Being Your Dog’s Best Friend

Loving your dog is great, but building a strong bond with them is so much better! Loki is my best friend and I encourage you to make your dog your’s as well. Here are some tips you can use to help become best buds with your doggo:

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Be loving. For us, this means lots of hugs and cuddles. There are many dogs that don’t like that though, so you could go with speaking kindly to them and ear or belly scratches. They take simple things as big gestures. Giving your dog a body rub shows them your attention, which is huge. And yes, talking to your pup is highly encouraged. Your dog is not just a dog, they are family.

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Be their companion. Spend time with your dog! Don’t always go out and do stuff while leaving your dog locked up or home alone. It drives me absolutely crazy when someone gets a dog and then barely acknowledges their existence.
One of the biggest bonding moments I have with my pup is spending time in the outdoors. Playing in the wild together really strengthens our connection.
Also, when I’m on the couch reading, I scratch my mutt’s fluff butt with my foot. That action right there is so simple, but speaks volumes to him.

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Be a safe haven. Don’t push your dog too far; build an environment that makes them feel cared for. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and study it in all situations so you can have a better read on how they’re feeling. This will help you react appropriately and help them back into their comfort zone if needed.
When disciplining Loki, I go with the “firm, but loving” technique. Instead of anger, I use disappointment. When he does something wrong, in a strong voice I ask him why he would do that. I show disappointment in him, like placing my hands on my hips and making eye contact while I ask him why and he goes crazy with guilt.
Never beat your dog. You hit them, I hit you.
I kid. But seriously.

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Be encouraging. Give your dog lots of praise and be super over enthusiastic about it. I’m talking about if he sits when asked, pretend he just saved the world. The tone in your voice usually says a lot more to a dog than the words themselves.
Show them you are happy to be in their company.

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Building a strong bond with my dog is honestly one of the best things I’ve done. It makes all of our adventures so much better. It even makes our hanging-around-the-house moments so much better too.
Treat your dog like a family member and a best friend, and get to spending more time with them!

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Miranda + Loki

Dog First Aid

A first aid kit for your dog is very important to keep on hand. You don’t want to learn the hard way their level of importance. Even if you never end up using it, which is what we all hope for, it is still really crucial to have.
I have two dog first aid kits: a small one that I keep in my backpack with the absolute essentials (in my opinion) and a bigger one that I keep in my vehicle.

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My small first aid kit has things I would like to have on hand right away like gauze, wound spray, vet tape, tweezers for ticks, dog aspirin, and Benadryl (consult your vet before using).

My larger kit has everything listed above, plus a lot more:

Alcohol and antiseptic wipes (made for dogs)
Cold press
Q-tips
Scissors
Loki’s proof of rabies vaccination
Plastic syringe (for cleaning out wounds)
Styptic powder (stops bleeding in minor cuts)
Dog first aid handbook
and a lot more.

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A lot of people I know carry hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in their dog in case of poisoning, but I would definitely consult a vet before deciding to do this.

Along with first aid, think about keeping your dog up-to-date on vaccinations and consider getting preventive care that caters to your adventures. If you’ll be in an area with lots of ticks, get them on tick prevention. Same goes for areas with lots of rattlesnakes. There is a vaccine that helps neutralize the venom, although your dog will still have to be taken to the vet ASAP.

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You can also go the extra mile and carry things that could come in handy like a dog boot or an emergency blanket. Talk to a vet to see what they would recommend for your best friend’s kit. You can definitely customize it to the needs of your dog, area, and adventure, but just make sure to have something!

Miranda + Loki

 

Basic Guidelines: Camping With Dogs

The weather is warming up around here so “camping season” is within reach. Here I’ll share with you some basic guidelines to camping with a dog.

  1. Practice could make perfect.
    If this is your dog’s first time camping and you’re worried about how they’ll do in a tent, don’t be afraid to try it out first. Set up a tent in your living room or yard and encourage them to go hang out in it with you for a little bit. Bring some toys and treats and let them know a tent is a positive thing!

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  2. Be aware.
    If you’re camping at a campground, make sure you know their rules for dogs. Most places require your dog to be leashed while in the campground. If you’re in the backcountry, the rules are more relaxed, but please try to make sure when choosing a place to camp that it is already a campsite. Follow the “leave no trace” guidelines.

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  3. Be prepared.
    Check the weather report, possible wildlife in the area, and if the campground is even open and allows dogs. It’s good to know the possible setbacks or dangers that your pup might face. Bring a doggy first aid kit just to be safe.

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  4. Know your dog.
    There are a couple things that fall under this category. For starters, it’s good to know the signs your dog gives to tell if they are too anxious or scared. That can be tricky if this is a new dog, but the more time you spend with them in the outdoors, the faster you catch on to their tails…
    (See what I did there? Tails, tells… No? Okay, moving on…)
    The second thing is definitely optional, like all of this since you can do whatever you want, but think about deciding if a dog sleeping bag is for your dog. Does your dog have short hair? Do they get cold easily? Do they like to be covered? Are they small enough to fit in it? Dogs get cold too, but that doesn’t mean they want a sleeping bag.
    Loki does not like to be in a sleeping bag and doesn’t fit in any that are made for dogs anyway, so that problem was decided quickly for us.
    The final one here is to bring something that could feel like home to your dog (besides you), like their favorite toy or treat or pillow.

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  5. Don’t forget the food!
    This sounds like a no-brainer, but I’ve actually heard a handful of stories where people forgot to pack dog food when going camping. I always make a list and check it twice 😉
    When camping, we always have other activities planned. We don’t just hang out at the campsite all day, so since my dog is active, I always pack more food and water than I’m expecting we’ll need. The more active they are, the more food and water they’ll need.

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  6. Spend time with your dog. Duh.
    So now that you have a basic picture in mind of how you’ll go camping with your dog, pack up your stuff and go! Make sure you curl up in a tent with your furry BFF and try to get in some cuddle time while enjoying your night in the great outdoors.

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    Miranda + Loki

Ruffwear Powder Hound review

I bought the Ruffwear Powder Hound jacket for Loki for our snowshoeing trips in deep snow. I wanted a jacket that had more coverage than the one he uses in the fall. There are a few things I really love about this jacket so I’ll share my opinions about it here.

1. The coverage:
It has little “sleeves” and a long enough body to provide nice coverage. It doesn’t cover too much though, so your dog is still able to go to the bathroom while wearing it. There is a zipper down the side that makes it easy to put on and take off. I was worried that it might zip his fur in it, but it has a nice piece of fabric on the inside that goes between the zipper and fur.
2. Holds strong against the elements:
The material is soft, but strong. Loki can leap into a pile of snow and come out dry. In fact, he’s done that many times. It also works great in a snow storm. This is a real essential item to our all day snowshoeing trips.
3. It’s super adorable.
That’s all I really need to say about that.

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The only negative thing I have to say about it is that it causes Loki to shed more than normal, and all that fur sticks to it so I have to lint roll it when I take it off of him.
But that’s only a small flaw to me, so overall it’s super worth it for our all day snowshoe trips.
If you’re going to get this jacket, make sure to measure your dog and follow the chart on ruffwear.com. Seriously. I’ve made the mistake of not measuring before, and it’s something that doesn’t take a lot of time and is worth it.

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Happy adventuring friends!
Miranda + Loki

Our Top Guidelines to Snowshoeing

The very first thing we do for snowshoeing is check the weather and conditions.
Don’t only check the weather forecast, check the avalanche warning and trail conditions. Most of the time I just type in my inquiries to a search engine.

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Tell someone where you’ll be and a general estimate of when you’ll return.
Let people close to you know the area you’ll be in and what time you’re expecting to come back, just in the off chance that something goes wrong. If you want to go the extra mile, you can even print out a map of the area you’re planning to be and write down your plans on it.

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Dress for the weather.
If you’re going on a sunny day, don’t wear too many layers. You may even be slightly cold at first, but you’ll warm up once you get going on the trail.
If you’re going with rain or snow in the forecast, wear waterproof clothing!
It is absolutely miserable to be soaked in the cold. I wear a waterproof down jacket and waterproof soft shell snow pants.

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Generally snowshoeing takes a little longer than a normal hike or walk. Plan accordingly. Give yourself extra time than you normally would on a trail. Some people go from point A to point B, but I like to enjoy the area and snowshoeing is a great way to explore all your snowy surroundings.

Strap on your snowshoes and go have fun!
If you are looking for snowshoes or any snowshoeing gear, here is a coupon code for 40% off on regular priced items from Yukon Charlies (yukoncharlies.com) that is good until January 30th 2017: YUKONCHARLIESLOVE

Happy Adventuring!

Miranda + Loki

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Top Trail Etiquette Tips

Lately on the trails I’ve seen a lot of things that make me shake my head and think about why we can’t be more respectful to each other and this beautiful planet. So here are my top 3 trail etiquette tips I believe every dog owner should follow:

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  1. It should be well known that it is polite to move to the side to let others pass, but I think it’s so important for dog owners. Some people on the trail aren’t comfortable with dogs, and even though I think those people are straight crazy (I kid… kind of), they should feel just as comfortable in the outdoors as you do. So pull your dog to the side, and if your pup isn’t trail trained, make sure to keep a hand firmly on their collar or leash.

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    2. Follow the leave no trace guidelines and pick up after your dog! Dog bags are so small and you can get a little carrying case for them, so there really isn’t a good excuse for not bringing some with you on the trail. Pick up any garbage you have from their treats (or your own).

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    3. Don’t have a water break on the trail. Especially on busy trails. Find a spot to the side for any break. Again, some people aren’t comfortable with an adorable fluff butt mutt, and wont want to try and pass when your dog is smack dab in the middle of the trail.

    Just remember, we need to share the outdoors with others and it’s better if we just all get along and make the experience great for everyone.

    Thanks for reading along,

    Miranda + Loki

Dressing For a Winter Hike

Lately I’ve had a handful of people ask me for tips on what to wear when hiking in the winter. I find this funny since I was trying to figure out this very thing a year ago, but I’ve finally come up with some guidelines I follow.

Careful with the layers. It’s important to layer, but it’s also important to not have too many layers. I’ve read multiple articles saying to have 3 layers, and that’s fine, but that’s not what I do.
My first layer is usually a thermal. You never want to wear cotton as your base layer when doing outdoor activities in the winter, because to keep it simple, you will freeze.
My second layer is usually either a windbreaker (on a warmer day) or my down jacket. Both are water resistant, which is key! Water resistant outerwear not only protects from rain and snow, but I can also use it to sit on when resting because it won’t get me wet and it won’t stay wet once I pick it off the ground.
Be warm enough to get you started, but don’t over layer. You will get warmer while putting in the work, which might result in you taking layers off. Just remember, you have to carry what you take with you. Which is another reason I love my down jacket, it packs down nice and small to stuff in my pack.

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Keep your head warm. Wear a beanie or winter hat. Beanies are a muuuust for me. The right ones are comfy and keep your heat in. Another plus side to beanies is you can shove them in your pack and they hardly take up room.

Ladies, my favorite bottoms to wear are thermal leggings. I also have a pair of windproof, waterproof soft shell snow pants which are awesome for a snow day. But if I won’t have much contact with the ground, my thermal leggings are my go to for hiking and snowshoeing. They’re light, super easy to move in, and keep my legs toasty warm.

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Snow boots! Waterproof boots are very important for the winter. It doesn’t hurt to get ones that are also insulated. If you are going to be snowshoeing, you don’t really need to worry about how the traction on bottom is. But if you’re taking a hike with just the boots, you’ll definitely want to worry about that. I wear a pair of Keen boots, which are waterproof and insulated, but not so great on the traction. I’m still obsessed with them though.

Socks and thermal socks.
I always wear a regular pair of socks against my feet and then my big, warm thermal socks over them.

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Gloves. Windproof, waterproof. Don’t really need to say more than that. Although I will add that it is handy to have them touch screen compatible for me.

Extras: On some trips I will bring hand warmers. My gloves have little pockets on the outside I can put them in, which is awesome.
Sunglasses help you from going “snowblind” on a sunny day.
First aid kit is smart to keep around in your pack, no matter the season. I keep a small one with an emergency blanket added.

Half of my winter gear I bought at Costco, which saved me a ton of money on stuff that still works great.

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Looking for snowshoes? Shop around! It’s important to get ones you like and that feel right. Don’t be afraid to try on many different ones if you’re shopping in person. You can shop poles and shoes online at Yukon Charlie’s, or a bunch of other places.
You can also check out your local REI or other outdoor stores to look at renting snowshoes before you commit to buying some.

Happy winter friends! Get out and find an adventure right for you. Don’t let the weather keep you in!

Thanks for reading,
Miranda and Loki