My must-have gear list for dog walking and hiking is always evolving. I've divided the list up between gear that's great for walking your dog year round, and gear that is Winter-centric:
All Year Long...
This is my go to solution for dogs that pull, and not just because it works! I'm a big fan of the Freedom harness for a variety of reasons...
Pulling is reduced without restricting the dog's range of motion.
All products are made in the USA.
2 Hounds Design now offers Earthstyle line webbing on some of their Freedom harnesses - made from recycled plastic bottles.
The chest strap is lined with velvet to prevent rubbing sensitive skin.
Freedom harnesses are made with a front and back loop for leash attachment. Use their double connection leash for maximum effect!
Freedom harnesses come with a lifetime chew warranty for just $12.99.
If you don't already carry treats with you on walks or hikes, now is the perfect time to start! This pouch has all sorts of pockets to carry everything you need...treats, keys, poo bags, all the necessities. My first Rapid Rewards treat pouch is in it's fourth year of use and still going strong. It's even survived being washed in the top rack of the dishwasher.
Carrying treats with you on walks means you can continue to work on your dog's training skills out in the "real world." In addition, you'll always be ready to reward them for getting it right! Be sure to opt for the belt-strap when ordering!
I only recently learned of this variety of headphones. Apparently this type of headphone is popular with golfers, as they allow the user to listen to music without totally tuning out the environment.
I especially like to listen to music or a favorite podcast during my dog's sniffari walks (which have the potential to be boring for people). However, having a reactive dog means that I don't have the luxury of spacing out on walks (not that anyone should, no matter how friendly their dog is). Because of my dog's reactivity, I generally have to keep the volume super low, or forego headphones altogether. This gadget is a friendly compromise. It will allow you to add some extra enjoyment to your daily walks while staying aware of your surroundings.
#4 - Treats!
You have to have something to put in that treat pouch, right? I'm a fan of taking something a bit more high value on outings, especially with a reactive dog that may be too overwhelmed in the moment to care much about food. Be sure to bring something with you that will get their attention. Consider giving Fig & Tyler's freeze-dried raw treats* a try.
For some reason, my dog always manages to "go" once we've left the parking lot and there is no longer a trash can in sight. This often puts me in the predicament of having to carry a full poo bag for the remainder (or the entirety) of our walk or hike.
I'm really not a fan of tying full bags to a dog's leash or harness, especially considering how sensitive their noses are! It just doesn't seem fair. The Pack Out Bag can help us all do our environmental "duty" by picking up after our dogs with considerably less hassle. It comes with a strap of it's own, or you can opt to simply clip it to your backpack or treat pouch belt.
#6 - Compostable Poo Bags
Take your "leave no trace" commitment a step further by using poo bags that are compostable, biodegradable, and made from a corn-starch base (as opposed to petroleum like regular plastic bags). While there are a variety of more eco-friendly ways to dispose of dog waste, this is a good start!
For Winter Walkies...
#7 - Darn Tough Socks
These socks are a must for anyone spending a lot of time on their feet, walking and hiking with dogs. The quality alone has made me a loyal customer! While Darn Tough makes a variety of socks, I am particularly fond of their mid-weight hiking socks for winter excursions. But that's not all there is to love...
All Darn Tough socks are made in Vermont.
Pairs come with a lifetime replacement warranty.
Darn Tough is committed to increasing the sustainability of their manufacturing process.
Gone are the days of keeping your fingers toasty with something that goes straight into the trash when you're done. Instead opt for a reusable variety! There are more than a few types to choose from. Click the link above to read all about them.
I hope this list has given you some ideas on how to make your dog's walks more enjoyable for everyone involved. Whether you decide to try out any of the above gear or not, I wish you and your dog many happy outings in the new year!
*Use the coupon code "GC0829"to receive 10% off your first order from Fig & Tyler.