Hiking with a Reactive Dog

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Cody, my reactive dog, taking in the view after scrambling to the summit of Grizzly Peak.

I love my dogs, I love mountains, and I especially love both together. I love taking my pooches on all kinds of outdoor adventures because they love it just as much as I do. I can see a switch go off in my dogs when we hit the trails; they are engaged, sniffing, exploring, stomping over everything, rubbing themselves on all kinds of surfaces (…sometimes poop) and just being dogs. They deserve this recreational time as much as any dog who is trapped in a city for most of the week.

My dogs both have very different personalities. Buffy is a happy go lucky dog. She is what people think of when they think of friendly dogs. She happily greets everyone she meets, she loves getting in for petting, she smiles, and will play fetch with anyone. Cody has a very different personality. I rescued Cody when he was roughly 6-8 months old. He had not been properly socialized and the world terrified him. We worked hard on changing that and today he can go for a walk on a busy city street and usually warms up to strangers within minutes. He is especially at home in the wild, hiking, camping or whatever activity I have taken him along for. For years we frequented dog parks at peak times for him to play and he was a pro at never getting into trouble. Then it all changed. Around 4 years of age, he started to show signs of reactivity towards other dogs and since then I’ve considered him a “reactive dog”.  Continue reading

Preparing for K9 Emergencies in the Backcountry

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My dogs and I enjoying the view near our backcountry campsite. 

I have been adventuring in the backcountry with my dogs for many years. From the moment I had Cody we were hitting the trails in the parks near Ottawa. Although we spent a lot of time on those trails, it was never a remote enough for me to bring around emergency supplies and I just thought if something happened, I would figure it out.

Fast forward a couple years and we found ourselves in the backcountry in Cape Scott Park at the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Continue reading

Tips for Adventuring in the Mountains with Dogs

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Buffy and Cody take in the views on a water pumping break near our backcountry campsite in the Skoki area.

I like to adventure (scramble, climb, hike, sleep in the backcountry, splitboard, cross country ski, trail run, etc…) It keeps me fairly busy on my weekends and as much as possible, I like to bring my adventure mutts along with me. I own two rad adventure dogs: Cody and Buffy. Both have summited mountains, been on backcountry treks, skijored and been backcountry skiing with me.This article is all about some of my tips for having fun in the mountains with your dog safely. It goes without saying though, use your judgement to adapt these to your dog and your adventures. What’s right for us, is not going to work for everyone. Continue reading

Utah Part V – Go big then go home 

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The last few days we spent in the desert turned into sister adventure time. I love climbing with my sister. We both learned to climb indoors in our teens and when I moved back to Calgary in 2014 she had started outdoor climbing and immediately brought me out with her. She taught me all of the basics, how to climb on rock, how to clean an anchor, how to set up an anchor, how to lead, how to multi pitch. Climbing together is always fun. She never makes me feel like I’m not strong enough (even though she climbs so much harder than me) and she always encourages me to push my limits.

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Utah Part III – The sharks are calling

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We woke up at 5:30am. My alarm was quiet to try and keep from waking up the others. I nudged Mike awake and we slowly got up and out of the tent. It was still dark out with just a little twilight of dawn behind the eastern cliffs. Mike and I packed our gear together for the day, brewed a quick coffee, threw the dogs in the back, and we pulled out, groggy but excited for our day.

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Utah Part I – Canucks Hitting the Road

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We figured it was going to take two days to drive from Calgary to Moab Utah. We had decided we would leave early on the 7th. That way we could make it through most of Montana and sleep somewhere near the Idaho boarder for the night. But, surprise, things don’t always go as planned. It ended up being one of those hectic mornings where things kept going missing and time moved too fast. By the time we left it was 1pm, but we finally had the truck packed with all of our gear, the dogs, and we hit the road.

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The shitty side of being a weekend warrior

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I have been a steady weekend warrior for the past three years. What does that look like? It looks like 5am wake ups in the winter to get out touring in the mountains all day. Or 7am starts during the summer to go on scrambling and climbing adventures. Or if I am camping, then Friday’s at work where I rush home, throw everything into the car and head out to adventure. Generally I crawl in late on Sunday and usually don’t unpack before going to sleep and waking up early for work on Monday.

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