Dog Hike

By: Samantha Sektnan

If you are an outdoor enthusiast and dog owner like myself, then you too may have considered ways to include your furry canine in your outdoor activities. A hiking trip is a great way to get some exercise, explore the world around us, and bond with your dog too. In order to bring your dog on a hiking or backpacking trip, here is a guide on everything that you need to bring and complete in order to prepare your dog for the trip.

It is important that your dog has proper obedience training in order to handle the possibility of seeing other people and animals on the trip and to follow your commands and stay with you if you are able and willing to let your dog off-leash. You will also need to build your dog’s endurance and toughen up his/her paw pads through a series of shorter trips beforehand. Also make sure that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and that he or she has the proper ID tags or microchips in case something were to happen.

There are many important items that you must bring in order for your dog to have a successful trip. Of course, you will need to bring a leash and harness or collar to keep your dog by your side and not get lost. Just like with humans, you need to bring enough food and water plus the utensils to make and eat the meals. As a general rule of thumb, use your own thirst and hunger as a general guide and be sure to stop and offer your dog water two to four times an hour depending on the temperature and trail level. When your dog decides it’s time to do their business, it would be a wise decision to bring some type of doggy bags to pick up the deed.

As a precaution, make sure to bring a map of the area and be familiar with the closest veterinarians to your hiking destination in case any dog emergencies come about on your trip. It would also be a great idea to bring a first aid kit with essential items for you and your dog like bandages, antiseptic, insect repellant, a tick remover, brush, flashlight and batteries. If you are ever stopping for the night, of course you will need to bring a tent, sleeping pad, and a wool blanket for the two of you.

If your dog is physically strong enough and you don’t want to mix the smell of dog treats with the items in your own pack, it may be wise to invest in a dog pack. It is important to remember to have your dog practice wearing the pack beforehand to make sure he/she is comfortable with it. Practice by having your dog walk around wearing an empty pack, then gradually add weight. Make sure that the weight is distributed evenly throughout the pack and that the weight is no more than 1/4 the total weight of your own dog. For more information on how to fit a dog pack, you can visit this link.

You might notice that for a human a hiking trip would be nearly impossible without a pair of good hiking boots, and the same can be said for your dog. Having your dog wear a pair of booties for a hiking trip will require a significant amount of practice and if your dog still admittedly refuses them like my dogs do, alternatives could be wearing dog socks or using a protective wax to create a barrier between the ground and the pads such as Musher’s Secret. For hot temperatures, you may want to consider getting a cooling collar for your pooch. If the weather or nights get cold, bring a dog coat to protect your furry canine. If there’s the possibility of your dog getting wet, also bring a dog towel to dry him or her off.

This may seem like a lot of information to take in, but it is essential that these things be thought about in order to have a successful hiking or backpacking trip with your dog. It is important to remember that in order to take your dog on these trips that you must take things slow and work up to more difficult or longer trips. Once you and your dog feel confident and prepared for your outing, then use this knowledge and have a great trip with your fellow canine!

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  • Restorative Practices in an Outdoor Setting

    April 24, 2018

    By: Beth Zabiegalski   

    As an organization, Venture Outdoors does some really awesome and exciting things with local youth in after-school and summer programs, getting them outside for the first time or teaching them something new to do in nature. Most of our outings are a couple hours or less, but when we build meaningful relationships with our students, we create formative outdoor experiences with memories that last more than just that afternoon. 

    Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a two-day Restorative Practices Training through Venture Outdoors’ partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools. I’ll admit I had next to no idea what to expect,

     » Read more about: Restorative Practices in an Outdoor Setting  »

  • Spring Inside

    April 17, 2018

    A Day a Phipps 
    By: Sara Cardamone 

    Now that Spring is finally here, so is the rain! In Pittsburgh, sometimes it can be hard to find ways to be in nature when it is rainy and muddy. However, there are tons of fun alternatives if you look hard enough! Since I’m a student at Pitt, I pass Phipps Conservatory all the time but I always felt like I never had enough time to stop in. Fast forward to now, the first big rainy day of Spring was upon us and I was struggling to find a calming activity to take my mind off of school and then it hit me.

     » Read more about: Spring Inside  »

  • My Mirror is the Outdoors

    April 10, 2018

    By Stephanie Capilongo

    “Go Outside… amidst the simple beauty of nature… and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.” -Anne Frank.

    The outdoors, it appears, is complicated. But it’s not. It can free your mind and give you a new appreciation for beauty. It brings things and people together, whether it’s your best friend, significant other or your cat. The people you go with mean everything. And no matter who you are or what you do, you can find joy.

     » Read more about: My Mirror is the Outdoors  »

  • When Youth Find their Voices

    April 3, 2018

    By: Lo Hutelmyer, Ryan Singleton and Ty’Shay Thorton

    To an educator, few things are more rewarding than witnessing a student discover his or her own passion. More rewarding still is when they show their first glimpses of leadership by taking charge to teach others about their passion.

    For those of you who may know me, it’s sometimes a challenge for me to stay quiet. But when I had the opportunity to watch Ty’Shay and Ryan present at last month’s conference, I was speechless. Ty’Shay and Ryan, 7th graders from Manchester Academic Charter School, have been participating regularly on Venture Outdoors trips for two years.

     » Read more about: When Youth Find their Voices  »

  • Mount Ararat Community Activity Center takes on GASP!

    March 27, 2018

    By: La’Nell Pennington, Trip Leader SpecialistGASP

    Last October, youth group members at Mount Ararat Community Activity Center in East Liberty participated in an after-school workshop with Pittsburgh’s own Group Against Smog and Pollution. (GASP).

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     » Read more about: Mount Ararat Community Activity Center takes on GASP!  »

Kayak Pittsburgh

Sunset Paddle

Thank you for another great season!
We’ll see you on the water in 2018!


Featured Outing

Geocaching - CD

Cultural District Geocaching
Thursday, April 26
6:30 – 8:30 PM

Join us for a fun intro to the world of geocaching in the Cultural District. We will learn the basics of using a GPS (Global Positioning System) device to navigate between waypoints throughout downtown.