Turkish Akbash dog weighing 35kg stretchered down Ben Nevis after refusing to walk any further

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Many dogs enjoy a mountain hike with their owners and it is not uncommon for people in the UK to take their puppies on a hike to a summit.

However, mountaineering groups have warned that owners are always responsible for the well-being and behavior of their dogs while hiking.

There is a risk that your dog may startle, chase or even attack mountain animals which means you should keep an eye on their whereabouts at all times.

There are also certain breeds that are better suited to mountaineering than others.

Medium-sized dogs like Collies, Spaniels, or Labradors tend to be more athletic and better equipped to run around the hills all day.

Of course, most breeds can happily meander through the mountains for a day if properly prepared by their owners.

Those wishing to mountain climb with their smaller or larger dogs should consult their veterinarian or a qualified dog trainer on how best to introduce their dog to the activity.

Owners should consider the appropriate age to begin training their dog as some breeds have rapid bone, joint and soft tissue development.

It is important not to exercise young puppies too much during this time to avoid long-term skeletal damage.

In the same way a human would train to climb a mountain, owners should consider how they will train their dogs to handle the strenuous activity.

Start with short days, you should acclimate your dog to the activity and give him enough time (at least a day) to rest after a big climb so his body can recover.

You also need to make their paws harder so that they can handle the rocky terrain.

To do this, build up time to walk on sidewalks and trails before exposing them to rocky ground in short bursts.

While some owners opt for dog boots, many puppies find them uncomfortable and slippery.

Before going into the mountains with your dog, make sure you have the right equipment. This includes:

  • A collar with a name tag and contact details
  • a flute
  • a suit of armor
  • A light on their collar
  • poop bags
  • A waterproof jacket
  • Towels to get them clean and dry

Source: Mountaineering Scotland

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