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A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog

igfoot’s number one pet is the wolverine but for us humans it’s the canine. Americans are projected to spend $60 billion this year on pets! A large portion of this goes to dogs. We all love our dogs and generally take them everywhere we can. There are many classes: working dogs, service dogs, rescue dogs, therapy dogs, competition dogs, hunting dogs, fishing dogs (yes, fishing dogs such as Portuguese water dogs, a proud pedigree and heritage of fishing related traits including herding fish into nets), and just good ole family companion dogs. They all have one thing in common; a devout desire to please and do the right thing, all while providing countless hours of enjoyment, entertainment, and laughter.

Because of their heightened senses of smell, hearing, and visual acuity, outdoor adventurers are blessed with imponderable benefits by having pooch along on outings. But we are the smarter species and we have to provide preparedness and protection for them.

Turbid Water, Phil Akers, A Panting Dog is a Happy Dog
Keep dogs on a short leash when around any danger such as turbid water, cliffs, snow bridges, etc. It’s our responsibility to look out for them.

From walks, runs, swims, hunts, hikes, backpacks, or competitions, make sure your dog is in proper condition for the activity you intend to do. Just like us they need to build up their strength and endurance. For backpacking, to maintain their condition, periodically have them wear a pack around your property and on local walks. The amount of weight a dog can carry varies based on the bred and age of the dog…and who you talk to. From vets, dog clubs, hunting clubs, and contacting differing online resources, I have been told anywhere between five and thirty percent of their body weight. Nobody is on the same page here. From experience I can say a well fit larger breed dog in its prime can carry 20-25 percent of their weight no problem. Be in tune with your dog, be sensitive to post-activity soreness, and build up to the maximum weight at home or on day trips, instead of on the wilderness trail. Do not over weight your dog!

Dorothy Shores, Phil Akers, A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog
Larger breed dogs in their prime can carry 20-25 percent of their total body weight with proper training and regular exercise.

Backpacking dogs can carry their own food, water, treats, collapsible water/food containers, and anything else to round out the load. In addition to carrying all of his stuff, I usually have my dog carry the water filter and perhaps a couple other similar items. He only carries his own water if traveling long stretches of trail without a water source. If your dog is domesticated to the point of everyday drinking of potable water meant for human consumption, it can be susceptible to giardia and other waterborne diseases. But I wouldn't worry about things unless in an area that is repeatedly trampled by range cattle.

Don’t be frugal or skimp when choosing a pack for your dog. Otherwise you could end up with an awkward fitting, uneven load, despite equal weight distributed on each side. Before purchasing a pack I did a lot of research and have only used one pack, the REI Adventure Dog. I’ve been very pleased with the terrific fit, the design to minimize shifting, breathable mesh harness, grab handle, and grommet drain holes in the bottom of the panniers. Be sure to double-bag the dog’s food if hiking with a water dog.

Jackass, Phil Akers, A Panting Dog is a Happy Dog

If backpacking with a water dog waterproof any contents you don’t want to get wet such as food and treats.

Pup, Phil Akers, A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog
No ma‘am, I didn't dig or eat any flowers.

Start obedience training as soon as possible. Make encounters with strange people and strange pooches a big part of this training. Introduce your dog to stock. If your dog cannot stay within earshot and obey commands then leave them at home and give training more time. There are too many distractions such as other people and their pets, stock, wildlife, and enticing smells. Train and practice at home, local fields and trails. Work them out somewhat before getting serious with the training, get the early excitement out of them so they can focus better.

Talus, Phil Akers, A Panting Dog is a Happy Dog
Some terrain is not very friendly to a dog’s pads.
Traveling in volcanic and granite talus areas can be damaging to dog’s pads. You can purchase booties specifically designed to protect dog’s pads but good luck, I have never owned a dog that will tolerate wearing them. Our running dogs (fox and coyote dogs) suffered more severe pad damage than our tree dogs (raccoon and bear dogs). I can testify that Tuf-Foot is a great product for treatment of sore or damaged pads.

Consider the dog your liability in terms of first aid. Before backpacking the wilderness areas with your dog, make sure it is up-to-date with all vaccinations including giardia and rabies. The dog should also have been treated for heartworm. Consult your vet. Outside of this just be able to treat your dog for their most common injury which is puncture wounds mostly due to sticks. Having ran and hunted dogs for many years, I can say that punctures occur often from pine knot sticks protruding from deadfalls. Carry Benadryl and aspirin (never give them Tylenol or Ibuprofen), iodine, and antibiotic ointment. Flush a puncture wound with a ten percent iodine-to-water solution, then it is important that the puncture wound get air. But it is better to cover the wound that have them constantly licking it…maybe cover it at night and let it air during the day when moving.

Pacific Crest Trail, Phil Akers, A Panting Dog is a Happy Dog
Phideaux backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail.

Rattlesnakes are a concern when traveling the backcountry with pooch. They are far more likely than us to not only get bit but die from a bite. Just like humans, bite prevention is the best practice. If your dog is rattlesnake bitten, realize this is a life threatening situation that requires immediate veterinarian care, and the antivenin is quite costly (~ $800 a vile). After a week of sickness and severe swelling, I have seen large breed dogs survive copperhead bites untreated, but I have no experience with a dog being rattlesnake bit and allowed to go untreated. Two excellent preventive measures for your dog is the canine rattlesnake vaccine and rattlesnake avoidance training.

Comprised from the venom of western diamondbacks, the canine rattlesnake vaccine will both delay and lessen the severity of snakebite symptoms…less pain and swelling, far less tissue damage, faster recovery, and most importantly fewer deaths. But it is no guarantee that all will be fine. Smaller breed dogs will always have a much harder time fighting equal doses of venom, and large breed dogs can also suffer greater negative consequences if there are multiple bites, if the bite is intravenous, or very near vital organs. Even if your dog was given the canine rattlesnake vaccine you should still get them to a vet as soon as possible. Some dogs produce more antibodies than others and thus have weaker symptoms and recover much faster.

You can also take your dog to rattlesnake avoidance training. Many different vets, clubs, and even freelance types offer this training and their techniques vary. Some use shock treatment while others do not. Do your research and decide for yourself. I can only testify that avoidance training utilizing muzzled rattlesnakes with mild shock works great. Below are some rattlesnake avoidance training sessions in the near future:

Friday – Saturday, April 10 & 11, location: Dunnigan/Sacramento
Host: Raahagues Hunting Club

Sunday, April 26, Location: Chico, Host: Valley Oak Veterinary Center

Tuesday, June 23, Location: Burney/Redding/Fall River Mills, Host: Shannon King

Sled, Phil Akers, A Panting Dog is a Happy Dog
Some may think dog training is torture…not me. Dogs live for activity and doing what they have been trained to do.

Whatever your outdoor activity with the pooch, enjoy the training and all times spent with them. Be mindful to other user groups you might encounter. Work them hard at their skill set, they strive for activity and positive communication. Remember, a happy dog is a panting dog.

Phil “Flip” Akers is a diverse angler and outdoor adventurer. For over 20 years he has backpacked, packed llamas and fly fished the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, venturing into the farthest reaches of our wilderness areas pursuing quality trout and solitude. He enjoys sharing his experiences including tips, techniques, outdoor cooking recipes, and storytelling. He is certified in wilderness first response and rescue including swiftwater rescue, technical rope and technical animal rescue.

More Outdoor News

Selecting Hiking Boots and Shoes

 Merrell men’s Moab Ventilator Mid hiking boot. Photo courtesy of Trailhead Gear
By Jim Broshears
In order to be prepared to shop for hiking shoes or boots, you need to be able to answer the following questions. How are you going to use the shoe/boot? Do you want waterproof or ventilated? Do you want low, mid or high boot...Full Story

The Vanishing Spirit of America

White stallion and black stallion, photo by: Laura Simpson © 2015
Photo Essay by William E. Simpson, photos by Laura Simpson © 2015
I have crested the high places of the earth in the darkness to greet the fiery orb rising in the east and the beginning of a new day…I was nurtured and...Full Story

Game Wardens and Ghost Towns

All that’s left of the ghost town of Newville are the remains of this service station. I remember the old hand-pump gas tank still being out front during the 1960s; it’s gone now. Photo by Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
12/02/16 -- Out of beer and three sheets to the wind, the three deer poachers turned west on Newville Road and headed northeast toward Paskenta. Rounding the first bend, they passed the ghost town of Newville. Newville had thrived...Full Story

The Most Beautiful Duck in North America

The drake mallard, with its iridescent green head., by Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan 
11/05/16 -- Ask any waterfowl enthusiast to name the most beautiful duck in North America, and he or she will most likely point to the brilliant, multicolored, drake wood duck (Aix sponsa). Others might claim that the iridescent green head of...Full Story

ODFW Weekly Recreation Report

09/29/16 -- Oregon’s most popular hunting season opens statewide Oct. 1. Don’t forget to pick up your tag by Sept. 30. Forecast rain could make it a good opener in some areas; see the reports below for more information. Don’t forget to...Full Story

An Island of Our Own

Western Toad, by kathy callan
On Patrol, by Steven T. Callan
09/23/16 -- Over the years, Kathy and I have often dreamed of escaping today’s fast-paced, hectic world and moving to an island of our own—an island of trees, flowers, and abundant wildlife, where we could experience the joys of...Full Story

Rafting and Reflecting on the American

Rafting on the American River, by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
06/12/16 -- When I looked at the list of outdoor activities for this year’s Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) spring conference, a rafting trip down the American River practically jumped off the page...Full Story

​In Search of the Elegant Trogon

Male hooded oriole in pomegranate tree, photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
05/18/16 -- I’ve always been fascinated with birds, but I really became hooked on bird-watching, or birding, as it’s often called, during the mid-seventies when I was a rookie Fish and Game warden down on the Colorado...Full Story

The Mudhen King

Don Webster, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
04/22/16 -- There has been a time or two during my life when having some knowledge and experience with the outdoor world has come in handy. Especially job handy. As in monetarily handy. I remember one such occasion...Full Story

Hite Cove

hand holding fish, by phil akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
03/21/16 -- Revered by the Ahwahneechee, later congressionally designated as a Wild and Scenic River, the South Fork Merced originates on the southern slope of Triple Divide Peak in Yosemite National Park. Part of the Clark ...Full Story

​A Letter to Ted Trueblood

Ted Trueblood, photo courtesy of Don Webster
By Don Webster
01/28/16 -- Although you probably know what’s on my mind, I think you understand that it’s important for me to tell you anyway. You, Corey Ford, Nash Buckingham, Robert Ruark, and Ernest Hemingway were writers who wrote... Full Story

Flat tires! Are They Undetectable?

Example of what happens to a flat tire driven at freeway speed and possibly ten miles distance, photo by Don Stec
By Don Stec
11/02/15 -- Modern vehicles handle very well. So it is understandable when some people tell us they did not notice one tire was flat and drove several miles on the flat, destroying the tire. The first time I had heard this... Full Story

Poaching in the Parks

A stately bull elk in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Photo by Kathy Callan
By Steven T. Callan
08/29/15 -- The recent killing of Hwange National Park’s beloved icon, Cecil the Lion, has brought to mind a number of outrageous poaching incidents that occurred right here in California -- all of them inside national parks, state parks... Full Story

Those Wonderful Wildlife Caregivers

Steven T. Callen with one of three orphaned black bear cubs, circa 1981. Photo courtesy of Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
07/18/15 -- One of the more disheartening, sometimes discouraging aspects of a wildlife officer’s job is dealing with injured, orphaned, or imprinted wildlife that cannot be released back into the wild. Wildlife rehabilitation facilities, most of... Full Story

Caribou Wilderness

Susan Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
06/01/15 -- Adjacent to the eastern border of Lassen Volcanic National Park is a remote volcanic plateau on the eastern slopes of what was once Mt. Tehama. Cinder cones, crater peaks, old-growth forest, and azure lakes make up... Full Story

A Jewel in the Desert

Once coveted by the pet trade, native reptiles, like this chuckwalla, may no longer be sold in California. Photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
05/25/15 -- In late April, before summer set in, Kathy and I decided to spend a few days in the land of blistering sands and sharp thorns. I had worked in the California desert during my early years with the California Department of Fish... Full Story

Don’t kill them all! Some snakes are good!

Indigo snake
By Captain William E. Simpson
04/27/15 -- Most survivalists and Preppers spend a good deal of time outdoors as do many other Americans. Many people have a healthy fear of snakes, and given the fact that there are several species of venomous snakes that are...Full Story

Marijuana Wars and the California DFW

ish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow with suspected poisoned bear at an illegal marijuana grow site. Photo courtesy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow
By Steven T. Callan
04/16/15 -- Just after daylight in September 2014, four California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers and four Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies quietly locked their vehicles and began what was to be an arduous hike... Full Story

‘Preppers’ & Disaster Preparedness Myths

Life is hard... it's even harder if you're stupid, John Wayne
By Capt. William E. Simpson
04/14/15 -- We live in a world where civilization, reason and logic are said to be at historic heights, yet so many people today, especially our youth, are making new lows in relevant intelligence and labor under a host of myths and illusions...Full Story

Show Respect and Pass Through Quietly

Butte Valley Wildlife Area with Mount Shasta in background, photo by Kathy and Steven Callan
By Steven T. Callan 
03/05/15 -- “Quick, roll up the windows!” said Kathy. We had just entered the ten-mile auto tour route at Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, when four cars roared by us like we were standing still. Pulling to the side of the road...Full Story

Tactical Survival Axe, AKA: ‘The Bruiser’

USMC Tactical Survival Axe, AKA: ‘The Bruiser’, photo by William E. Simpson
Article and photos by Capt. William E. Simpson
02/24/15 -- I am not an expert with edged weapons, even though I have a trunk-load of them, including the old Buck hunting knife that my Dad gave me when I was a teenager many moons ago. So with that said, I wanted to share...Full Story

Hot Stove

blue lake surrounded by gray snow peaked mountains with green grass meadow in the foreground. Photo by Phil Flip Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
02/24/15 -- Much like fantasy baseball, winter is the “hot stove” season for high elevation wilderness adventures. It is time to study and plan for the upcoming summer. But instead of preparing to draft players, we find...Full Story

A Problem Requiring a Different Approach

A humungous crowd of people.
By Captain William E. Simpson, USMM
02/08/15 -- Most survival strategies and related tactics used today draw upon the methods that were used or which worked in past small-scale localized and regional disasters, and will likely work again to some extent in similar...Full Story

Firearms and Disaster Preparedness

Military man leaning on the heavy back that pulled him backwards
Article and photos by Captain William E. Simpson, USMM
01/19/15 -- With the start of the new-year, there always seem to be several articles that come out promoting guns as part of a preparedness solution. And it’s an unfortunate fact that firearms have become almost synonymous with Prep... Full Story

Getting Kids Hooked

Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
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Survival Using RVs

Silver mobile home with striped awning, parked on a grassy field alongside a river with forested hills leading up to snow capped mountains. Photo by William E. Simpson
Article and photos by William E. Simpson
12/26/14 -- Over the past year many people have reached-out to me asking the same question; ‘What can people do to survive a catastrophic event besides sailing to an island on a bug-out boat? This was of course a natural... Full Story

For the Love of Ducks

Snow geese at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. photo by Steven T. Callan
Article and photos by Steven T. Callan
12/23/14 -- With the north wind blowing off snow-covered Mount Shasta, it was brutally cold that December afternoon in 1960. Sitting in the back seat of our family car, I spotted an enormous flock of snow-white birds feeding in the... Full Story

Disaster Preparedness Strategies – Part II

NASA image depicting solar storm impacting earth’s geomagnetic field.
By Capt. William E. Simpson, USMM
11/25/14 -- Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of Disaster Preparedness articles written by Capt. William E. Simpson, USMM. The first was an attempt to simplify the subject of disaster preparedness by focusing on risk...Full Story

Disaster Preparedness Strategies – Part I

Preparedness & Survival by Capt. William E. Simpson
11/12/14 -- Over the past few years, disaster preparedness (“prepping”) has become a popular topic. A very large mix of people have begun preaching prepping, all having different motives for promoting their particular... Full Story

Making Friends With The Neighbors

Wild (feral) stallions competing - copyright Laura Simpson 2014
By William E. Simpson
10/14/14 -- There are few animals in nature that match the majestic beauty of a stallion running wild and free. They rule their territory by day and by night. Recently, my wife Laura and I decided to change adventures...Full Story

Ishi

 Newspaper headline from early August 1911. Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Bee.
By Phil 'Flip' Akers
10/08/14 -- Southwest of Mt. Lassen lies a remote and largely forgotten piece of Cascade foothill region. Dark basaltic cliffs and pinnacles adorn inhospitable river canyons, carved by what is now Mill and Deer Creeks, through bad...Full Story

Tall Trees and Emerald Waters

Kathy at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, beside one of the largest (redwood) trees on Earth., photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
10/06/14 -- Kathy and I recently attended the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) fall conference on the aptly-named Wild Rivers Coast. Stretching from Port Orford, Oregon to Klamath, California, the Wild.... Full Story

Lassen National Volcanic Park

Jim Broshears, Mt. Lassen view from Brokeoff Mountain
By Jim Broshears
07/21/14 -- Lassen National Park is one of the best kept secrets in the National Park system. It may be hard to call a place that has over 400,000 visitors a year a secret but compared to Yosemite’s 2.5 million and the 9.4...Full Story

Peak Bagging in Winter

Peak Bagging in Winter, Jim Broshears, Trailhead Adventures, Paradise, CA, MyOutdoorBuddy.com By Jim Broshears
02/11/13 -- Peak bagging, according to peakbagging.com/ refers to climbing mountains. When a summit is reached, it is “bagged”. You don’t have to go to exotic locations to enjoy this sport, or even be an elite mountain climber...Full Story

The Mystery of the Middle Fork – Part III

Jim Broshears, Trailhead Tales author badge for My outdoor buddy
By Jim Broshears
04/09/14 -- Our search for Tuck’s lost meadow continued in 2013. After three previous trips and multiple days of searching, you might be wondering why we don’t just call it a day. Or possibly question why we have not... Full Story

The 'Death Wobble' -- Be Safe Not Sorry!

Death Wobble, underbody of a vehicle, Don Stec
Article and photos by Don Stec
03/31/14 -- Death Wobble is not to be confused with a front-end shimmy or a wheel balance problem. A Death Wobble (DW) is very common on vehicles with a solid front axle. It has earned its name, not from mechanics but by vehicle... Full Story

The Mystery of the Middle Fork -- Part II

Article and photos by Jim Broshears
03/10/14 -- Our return to the Middle Fork of Feather River would take place in August of 2012. Having nearly 10 months to plan the next exploration, we, of course, waited until the last minute decide our course of action... Full Story

The Mystery of the Middle Fork -- Part I

The Mystery of the Missing Valley By Jim Broshears
Article and photos by Jim Broshears
02/15/14 -- Part #1 Exploring the Middle Fork of the Feather River -- Stories about hidden valleys, waterfalls, canyons and fishing are part of outdoor folklore. Most of these tales begin with “When I was a kid we went to this place” and...Full Story

 

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