The idea of working remotely and traveling the world at the same time has become increasingly popular in recent years. However, for pet owners, this can be a bit of a challenge. It’s important to take into consideration your furry friend’s needs and well-being when making the decision to become a digital nomad. Here are some tips on how to become a digital nomad when you have a pet.
Learn Laws Concerning Pets
Before setting off on your travels, it’s important to understand the laws regarding pet ownership and travel in the countries you plan to visit. Some countries may require certain vaccinations or paperwork before allowing pets to enter. Others may have strict rules about pet ownership. Doing your research beforehand will ensure that you’re well-prepared and won’t run into any issues later on.
Vaccinate and Microchip Your Pet
Ensuring that your pet’s vaccinations and microchip are up-to-date is crucial when traveling. It’s important to have proof of vaccination with you at all times, especially when crossing borders. A microchip can also be useful in case your pet gets lost while on the road.
Feed Your Pet Healthy Food
Feeding your pet nutritious food is crucial for their overall health and well-being. If you’re a dog owner, opting for grain-free kibble can help alleviate allergies and digestive problems in your furry friend. This could help ensure your pet stays healthy and happy throughout the journey.
Find Pet-Friendly Lodging
When planning your accommodations, be sure to look for pet-friendly options. Many hotels and hostels allow pets, but it’s important to double-check beforehand. Airbnb and other vacation rental platforms often have filters for pet-friendly properties. If you plan on camping, make sure to research campsites that allow pets.
Look for Capable Veterinary Care
It’s always a good idea to research veterinary care options in the areas you plan to visit. In case of an emergency, it’s important to know where to go and who to contact. You can also ask for recommendations from other pet owners in online communities or social media groups.
Explore Way to Make a Consistent Income
Becoming a digital nomad requires a stable source of income. Freelancing, starting your own business, or finding a remote job are all viable options. It’s important to have a plan in place to ensure that you can support yourself and your pet throughout your travels.
Design Business Cards
Impromptu networking is an excellent opportunity to connect with other digital nomads and potential clients. In such situations, having business cards with your contact information and skills can be incredibly helpful in making a lasting impression. To design and print your business cards, click here to find templates you can customize with your own images, colors, and copy.
Seek Out Helpful Tools and Technologies
As a digital nomad, mastering essential tools and technologies is crucial for success. Video conferencing software, project management tools, and cloud storage services enable efficient communication and collaboration with clients or coworkers, regardless of location. By utilizing these tools, digital nomads can stay productive and connected while working remotely.
Becoming a digital nomad with a pet may seem overwhelming at first, but it is certainly achievable with some careful planning and preparation. It is important to familiarize yourself with the various rules and regulations surrounding traveling with pets, as well as to network to find work opportunities. Additionally, it is essential to prioritize your pet’s nutrition and well-being while on the road. With these considerations in mind, you can embrace the freedom of exploring new places with your furry companion by your side.
Reconnect your pup to nature with hiking trips with Adventure Pup.
Today we are going to enjoy a tasty treat with our dogs. Choose a food that both you and your dog enjoys. Please educate yourself on all of the dog-safe human foods before beginning this exercise. I prefer a stick of string cheese, something that’s yummy, can last a while, and is safe for Link to eat.
Before diving into this activity, please educate yourself on dog-friendly foods so you don’t accidentally poison your best friend.
Start by sitting in a quiet location with your dog, again without distractions such as your phone or children. Begin slowly enjoying your treat. If we stick with the string cheese example, begin by removing the wrapper. Do this slowly and with intent. Pay attention to what you are doing, but also pay attention to what your dog is doing. As you unwrap the food is your dog at attention by your feet? Or are they still in their own world, ignoring you until they know the snack will be shared? Link can tell the difference between a string cheese wrapper and any other piece of plastic on this earth.
As you observe them, take note of how your fingers feel as you unwrap your treat. What do you smell? Then, ever so slowly, take a small bite of the food. As you do, note what sensations come up in your body. The taste, the texture, the smell. Continue noting as you slowly chew, and swallow. With your next bite, observe your dog. Are they watching you? Are they ignoring you? With your third bite, hand a small piece to your pup and observe them. Do they swallow without chewing? Do they savor it? Do they spit it out?
On the next bite, offer them a small piece but hold it in your hand as they attempt to take it. Feel their tongue on your skin, perhaps a tiny bit of tooth on your skin (if your dog is biting your skin, do not give them the treat as you will be rewarding them for biting you- instead wait until they have stopped mouthing you and reward them once they are no longer chewing on you). Watch their expressions: their eyes, ears, mouths, noses, and tails will all tell you something about how your dog feels about this exercise.
You can repeat this exercise with other snacks. You can also do this exercise with your dog’s normal food, just be sure to feed yourself something comparable in size & texture so you are having a shared experience. This activity could help you learn what snacks your pup loves most, and which they just eat simply because it’s available. This can help you build a hierarchy of treats, and know which ones your dog deems high value for those tougher training activities.
I don’t know about you, but when I eat I am often just shoveling food into my mouth without any consideration of how it tastes or what it does for my body. This exercise helps me slow down and actually pay attention to the sensations of eating. It’s night and day. Doing this exercise with Link slows me down even more, and eventually slows him down too. We are both able to savor our food more, and enjoy some quiet time together.
One of the most rewarding parts of my life is the time I’ve spent in animal shelters. If you’ve ever been in a shelter you might have experienced animals that seem anxious, sad, or shut down. They’ll either sit at a distance with their backs to you, or pace back and forth, showing their teeth and giving low, warning growls. Whenever I’ve worked or volunteered in a shelter, I’ve enjoyed attempting connections with those that need it most. The dogs that are fearful, mistrusting, and defensive. Every introduction starts the same; I enter their room and take a seat as far from them as possible, turn my gaze and body away, and sit quietly, making no attempt to get close to the dog and allowing them all the time and space to make their own pace. The presence of calm, unobtrusive humans allows dogs to experience only positive or neutral human interactions and gives them the opportunity make their own decisions about those interactions. This helps dogs build confidence and work on trust at their own speed.
One very memorable meeting I had with a shelter dog was with a herding mix named Phoebe. Phoebe came from a pretty bad breeding situation and had a difficult time trusting humans. She would sit in the back of her kennel and avoid looking at people, but when you entered her kennel she would begin pacing and growling. In order to get her used to being around kind humans, we had various staff and volunteers go into her kennel and just sit.
My experience sitting in Phoebe’s kennel was life changing for both of us. I started by sitting on the opposite end of the kennel from her. She was in a larger run, so she had the space to get away from me if she wanted. The first few times I went in there I sat for about half hour without her getting any closer to me. At first she growled and paced, then would she would stop pacing and give out short, low growls if I moved or made a sound. On my forth time going into her kennel she didn’t pace. She gave me a couple short growls, but she sat still at the back of her kennel, looking away from me. The sixth time I went in her kennel, I brought a book and sat by the door quietly reading. After twenty minutes Phoebe laid down. After half hour I stood up and walked out of her kennel and she stayed in her spot, lying down quietly. After a couple more visits something miraculous happened, Phoebe came over to me and sniffed the air around me. I sat quietly reading my book, and saw her approach in my peripheral vision. I continued doing what I was doing, not changing my posture or behavior. She stood about three feet from me and stretched her body forward, lifting her nose into the air and sniffing my airspace. She settled and laid down, a little closer to me than normal. The next time I went into her kennel, I took my usual spot and within a few minutes Phoebe walked over to me and sat just a couple inches from me with her back to me. I didn’t read, but continued sitting quietly and after ten minutes she laid down by me. The next time I went into her kennel, Phoebe approached me with a small tail wag and sat by my side as I sat down. I didn’t read, I just sat there watching her without staring at her. I was fully present with her, but didn’t push her to connect with me. Then she laid down, and positioned her body so she was pressing up against me. I took a deep, slow breath in and when I let it out I softly put my hand on her rump. Her tail lightly tapped the ground, and then she laid her head down and closed her eyes. We sat together quietly for an hour. A few days later Phoebe was adopted by a young woman that was more than happy to go slow and sit with her for hours.
Phoebe was one of my very first mindfulness teachers. She taught me how to be still, calm, and quiet. Most importantly she taught me how to be present in the moment. Rather than escape in my book, she showed me that being in that kennel with her and actually being present was much more meaningful and enjoyable.
Adventure Pup Mindfulness Challenge #3- Sit Stay
Our third challenge is going to seem like nothing is happening, and hopefully that’s exactly what you achieve. Nothing. Boredom. Existence.
Sit with your dog. Anywhere. Sit with them at the park, at your house, or in a shopping mall. Set a timer for five minutes and simply sit with your dog. Sit and observe. That’s it. No distractions, no phones. Just sitting quietly with your dog for five minutes and watch them.
They can be calm or amped, it doesn’t matter for this exercise. All that matters is that you observe them.
You might be thinking, “What?! Do nothing but sit and observe my dog for five minutes?! That’s ridiculously easy and stupid.” Maybe it is, but most likely it’ll be the best, and possibly most difficult five minutes of your day. The reason I didn’t set this for our first challenge is because the modern human hates being bored. We fill all our boredom spells with digital screens. We can’t even wait for our coffee anymore without glancing at our phones. Can you last an entire five minutes just existing in this world? Your dog sure can! Sit and be with them. Observe.
Do they pace at the end of the leash, wondering why you’ve stopped moving? Do they sit next to you, appreciating the break? Do they sniff, mark, or dig at the earth?
What’s happening in your mind? Are you reaching for your phone? Have you completely spaced out thinking about that movie you watched last night? Are you fully immersed in your dog’s ears, watching them turn like a periscope to every sound?
Your behavior is tied very closely to your dogs. If they seem bored sitting for five minutes, it’s most likely because you’re bored. If you are the type of person that is constantly going, your dog is most likely the type of dog that has to keep moving. If they stop they may get anxious. With more practice, they can learn to enjoy the pause.
If your dog is sitting or laying calmly at the end of their leash, it’s most likely they get this chillness from you. They are content to just sit and observe if that’s what makes you happy. Much like our children, dogs pick up on our neurosis. They are effected by how we behave. This exercise is meant to help you see how you behave under the stress of boredom, your dog is basically just an anchor to keep you focused and grounded in the practice.
If you really struggle with this challenge, lessen the time that you’re sitting and work your way up to five minutes. You might even have to start at just 30 seconds to get going.
If you want to prolong this exercise, please do so! In an ideal world I’d love if each and every one of us to spend at least 30 minutes a day just sitting and being with our dogs! This is one of my favorite things to do with Link!
A few weekends ago I went to a monastery for a silent meditation retreat. It was located in the middle of the mossy woods along the Columbia River. It was beautiful, secluded, and serene. As I pulled into the parking lot and began walking up to the front doors, I had an overwhelming desire to get back into the car and drive straight home to my pup. I was gone just a few hours, but I already missed him terribly. As I was having this thought, I was snapped back to reality by a dog barking. I looked around and saw a small black and tan pup running toward me. She was wiggly and wagging her tail, barking excitedly as I approached. She came up to me and placed her head in my hand, and let me stroke her neck and chest. I was soothed by her presence, and knew that in a few days I would be reunited with my own dog and everything would be ok.
As the retreat went forward and we entered silence, I had several moments where my brain told me to leave. “Just walk out those doors, get in your car, and get back to your dog.” But each time I had these thoughts, Link’s face would appear in my head and I would remember why I was there. My mind and body would settle and I could resume my silent meditation journey. I didn’t realize I would miss my dog quite so much.
The retreat had a lot of participants. Sometimes it was difficult to find a spot without others, and it was all I really wanted. A place where I could be alone, and focus on my own existence. One of the few places I could find this solace was in the forest. The monastery had about 100 acres of forest land, pieced together by trails, creeks, and trees. I found myself standing in the forest quite often.
One afternoon, after a two hour seated meditation, I went out into the forest. A lot of others had the same idea as me, and it took some effort to find a solitary place. When I finally did, I was able to just stand and be. I could take in all the green of the moss, grass, and leaves. I could hear the running water of the creek and the birds singing overhead. I could feel the mud squish under my shoes and the cold air sting my face. I could taste the dew and the sweet dirt as my feet stirred up the earth underneath. I could smell everything. It was really a magical moment. And then, my thoughts were interrupted. I could hear barking in the distance. I closed my eyes and listened. I could hear the barking getting closer, accompanied by the soft padding of feet and the light chime of dog tags. I took a deep breath in and opened my eyes. About 20 feet from me stood the black and tan dog, looking up at me and wagging her tail. When we made eye contact, I lightly patted my thigh and she came trotting right over to me. I knelt down and gave her soothing tTouch pets, a special kind of hand placements that can be performed to promote bonding, calm, health, and love. She pressed into my hands and licked my face. I thanked her (silently of course), and she trotted away to resume her afternoon forest jog.
As I watched her prance away into the green woods I felt a wave of peace wash over me. Though I was trying to take a break from work and my normal life (which is about 98% dog), I was unable to escape it completely. This black and tan pup continued to seek me out throughout our weekend. She popped up while I was meditating on a bench, when I was mindfully weeding the garden, and when I was wandering the grounds. She always made sure to come all the way to me and place her head in my hand. I was unable to speak to her, but that didn’t matter to either of us. The connection was established simply by existing together, and it was strengthened by our bodies touching in a particular and intentional way.
Adventure Pup Mindfulness Challenge #2- Massage
For our next Mindfulness Challenge we are going to do something that sounds incredibly easy, and possibly like something you’ve done before; giving your pup a massage.
Every dog is different, but most dogs enjoy the loving touch of their human. Some dogs like head scratches, some belly rubs, and some are all about the butt! Whatever your dog’s preference is, the exercise will be the same. During this challenge, we are going to try to discover something new about our dogs.
First, I’d like you to take five minutes out of your day and give your dog a bunch of affection. Pet them how you normally do, and pay close attention to their response. Do they get wiggly, excited, calm? Then note your response. Do you get wiggly, excited, calm? How do you both interact and behave in these moments of physical connection?
For the next part of the exercise, I’d like you to wait until both you and your dog are in a calm headspace. Trying this activity while your dog is excited or while you’re annoyed will not work. Try this after a long walk or a Chuck-it session. Perform this task in a quiet room, without distractions or noise.
Sit on the floor beside them and allow time for you both to relax and settle. This works best if they are laying fully on one side, but any position is ok as long as they are calm. Place one hand on your dog’s shoulder, feel them breathe. Take note of how their body feels under your hand, note their breath, note your breath, and give yourself a moment to absorb. Then use your other hand to stroke their entire body, beginning at their head all the way to their tail. Use a light, slow touch. Some dogs might find this a bit unusual at first (I’m always surprised by how many people only pet their dogs in vigorous, excited movements), but just be patient and allow them to adjust to this new, soft touch. Slow down and ease up. Breathe with your strokes. Slowly inhale as you rest your hand on their body, and slowly exhale as you move your hand across their coat. If they continue having a difficult time with this type of interaction, either lighten your touch or apply a little more pressure. Every dog has a preference, take time to find yours.
Continue applying light strokes to their entire body, making sure to include the face, legs, and paws (avoid any areas that are sensitive for your dog). After a few minutes, move up to their head and focus solely on that area. Test out different pressures, areas, and movements to see what your dog enjoys most. Watch their body language, feel their breath. Take their ear between your index finger and thumb and slowly drag your fingers from the base of their ear to the tip. Perform light circular pets with just the tips of your fingers to their muzzles, cheeks, and face. Lightly grasp small tufts of fur from the top of their head between your thumb and index finger, then softly pull up on the hair so the skin pulls away from the skull a bit, then slowly release pressure, allowing the skin & coat to drop back down against the head. Do this across the entire skull, breathing in when you pull up and releasing your breath as you slowly release the skin. Keep your mind calm throughout this entire process. Having music or the tv on in the background can completely influence your mind state, so silence is best.
Note how your dog is responding to these touches, and notice how you feel. Are they behaving the way they normally do when you pet them? Do you feel how you normally feel?
There is a special style of massage called Ttouch, where you perform specific energy releasing pets to your dog. This style of energy work originated with horses, and has been proven to create calm within the animal, help prevent & fight against health issues, and promote a stronger bond between the two of you. The suggestions I give above are examples of some Ttouch practices, but if you would like to learn more I urge you to read Getting in Ttouch with Your Dog by Linda Tellington. It is filled with pictures and detailed descriptions on a variety of different touches. I have been using this method with dogs for many years and it has always given me positive results. Learning this practice will help you further your peaceful moments together and create an even stronger bond between the two of you. It could also help alleviate health concerns such as arthritis, muscles injuries, hip dysplasia, and much more.
This is one of the most accessible practice, as you don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. All you have to do is sit by your dog and remain calm and quiet. It’s a great way to unwind after a long day of work, and is an excellent exercise to teach children. Each member of your family can easily learn this practice and benefit from it, but children often gain even more from the experience. Children already come with a beginner’s mind, they haven’t been clouded by years of human existence and hard work. They experience wonder and awe much easier and more frequently than their adult counterparts. When given a task like “mindful massage”, they can get really into it and form bonds with pets that they had no previous connection with. This activity could also help kids calm down, experience less anxiety, and feel seen by someone they love. Adults can also gets these benefits from this practice, it often just takes a few sessions to tap back into that beginner’s mind we’ve been neglecting for so long.
If you follow Adventure Pup, you may have noticed I bring up “mindfulness” and “being present” pretty often. I’m a big advocate for bonding with your dog and giving them the joy of your attention when interacting with them. I love being able to disconnect from the chaos that is human life, and reconnect with my best friend. His simple curiosities in the world, his tenderness with those around him, his ability to just be.
My dog Link is an inspiration to me every day. He inspired me to grow my dog care business, to quit drinking, to further my meditation practice, and to live mindfully. He gave meaning to my life when I was at my lowest point, and he continues to give my life meaning every day. My wish is for everyone to find meaning, to find joy, love, & safety in this world. Even if you’re one of those people that find that sentiment “gooey”, “lame”, or “weak” I still wish you joy, love, & safety. And though I know not everyone should have a dog, I wish that everyone could find the joy, love, & safety that a companion animal brings. It’s something pretty special.
If you have a dog, are thinking of getting a dog, or work with dogs you might benefit from some of our mindfulness activities & practices. In order to help you bond with your dog & find joy in their companionship I’d like to offer some weekly challenges over the next couple of months. These challenges will be simple and might even seem boring at times, but each practice will bring you closer to your pup and possibly closer to yourself. You don’t have to prove to anyone that you did the challenge, simply enjoy the activity with the one you’re practicing with. And remember, it’s a PRACTICE. If you continue to utilize these practices your bond will continue to grow. If you struggle with a challenge, it’s encouraged that you go back and try it again. And again. And again.
(Please note: I am not a meditation teacher or professional. I have been practicing Buddhist Meditation for several years and would simply like to pass on my experiences with others. I have certifications in various fields of energy work, and have found my meditation practice to be beneficial in these areas. If you find these practices interesting/helpful/useful I urge you to look into meditation & mindfulness classes to further your journey. Feel free to reach out to me for any guidance on where to begin.)
Adventure Pup Mindfulness Challenge #1 – Walking
For your first Adventure Pup Mindfulness Challenge I’d like you to take two leashed walks with your dog. These walks can be your regularly scheduled walks, and should be done on two separate days.
On the first walk I’d like you to do everything you normally do on a dog walk, but pay attention to what you’re doing. Are you walking slowly, normal, quickly? Do you stop when your dog does or do you keep him moving along? Are you looking at your feet, the sky, your dog, your phone? Do you notice the squirrel when your dog does? Do you notice your dog suddenly pull toward something, but you’re not sure what? Do you talk to yourself, talk on the phone, talk to your dog, or stay silent? Do you praise your dog for desirable behaviors? Do you notice when he performs desirable behaviors? Did you notice that rainbow, that sunflower, that smiley face drawn in the snow? These are all the things I’d like you to take in. If you spend the entire walk face down in your phone, pulling your dog along and getting frustrated when he sniffs, note that. Remember, you don’t have to tell anyone about this exercise, you just have to tell yourself the truth. You are only accountable to yourself.
On the next walk I’d like you to try to stay completely engaged with your dog. Leave all distractions behind: your phone, your kids, your spouse. On a mindfulness walk, the goal is to pay attention to each and every sensation you experience. You walk slowly and note each step. The feeling of your foot touching the earth, your ankle rolling into the next step, your shin taking the impact, your knee supporting your body, your thigh tightening, your belly rising and falling with the breath, your chest rising and falling with the breath, your throat contracting against the cold air, and the bare skin of your face, hands, and arms against the breeze.
On a mindfulness dog walk you pay attention to all these things, but you also include your dog’s movements in your awareness. You can’t feel what he feels, but you can watch his paws pad at the ground as he walks, hear his tags jingle or his panting breath, feel the nylon leash in your hand. You can connect to him through this awareness.
Sounds simple? I can assure you it’s not. Before you know it, your mind will be wandering and your thoughts will come pouring in without you even realizing it’s happening. That’s ok, just realize your mind has wandered, bring it back the moment, and start again. And again. And again. And again. Seriously, you will notice your mind wandering very often, most likely between each and every step! Your mind is meant to think, your goal is to note the thoughts as they arise, quiet those that aren’t useful to this activity, and sharpen your focus on those that matter.
If this activity is giving you nothing but grief, if you notice your mind nonstop wandering or you begin to beat yourself up for having a wandering mind, try going on a mindfulness walk on your own. You can do this in your house or yard if you’d like. Pay attention to you steps and how your body feels. Allow thoughts to come and go. Once you get the hang of it, go get your pup and try a mindfulness dog walk.
After completing the two walks, compare them. Did they feel the same? Did you notice any frustration, sadness, or joy on either walk? Or perhaps after either walk? Did your dog’s behavior change between the two walks? Are you having a hard time remembering the walks altogether? There is no wrong answer. Be honest with yourself. If you noticed a higher level of frustration while holding your phone and the leash at the same time, note that. If you noticed no difference and both walks were equally as exciting or boring, note that.
Personally, I have noticed that when I have my phone in my hand, or even when I’m lost in thought, I get a lot more frustrated when Link pulls on leash. When I’m actively paying attention to him, he doesn’t pull, because I’m engaged and walking with him instead of separately from him. When I’m walking with my partner and chatting, I notice Link gets bored and begins eating sticks or pinecones. If I’m grumpy or in a rush, Link tends to walk from side to side, cutting me off and bumping into my legs. When I am just with him and leave all other distractions behind, Link is a fantastic walking buddy. He walks at a nice pace, takes time to sniff things, politely says hello to passing dogs, and exhibits all the behaviors I wish for on a dog walk.
Not every walk I take with Link is a mindfulness walk. I am a human in this human world after all, and I have different moods just like everybody. But when I am able to set aside my human world and give him and our walk all of my focus, I notice an elevation in mood, a strengthening in our bond, and a calmness that pours over both of us.
If you know anything about me, you know that I love dogs. I love all non-human animals, but I have always had a very special connection to dogs. My entire life I have been learning, building, and growing in order to become the most well rounded dog-person I could be. I have worked in several shelters, vet clinics, daycares, and boarding facilities. I’ve taken classes in training, behavior, nosework, medical care, first aid, cpr, and energy work. I only feel normal when I am with dogs.
So, naturally, I decided to start my own dog care business, so I could spend my days with dogs, teaching them all I know while learning even more from them. When I started Adventure Pup it was just a side job. I was working as a manager at a very busy dog daycare, as well as in the Animal Medical Learning Center at the Oregon Humane Society, and didn’t have a lot of spare time, but friends kept asking me to help with their dogs. And then friends of friends. And then complete strangers. It started as a weekend job, walking dogs around their neighborhoods and working on easy training. Then the daycare I was working at sold to an… ahem… indecent human who focused solely on money. I had to take step back and reevaluate what I wanted to do in the dog world. At the same time I had everyone around me telling me to go into business for myself. I’ve never wanted to own my own business, it was so daunting and seemed like too much work, but there was something about running a dog care business that seemed right, and somehow not so scary. So just like that, I did it.
I researched prominent dog towns, and looked into what areas might benefit from more guidance, education, and fun and thus relocated to Bend, Oregon.
Every day I work on furthering my own knowledge, while sharing what I know with the people that want to learn. I spend all my time focusing on what’s best for each individual dog, and how I can give them everything they need to be the best dog they can be.
Each outing is tailored specifically to benefit the dogs I am working with. Every dog is different, and they are treated as individuals. Adventure Pup utilizes training games to make learning fun for every dog, and then we further their education by giving their humans guidance on how to best enjoy time with their dogs.
On Hikes we walk as a Pack. Dogs are mostly off-leash, but some leash guidance is offered to those that benefit from it. We work on trail manners, discover play boundaries, and practice basic training exercises. Throughout our Hike we strengthen our skills on recall, sit-stay’s, leave-it’s, and drop-it’s. We also work on things that each individual Pup might be struggling with. If someone is having a hard time walking on leash, we will work on leash guidance. If someone is focused on eating non-edible trail treasures, we will work on redirecting them to better behaviors and only eating what’s given to them. If someone has an intense play style and only has fun when terrorizing others, we will work on boundaries and explore other ways to share fun. We do what’s best for each individual, as well as the Pack as a whole. We keep Packs small so everyone is able to enjoy themselves without feeling crowded or overwhelmed, and so the Human Adventure Guide can keep an eye on everyone at once.
On Walks we work on everything from basic manners to reactivity. We try different tools to find the right one for each individual, and different guidance activities to reach each personality. Since walks are done one Pup at a time, or one household at a time, they are more specialized and tailored than Pack Hikes. Each walk we can focus on what most benefits that Pup at that moment. Walks are a great way to get your dog out and moving while giving them confidence, teaching structure (which dogs thrive on), and strengthen their leash behaviors. Being on leash does not equate to not having fun. Pups can find great enrichment on leashed walks and a tether between dog & human can work as a bonding tool, to help your Pup feel connected & safe. Long leads are often used on walks to give Pups extra room to roam & sniff. Sniffing is a major focus on our walks, as it helps Pups decompress, gather information, learn, & explore. Dogs rely on their sense of smell first and foremost, so sniffing is an essential activity for every Pup.
On Dog Park Outings we work on off-leash guidance and socialization exercises. We also work on basic cues with lots of distractions, which is great for puppies and dogs that haven’t been in your family for long. Dog park outings are a great way to prepare dogs for being off leash in the real world. It’s a great way for a Pup to feel freedom and explore smells off leash.
I do not listen to music, podcasts, or utilize phones during our Hikes except to take photos of the dogs. We practice mindfulness and find being present with the dogs is the safest, most enjoyable way to spend time together. Every Pup is very important to me, thus they deserve all of my attention when in my care. Any moment that I am with a Pup GUIDANCE, BONDING, & LOVE are being exchanged. Whether it’s on an off-leash Pack Hike with a group of familiar friends, a leashed walk with a dog I just met, or quietly sitting on my couch with my own dog, I am guiding and loving the dog I am with, and I am being guided by and loved by that dog. We form a bond that’s unique, and every Pup I spend time with stays with me forever.
Treat testing is a fun and beneficial activity for you and your Pup! It helps you hone in on what will work to keep your Pup’s attention and keeps them always coming back for more!
Do you have a dog that is really food motivated and will eat anything?! Setting up a treat tasting will help you both learn what treats rank supreme and which ones are just ok, as most dogs have a preference. Or you might even learn that anything edible will get their attention, which is great! If you have a dog that seemingly has no interest in treats, presenting them with a treat test will help you both discover the joys of food and might result in them becoming more food motivated! If you have a Pup that is downright disinterested in food rewards, try rewarding them with affection, games, or praise… but I bet if you try hard enough, you’ll find an edible treat they love!
You can pop into your local pet store and pick up things that you think your best friend would enjoy. You could even bring them along and let them sniff something out on their own. Anything your dog doesn’t like can be donated to a friend, family member, neighbor or a local shelter. You can also set up a “treat exchange” with friends- each of you buy two packs of treats and get together for a treat tasting extravaganza!
When you get home with your new treats, try them out by doing some easy training exercises in your living room and see what your dog is the most interested in. Perhaps they enjoy the crunch of a chicken liver, a moist peanut butter chew, or the or the stickiness of a salmon skin. Every dog is different, so go into this test without any expectations.
This activity can be done in one afternoon, but is best spread out over several days. You can try out your new treats in a variety of locations with different distractions and see how they respond and which treats they respond to best! This will help you discover what treats will keep your dog interested and listening to you, especially when they are learning new behaviors or cues. Having them skip a meal may be beneficial to you, as most dogs are much more interested in food rewards when they’re hungry. You can either use their breakfast as their reward, or feed them when you are done with the treat test and back home.
Imagine if every time you did a “desired behavior” you were presented with your favorite treat… say every time you get home from a long day of work someone hands you a Butterfinger. The first day home you’d probably be excited “Oh my favorite candy bar! All I did was go to work and do my job and I get a Butterfinger? Awesome!” Going to work might become more exciting, knowing you’re going to get a Butterfinger when you get home (I know, this is a silly analogy but you have to pretend like you have the mind of a dog!) After a few days you’d probably get sick of a Butterfinger as your reward, but then BAM! Day four you get home and someone hands you fresh French fries! “Oh! How exciting! I was getting bored of Butterfinger but now you’ve switched it up and surprised me with a totally different treat! I should keep going to work so I can find out what my treat is at the end of the day!” Switching up the treats, and knowing what your Pup’s favorites are will keep them engaged and interested!
One very important reminder: the more expensive the behavior you are seeking, the more payoff should be rewarded for the behavior. If your Pup is a pro at sitting when asked, you wouldn’t give them an entire wheel of cheese just for performing a sit in your quiet living room with no distractions would you? So then on the other side of the spectrum, would you give your Pup a piece of everyday kibble for recalling to you in the midst of chasing a rabbit? The reward has to match the effort of the behavior!
And one side note: you may hear some trainers say that treat rewards are lazy, but building a relationship based on positive reinforcement helps your Pup feel safe and creates a trust between the two of you, so they are much more willing to do what’s asked of them. Using positive reinforcement means you are always on the lookout for those positive behaviors and keeps you involved in your Pup’s life, which makes your bond much stronger.
Some treat examples (these may be deemed low or high value, depending on the individual Pup):
Moving your pet to a new place is not the easiest thing to do, especially if you’re unsure what your new town has to offer your pet – and if it’ll keep them happy. Fortunately, most pets are generally easy to please; give them plenty of space to stretch their legs and explore in, and you’re already halfway there.
Purchasing the Ideal Home
You’ll have to consider a pet-friendly property first and foremost when choosing a property.
If this is not possible, find a doggy daycare center that will help to nurture your pet when you aren’t able to.
Do what your pet likes or would appreciate, such as taking them to a doggy day spa or exercising together.
Keeping your pet happy when moving should be easier when you are more in tune with your pet. So, work on strengthening that bond before you leave, and your pet should be more confident with the transition.
Running Adventure Pup means I spend a lot of time on the trail with my pups! We hike up mountains, through forests, across deserts, and around water. We’re outside in the heat, in the rain, and in the snow. Over the years we have experimented with a lot of tools and have found some we love and others we could do without. Below is a list of the tools we can’t live without! I have added some link to specific brands, but you’’ll be most successful if you find things that work specifically for you and your pups needs. Keep in mind their breed, build, limitations, and personality. Think about how the two of you interact with each other and the natural environment.
Collars, Harnesses, & Leashes
It’s always smart to keep a collar with an ID tag & licenses attached when you are outdoors with your pup. Anything can happen when you’re on on the trail, keeping up to date contact info on your pup will help keep them safe if they get away from you. I prefer dog tags that jingle so I can hear my pup wherever they are, but if the noise bothers you, you can get a tag that slides onto the collar and lays flat. Or you could get a collar with your number stitched right in. It’s always smart to keep your pup’s license and rabies tag on them as well, to avoid any tickets or fines.
When on the trail I prefer that Link wear a comfortable harness. It’s not only more gentle on his body than a collar while on leash, it also offers more control and is a safer option when an emergency occurs. If your pup slips down a hill, or gets stuck in the river, a harness offers a handle for you to help them out, rather than just tugging on their neck. I like a harness that offers even distribution across the body. Something with a wider chest and back plate are a little more comfortable than a simple nylon strap harness. I prefer a harness with a front and back clip for more versatility and control.
I also like to carry two different leashes, a five foot leash and a longer leash. The length of the longer leash depends on the trail. If there are a lot of trees and bushes to get tangled in, I will use a 10 foot lead. But if the trail is wide open I will use a leash as long at 30 feet. A long leash gives your pup more room to roam and sniff, and helps avoid pulling.
I think hiking packs are the item I have gone through the most. So many uncomfortable and impractical option out there, it’s been a difficult journey to find what works.
I’m going to be real, most backpacks and fanny packs have been created for a man’s body. They sit uncomfortably on a women’s shoulders and hips. I have chronic back pain from ill-fitting packs. If you try to look for women’s hiking packs, you’ll come up with a lot of pinks and purples, but no difference in structure. It’s important to find a pack that properly fits your unique body shape, and having more than one option will help alleviate fatigue. I like fanny packs that you can wear around various parts of the abdomen and hips so I can shift it around when my body needs a break. I also like fanny packs that I can carry as a shoulder bag when I need to shift the weight. I prefer a backpack that has across the chest straps to keep the weight evenly distributed across my shoulders. I also like one that has a lot of room for adjustment, one that you can wear up on your middle back or down on your lower back.
Other than a proper fit, it’s important to have room for all your trail needs. You’ll need your regular human things; wallet, phone, keys, etc. You’ll also need room for water, a first aid kit, any emergency supplies, treats/snacks, dog supplies, and any extra gear you like to bring along.
You can also get a pack for your pup to carry. If they aren’t used to carrying weight, start them off with an empty pack and slowly add weight as they get used to it. Make sure the pack fits them so it’s snug enough that it doesn’t slide all over when they walk, but not too tight to rub and chafe. You’ll also want to pay attention to where your leash attaches to the backpack to make sure it works with you and your pup’s walking habits. It’s always a good option to try on different packs before you settle on one.
Clothing & Shoes
Clothing depends on the weather and environment. If it’s hot out you’ll want to consider some practical shorts and a top, but if you’re in an area with snakes, ticks, or poisonous plants you’ll want to either wear pants or high socks to protect your legs. If it’s cold or wet out, consider wearing a base layer under your clothes to keep you warm and dry. An extra pair of socks is always recommended in case your feet get wet, and bringing a light jacket can come in handy in a variety of situations. A hat and sunglasses will keep the sun, rain, and slow out of your eyes. If you get a hat with a neck flap you’ll be protected from the weather and the bugs. A bandana or neck wrap can also help with this, and soaking one in water will keep you and your pup cool on hot days
Shoes always depends on who’s wearing them. I have gone through a lot of hiking shoes. Boots, runners, sandals, you name it. I appreciate a shoe that supports my ankles and protects my toes, since I am never walking on even ground. I do not like mesh fabric or stretchy spandex material, as it deteriorates very quickly. I have also found that elastic shoelaces break after just a few outings, so I always replace them with heavy duty boot laces. I have a pair of hiking sneakers, a pair of water sandals, and two pairs of hiking boots; one that goes over the ankle and one that goes below. I like to have a few options for every season so I can switch footwear and avoid blisters and discomfort.
Clothing always depends on the wearer. I like a loose-fitting shirt with a comfortable neckline. I’ll bring a flannel, sweater, or jacket along in case the weather calls for it. Long sleeves protect against sun, rain, snow, wind, bugs and tall bushes. The same with pants; something loose-fitting that protects against the elements. If it’s hot out, I like shorts with high socks. I am a big fan of pockets. Even though I always carry a hiking pack, I like to have easy access to certain items, so pockets are a must.
Bright colors or reflective gear will ensure others can you see, and will keep you extra safe during hunting seasons. This goes for your pup too.
Food & Water
Water is a must, but I am also a big fan of carrying snacks along, for both me and my pup. Be sure to bring more than enough water for you and your pup to have throughout your outing. You’ll want to have extra, in case of an emergency. Water is necessary for hydration, but it also comes in handy when it comes to flushing out wounds or irritated eyes. I like to carry a water bottle for myself and one for my pup. I also like to keep a whole lotta backup water in the car. Be sure to get a hiking pack that allows you to carry enough water. You could get something with a water bladder and add as many extra water bottles as you need.
Snacks are up to you, but be sure to bring something for both you and your pup to enjoy! I like bringing high-value treats along on a hike, like cheese/chicken/hotdogs. High-value treats help me keep my pup’s attention and I don’t have to compete against chipmunks, deer, smells, etc. My favorite human treat to bring along is a snack bar that doesn’t melt or freeze, and a small piece of fruit like an apple or nectarine. If I’m on a long hike I like to bring along a freeze-dried snack to provide me with more energy.
You should always have an emergency first-aid kit on you while on a hike. There are a lot of options out there, but I recommend getting a kit that has supplies for both you and your pup. You can get a kit and add anything you need, and you can adjust your supplies depending on your outing. The further you are from your car, the more supplies you should bring along. Bandages are one of the most used items in an emergency situation, so make sure you have plenty of gauze and vet wrap.
An emergency lift is a great way to get peace of mind when you’re on a long hike. If you travel far from the car and your pup gets injured, you’ll have to carry them back to the trailhead. With an emergency lift you’ll be able to hoist a dog of any size onto your back and carry them back down the trail.
A good whistle will come in handy in an emergency. It will help your pup find you if they’ve ventured off the trail, and it can help others find you if you get hurt and can’t continue your hike. I like a whistle that can give off a variety of pitches. Keep in mind that three sharp, high-pitched blows on a whistle indicates that you are in an emergency situation and need help.
I recommend carrying along an animal deterrent spray on every outing, no matter how long or short. I would steer clear of bear spray (unless you’re in an area with bears) because if you accidentally spray yourself or your pup you’ll be in a whole other emergency. A simple citronella spray will deter most other animals. An air horn works better, but it will effect both you and your pup’s ears so be aware. It could frighten your pup off and if they aren’t leashed you could lose them. A citronella spray will keep other dogs away from you, as well as some wild animals. If you want to make a loud noise, I recommend using your voice.
The most important thing to keep in mind in case of an emergency is where your closest vet clinic is. Whenever you go on a hike, do a quick Google search to see where the closest clinic is to the trail. Be sure that they are open during the hours of your hike. Covid has greatly changed the hours of vet clinics, and a lot of clinics are not open during their normal hours. Jot down their phone number so you don’t have to worry about stumbling around the internet on your phone while on the trail in an emergency situation. It’ll save you a lot of grief in an already very stressful situation.
The gear you carry is completely up to you. I like to be prepared, and prefer having too much gear to not having the necessary gear. Whenever you go out without an item, you’ll most likely find that you need it so it’s always best to bring all the essentials. I always recommend testing out new gear on short neighborhood walks before you take them out on the trail. That way you’ll know what works for you and what doesn’t. There are a lot of hiking companies out there, both for humans and dogs, so you’ll have endless options to chose from. Getting recommendations from friends and dog care professionals is a better option than getting them from social media or Google. Thrift stores are great places to find used gear that you can test out for less money. You can find brands and styles that work for you under a budget, and then you can spring for brand new items once you know what you like.
Weeds are plants that people find undesirable in a particular location. Cheatgrass is a weed I find undesirable in any location! It’s invasive, grows like bamboo, spreads fires, and can injure you and your pets!
Cheatgrass was brought to North America by European settlers. It’s now found in almost every state, covering about 70 million acres of land, but is most prevalent in the Great Basin areas like Oregon. And although it hasn’t gone away over the last two unseasonably warm years, it normally grows at the beginning of spring and dies away in the winter.
Cheatgrass takes resources away from native plants, aids in the rapid spread of fires, and reeks havoc on wildlife. Why should you care about any of this? Because Cheatgrass can get into your pets systems and literally rip them apart from the inside out! It grows among regular grass, and can easily be ingested by your pup or cat. The seeds are small and lightweight, so if an animal rubs against them ever so slightly, it could send seeds into their eyes, ears, and respiratory systems. Seeds scattered on the ground can get trapped in paw pads and work their way between toes. If left unnoticed, these seeds will twist, spin, and wiggle their way further into an animal, resulting in open sores, infections, organ damage, and even death.
What can you do to avoid this? Keep your yard free of Cheat to limit exposure. Keep your pup on leash when in areas with high levels of Cheatgrass. Keep cats indoors if you live in a neighborhood with a lot of Cheat. Perfect recall and the “leave it” cue to keep them from munching on this horrible weed. Keep coats short, and keep fur between toes even shorter. Check your pet over after every outing, and then recheck them again several hours later. Having another set of eyes is always helpful.
I recommend checking over every inch of your pet, especially if they have long, thick, or curly coats. Doodles are the ultimate prey to Cheat. Get a good Furminator that works well in your pets coat, and then check their ears, eyes, nose, mouth (including back of throat), under the collar/harness, between toes, within the paw pad, and near genitals. Keeping coats short will help keep the Cheat off, and wearing boots and goggles will help keep the eyes and feet clean. If you see any Cheatgrass on your pet that you cannot remove, call your vet immediately. I know a lot of people reading this will be like, “A seed?! Yea right, big deal!” But after spending at least $800 on an emergency Cheatgrass removal you will definitely be singing a different tune.
Cheatgrass loves hot, dry environments, so going into the shady, wet woods is always a less risky option when it comes to Cheat. Keep an eye out for Cheatgrass and call your pup away from it before they get in too deep, and keep them on leash in areas where it’s unavoidable. Become familiar with this evil weed, and take note when you find areas without it.