I recommend using for pack hiking.
- For the pack I use Wolf Packs Banzai Dog Pack. My male wears a size M and my female is a size S, they are about an average size for a male and female Samoyed but our breed has a lot of variation in size so make sure to measure your dog before you purchase a pack for them. You can also purchase the same pack from the Denver Samoyed Association, the proceeds from this purchase will go towards Samoyed rescue.
- Dog booties – I use their 1000 Denier Cordura Booties because they are tough and waterproof.
- Travel water bowl
The Samoyed Club of America has a working title you can earn for pack hiking, you have to be a SCA member in order to earn it. For more information about the title and how to earn it please visit the SCA website.
- Pack Hiking by Pam Landers