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:

bff1
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.

bff6
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.

bff4
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.

bff5
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.

bff3
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!

bff2

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.

IMG_1742

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.

firstaid

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.

IMG_1963

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

 

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.

winterwear

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.

winterwear4
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.

winterwear2.jpg
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.

winterwear3.JPG
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

Top Tips For Hiking With Dogs In The Winter

Hiking, or snowshoeing, with your dog in the winter can be just as fun as hiking with them in other seasons. Or even more. Here are my top tips for hiking with dogs in the winter:

  1. First thing to do is check that the area you’re planning to visit allows dogs. It also helps to check if that area is even accessible in the winter and to have a backup plan if not.img_5894
  2. Start off slow. Hiking in snow is usually more work than on solid ground. If you don’t usually venture out in the snow, start with a shorter trip to see how your dog handles it.
  3. Take frequent breaks. Don’t just plan on a “start to finish” hike. Hiking in the snow already takes longer as it is, but you need to also account for breaks in your hike. Make sure to have lots of treats and/or trail food for dogs on hand. They need the extra fuel that those provide. Our go to is Zukes. They have plenty of options for treats that boost a dog mid-hike.img_5528
  4. Keep your dog hydrated! Since it’s colder out, you may not think that they need as much water, but makes sure to still offer them plenty. They might not drink it, but it’s best to have that option there. Also make sure they drink plenty after the hike.img_5530
  5. It’s always handy to know the signs of hypothermia in dogs. Symptoms like excessive shivering, weakness/tiredness, slow and shallow breathing, and lack of alertness are all things to watch out for.
  6. Care for those paws! Whether it’s cute little boots or a product like Musher’s Secret, keep those paws protected. Dog’s paws can handle a lot in all different kinds of terrain, but it’s still important to care for them whether it be before, after, or during the hike. If you choose to put a product on, do it before and after the hike. Before for the protection and after for the conditioning.
    If they aren’t wearing boots, clean between your dog’s toes when taking a break. If they clean their paws themselves, they’re just more likely to get more snow stuck on by adding that extra moisture.img_2403
  7. Look into the many options of jackets and coats. Short fur dogs or dogs that get cold easily will need these more than long coats. Loki uses his jackets on trips longer than a couple hours with temperatures below 35 F
  8. Don’t let your dog near edges of cliffs or mountains. Snow can cause a false sense of solid ground and it could easily cave in and take your dog down with it. Let them run and play and be a dog but keep an eye out.img_5875
  9. And finally, after you and your adventure pup have made it home safely, give them a good rubdown. Work their paws, legs, hips, and anything else. It’s tough work on muscles no matter how active they are! Thanks for following along,   Miranda and Loki