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  1. #1
    Registered User skyhiker2's Avatar
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    Default should I take my dog???

    I am having a very difficult time deciding as to weather or not I should take my dog with me when I hike the entire AT this march..

    Is there anyone who has done this before and could give me some advise.

    I know all about the dog etiquette on the AT, so please don't bomb me with advise like " just keep your dog out of the shelter with me and other people" ,on a leash and out of my face. or it's not fair the dog does'nt get to choose to go or not. I would like some advise from someone who has hiked the entire AT with their dog. Things like resuppling, motels, did they get worn out after a few hundred miles..??? things like that..? Please...!
    "LOVED OR HATED, BUT NEVER IGNORED"

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyhiker2 View Post
    I am having a very difficult time deciding as to weather or not I should take my dog with me when I hike the entire AT this march..

    Is there anyone who has done this before and could give me some advise.

    I know all about the dog etiquette on the AT, so please don't bomb me with advise like " just keep your dog out of the shelter with me and other people" ,on a leash and out of my face. or it's not fair the dog does'nt get to choose to go or not. I would like some advise from someone who has hiked the entire AT with their dog. Things like resuppling, motels, did they get worn out after a few hundred miles..??? things like that..? Please...!
    Research other threads on this website. Your question has been done to death.

  3. #3
    Registered User general's Avatar
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    some dogs do well, some don't. my dog didn't have any physical problems in 1200 or so miles, but many others did. you'll experience some minor inconviences in some towns but you can manage. there is usually a least one hotel in towns that will take your pooch, however it may not be the cheapest and your dog may cost you an extra $20 or so on top of that. and yes, your dogs pack will hold about 6 beers when leaving town.
    don't like logging? try wiping with a pine cone.

  4. #4
    Registered User Bravo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by general View Post
    and yes, your dogs pack will hold about 6 beers when leaving town.
    I always wondered why so many people want to bring their dog.

  5. #5

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    I didn't take my dog and it got run over and killed when in anothers care!

  6. #6
    Registered User general's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bravo View Post
    I always wondered why so many people want to bring their dog.
    that, some companionship, and security officer for pack left outside of resturant. oh yeah, and I'm too lazy to hang a bear bag.
    don't like logging? try wiping with a pine cone.

  7. #7
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    Very personal decision ...but consider this

    As much as you love and enjoy your dog (and vice versa), would it be the dog's choice to walk 12 - 15 miles a day on some fairly rough surfaces for 6 months ? Are you the owner prepared to care for the dogs pads when they become blistered and start to bleed.

    I love dogs ...and had both positive and negative dog experiences on the trail during my 2003 thru. That said, I would never take a dog on a distance hike.

    That's not to say I wouldn't take a dog on a short hike with me. The new smells, sights and sounds are probably great for a dog's spirit. But I've always felt that taking a dog on a distance hike is more about the owner and less about the animal.

    Just my opinion and personal observations over the years ...

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  8. #8
    Registered User skyhiker2's Avatar
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    Default Well said slogger!!

    Well said my friend.. It is all of those things which I am considering. I am prepared to take care of her. However I just cannot figure out wheater it would be ok ( as in would she be comfortable walking 15-25 miles per day?) I have seen one guy thru-hiking the AT with his dog.. " I was out for the weekend" . I had my dog with me; and he said his had done the trail with him the year before and they were back for the second time "together again" LOL... However I noticed the dog was a bit like a ZOMBIE,, I am guessing it was capable of walking the distance but only did it because it was flowing it's master and was just worn out mentally... ( if that makes sense....) "OR" Was it just the dogs personality.. As of right now I'am leaning towards not taking my dog with me....
    "LOVED OR HATED, BUT NEVER IGNORED"

  9. #9

    Default Hot Hot Hot

    I have been making plans for hiking the AT 2007 with my dog..As far as could she do it....well she has at least 2000 miles of hardcore mt biking in her legs..she can stay out all day....here is the problem...the one problem that nobody talks to much about and is the HEAT. That is the reason that I have decieded not to take my dog with me on the trail..Once the temp goes over 75 degrees and your hiking with your dog you put him or her at a HUGE risk...they cant talk they love you and will follow you to the death. The weather can be unpredictable and I've been on springer in march years ago and it was 80+ every day I was there. The thought of not having my girl with me leaves me sleepless some nights but my sister and her kids have said they would take the dog for the time I was gone and that will be one less thing to think about. Remember..no matter how inshape your dog is, you cant stop the weather..and believe me I'm feeling crappy about my choice but I know Its the right one..peace!!!

  10. #10
    Registered User skyhiker2's Avatar
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    Unhappy Noah7 I think your right....

    I think your right,, as much as love my girl too... She would follow me to my death or too her's and theres no way to tell how much pain or stress she would be under. I think the possibility of the hike being torturous for her is just to great. With your advice I have made up my mind she must stay home... LOL I'll take a picture instead....
    "LOVED OR HATED, BUT NEVER IGNORED"

  11. #11
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    Skyhiker:

    Personally, I think you've made the right choice, tho between now and March, I'd take the time to read a few journals/diaries in their entirety of folks who hiked with dogs (www.trailjournals.com is your best resource for this); this will give you a better idea of what day-to-day hiking is like with a dog. Also, if you get the chance, talk personally with hikers that have hiked with dogs. (ALDHA, at www.aldha.org maintains a state-by-state list of folks who have previously hiked who are willing to correspond/meet with prospective hikers; there are also quite a few folks here at WB who've hiked w/dogs as well).

    Ultimately, I think most dogs are better off left at home, but I encourage you to talk to as many folks as possible WHO HAVE ACTUALLY THRU-HIKED with a dog before making up your mind.



    Best of luck, whatever you decide.

  12. #12

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    On behalf of your dog, thank you.

  13. #13
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    Lance Mackey just won the SHEEP MTN 150

    ran his team of dogs 150 miles in just under 23 hours.
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  14. #14

    Default Issues with taking a dog along on a thruhike attempt not being mentioned...

    1) Hitching a ride is likely IMO to be harder, esp. in non-pickup truck vehicles. An example from my thruhike: I was picked up in the an ice storm and taken to Dahlonega by a mother-daughter (latter about 20, stunningly attractive, both dressed to the nines for a baby shower) couple in an immaculate small car loaded with glitzy gift-wrapped presents. (My pack and I were a VERY tight fit there.) What are the odds they'd also have been willing to try squeezing in a muddy shedding dog?

    2) You can forget being welcome even on the property of the vast majority of trail hostels. Not only would you have to spend significantly more dough (note that motels in the north can run three digits of bucks PER NIGHT, and not all take dogs, either), you'd be separated from other hikers who will go to the hostels. Many hikers (including me) feel that the interactions with trail people are an irreplaceable part of the thruhike experience. By bringing a dog along, you in effect throw away a part of your thruhike before you even start it. I'd say that not repeatedly having the hostel experience (e.g, how Bryson and (after being banned from however many hostels he is now) Warren Doyle "did" their hikes is akin to major yellow-blazing in terms of what you lose out on during your thruhike, but that's my opinion.

    3) Your added expenses from bringing a dog along are nontrivial. From boarding and transporting them around prohibited sections of the Trail, to nontrivial chance of pricy emergency vet care (skunk/porcupine/bear/fighting other dogs/foot trauma) that will interrupt your hike, to compensating other hikers for whatever possessions of theirs your animal damages, there are many ways major bills can come your way during a thruhike if you bring your pooch along. Most hikers have money issues, many to the point that running out of money drives them off the trail when they otherwise could have finished. If being near your dog is more important than maximizing your odds of summiting Katahdin, well, that's not far IMO from not being ready to try a thruhike.

    4) Your dog WILL inevitably irritate other hikers, unless you are that sort or hiker that either hikes in deep winter only (when noone else is around), or you bushwack near (but not on) the trail the whole way. Why avoidably make it harder on yourself socially?

    5) Is your dog more likely to get lost or otherwise come to a bad end if it is taken on a multistate outdoor trip for thousands of miles and 6 months, or if it is safely left inside your house and/or in your fenced backyard, where it knows the locale (and hopefully the neighbors know it)? I saw three different plaintive "dog lost on AT" notices during my thru this year. God knows how many total dogs were actually lost along the Trail this year alone.

    Leave your dog at home, and you'll and he will both be better off for it. This way, you'll have a better hike, and he'll be safely at home, waiting for your return.

  15. #15
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    Geez, is anyone other than me amused to see Minnesota Smith giving advice on "how to make it easier for yourself socially" on the Trail?

    Didn't realize he was such an authority!

    *I gotta disagree with much of what he wrote above: First off, there are folks who'll pick up dogs and their owners who will NOT pick up other hitch-hikers; I know of many folks who've been told "I normally don't do this, but since you're with a dog, I figure you're OK." So having a dog will not necessarily hurt your chances while hitching......it'll cause some folks to pass you by but it'll cause an equal number to deliberately pick you up. Hitching with a dog is much better than, say, hitching with another guy.

    *Smitty is also wrong about hostels....most of the better ones make provisions for dogs. It's mainly church hostels that don't, and that's a small handful of places. Even then, there are some where dogs are OK....Troutdale, Delaware Water Gap (if they're OUTSIDE the building!), etc. One might have a problem with motels, but most hostels are OK with dogs.

    *A well-trained, well-behaved dog will irritate nobody except those few folks who hate dogs. A poorly-trained, poorly supervised animal will eventually irritate everyone. But to baldly state that your dog will inevitably irritate everyone is not true; I think Smitty's well-known antagonism towards canines is showing in these comments.

    I personally think that most dogs are better off at home, but the reasoning that Smitty provides above does not hold up.

  16. #16

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    lets see. witch of you are further from the mark....... any fool knows that life without dogs is vertually impossible.since the first pat on the head and command,.."common boy!walk?,...wanna go for a walk?!",...dogs have loved us and we love them. they work and play and live and love and die with us. they are a match made in heaven. why is dog spelled backwards god? cause treating a dog badly shows whos with the devil and loving dogs shows whos side your on as well. dogs are from god. our friends alone in the animal kingdom.hike with your cat anyone?
    matthewski

  17. #17
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    Matthew:

    At least three quarters of the dogs I've met on the Trail would have been better off at home, leaving the "good dog" or "tolerable dog" batting average at .250 or less.

    The one hiking kitty cat I've met on the Trail was wonderful (and from what I've heard, so was the other one I've heard about). This leaves the cat batting average for the Trail at 1.000.

    So yeah, I guess we'd be better off with fewer dogs out there and more kitties.

    Oh. I hope you know when I'm kidding around.

  18. #18

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    For what it's worth: Lewis and Clark on their journey west purchased many dogs from the native Americans. The Journey of Discovery got tired of eating elk meat and found dog much more tasty. "The Lewis and Clark Journals : an American Epic of Discovery"
    Last edited by LostInSpace; 12-19-2006 at 18:30.
    "Space and time are not conditions in which we live; they are simply modes in which we think," Albert Einstein

  19. #19

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    mmmmmmmmmm.....dog........
    matthewski

  20. #20
    Spirit in search of experience. wacocelt's Avatar
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    You should absolutely take your dog...




    As quickly as possible to the nearest pound or Chinese food restaurant!
    Everything is exactly as it should be. This too shall pass.

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