What age for taking a dog walking on the hills and camping?

Continuing my recent dog theme, my pup is quickly approaching his second immunisation jab and thus the ability to go out for a walk. This is good, not least of which for the rabbit who is fed up of the pup trying to mount him! It will take a few months of getting the pup used to going for walks etc but my question to those that have dogs is in the title of the post.

Basically, how old should your dog be before talking him for a walk in the hills and also camping, specifically wildcamping? I know it will vary a bit from breed to breed and also the time of the year but I just want to garner a bit of opinion as to how old other peoples dogs were when they first started taking them out on the hills?

I dont want to overtire my pup and certainly dont want to put him at risk. I was thinking probably he should be around 6-9months old and also thus wait until the spring especially if camping. Really interested in other peoples thoughts on this topic……

About Saddlebags and Backpacks - a brewer's outdoor adventures

I am a keen hiker, camper, cyclist and general all round gear addict..... I also manage to be a professional brewer in my non-spare time :->
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10 Responses to What age for taking a dog walking on the hills and camping?

  1. We were told years ago by a good friend who’s a vet, that 6 months is ok, so that’s what we’ve always worked on and our dogs have always been fine with that. I have heard some people say 9 or 12 months, but we’ve never waited that long. The only real thing that has taken me by surprise though, as far as wild camping is concerned, is that I totally underestimated how cold my Boxer can get overnight in a tent – even in summer sometimes. I have to make sure she’s really wrapped up well. She does have very fine fur though, yours looks a bit more hairy!

    • backpackbrewer says:

      thanks for the advice, much appreciated.

      Barnie is very well endowed with fur! In fact I was thinking of taking him as a hot water bottle for me!


  2. I’m not too sure what the official answer should be but I await the comments with interest.

    Oor Nellie is just hitting 7 months and I’ve been taking her for some proper long hill days now for about a month. She does get at least a 45 min walk (sometimes 2) plus out for a couple of short walks everyday around the local park/nature trail though so is fairly fit for a young dog. There’s nothing worse than seeing a fat collie. I just keep an eye on her to watch if she’s flagging but to be honest, it’s always me who needs the rest stop before her lol!

    Wildcamping is next on the agenda and the only reason we haven’t tried it yet is more to do with a lack of time rather than the dugs abilities. I’m looking forward to her first night in a tent.

  3. sahfenn says:

    When we got our jack russell/chihuahua cross last year we made the mistake of thinking that he’d slow down or stop walking when he’d had enough exercise. Not the case. Even at 12 weeks he’d out-walk the rest of us! So I think we did over-walk him when he was younger. From what I’ve read, the bigger the breed the more you need to be concerned about over-walking and impairing muscle and bone development. I’ve even read that you should only walk them for 10 mins per month of age, but that seems excessively cautious to me. I’d judge it on his physical development. Obviously once fully grown in height they’re much stronger (which happens more quickly the smaller the dog).

    I took Pip camping with me when he was only 11 weeks old, to get him used to the noise and smell of a tent (which worked a treat btw). At that time he was still sleeping in a crate and wasn’t housetrained and, for me, that was the biggest delay to taking him backpacking. Once he was house (tent) trained then he could sleep with us in the tent without fear of accidents or tent chewing. However that time came in the depths of winter so we waited until the spring just to make sure he didn’t get too cold and miserable on his first trip.

    Now both of our dogs come with us backpacking. They make great hot water bottles ๐Ÿ™‚

    • backpackbrewer says:

      I am definitely waiting until the spring for his first backpack and tent share. Good info to know about development rates and link to dog age/size in terms of walking limits. I didnt consider that angle. Tried him out with a lead inthe back garden and he wasnt impressed so might have to work at this! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. SimonN says:

    Took our 18 month old border collie x corgi camping last month for the first time at St David’s in West Wales. Stayed on a farm campsite with other dogs around and the only problem we had was keeping her in the tent at night – she was keen to go and see the other dogs and soon realised she could squeeze under the flysheet.

    We could have taken her earlier but not as young as yours is now – not safely any way. My main concerns were that she’d run off, get lost or get stuck in a hole. On these points, I’d say as soon as he’s old enough to come to you when called you should be alright but I’d still watch out for rabbit holes, badger setts and the likes.

    Good luck!

    • backpackbrewer says:

      thanks for the reply Simon. We are waiting until next year to try Barney out with family camping and will go back to the dog friendly site we went to in Cornwall. We have a large double skinned tent so Barney has room to sleep in an area seperate from the human sleeping areas and yet cant escape out!

  5. MrsBoardwell says:

    We have 2 Border Collies aged 9 & 7. Our dog’s (he’s 9) mountain life has recently come to an abrupt end as he’s had quite a horrible incident running downhill which made his legs cease up suggesting he’s been suffering from arthritis for quite a bit longer than we’d actually manage to notice [dogs are clever like that, as they must follow the pack in the wild in order to survive they keep *pretending* everything’s fine for far longer than any super human would ^-^]. My personal opinion is that the majority of dogs [if not all] do suffer with arthritis in old age and the more time you give your pup to grow strong the more beneficial it will be when he grows old. If it was my little pup I’d defo take him on as many long energy burning flat walks across the country side as you can manage until he was a full 12 months old and then he’d start life as a teenage wild camping hill walking full on mountain dog ^-^
    but hey, that’s just my opinion. You’re entitled to your own ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • backpackbrewer says:

      thanks for the info and sorry that your 9 year old dog has had his mountain adventures curtailed. I think on balance a slow measured appraoch to building up his stamina without overdoing it and then go for a short distance camp next spring and go from there is what i will do

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