Hill hound

by backpackingbongos

Today I introduced a new friend to the delights of hill walking.  There was much wagging of tail and sniffing everything that could be sniffed, so I think he enjoyed himself.  I just need to persuade him to share the driving and all will be good, instead he just lay on the back seat and snored.  I have a sneaky suspicion that he has never been up on the hills before so a gentle 6.5 miles to start him off with.  He just needs to work out how to get over a stile properly……………

15 Comments to “Hill hound”

  1. Excellent. Great pic of Reuben gazing down on the landscape below like he’s modelling for a Caspar Davis Friedrich painting! I think your guess is sadly an accurate one – can’t see many staffies getting to enjoying the delights of hill-walking. The stile thing can be a challenge for lots of dogs, it seems – I’ve had to fold Sol (Dougal’s pater familias) up and throw him over a few before now. Not easy with a 30kg labrador.

    There’s around 30-odd steps up and down to the communal garden from our flat, so it’s all good training for Dougal before he finally gets to hit the hills.

    I look forward to reading about your first backpack with Reuben, James.

  2. It took me bloody ages to get him to sit for long enough to get that shot Pete! Luckily he has got another breed of pooch in him, so a bit leaner than the average short squat staffie. He comes in at 20kg so not easy to get over obstacles! I have been eyeing up a harness that rescue dogs wear, a loop that is balanced so easy to just lift up. Would make a good seatbelt harness for him too. I could tell that he was feeling the cold on my lunch break, he has very short hair. Keep it quiet but I have ordered him a coat to wear at night in the tent or in the bongo……

    Is Dougal going to grow into a big strapping lad?

    • I thought there was more to Reuben than pure, undiluted staffie. I was just saying to my Fiona that he looks long in the shanks. Yes, the opportunities for equipping one’s hill-hound with harnesses, panniers etc mines a whole new seam of potential kit acquisition I feel! Perhaps, there are canine crampons available for winter hill-walking with hounds?

      If Dougal grows into his impressive paws, he’s going to be a biggy alright.

      • Too much doggie kit out there Pete. He will just have his nice red coat and a new harmess for lifting over fences. Good to hear that Dougal has massive paws, you know what they say about massive paws?

        We had an Irish Wolfhound when I was a child, when he was a puppy his paws were like dinner plates. A big clumsy fool he was. Could lick your face with all four paws on the ground!

  3. Superdawg used to shiver in the cold , and look at me accusingly in hail – and we once had ato abandon a walk due to snow – so he got a fleece-lined jacket. He still wears this from time to time, but, as he’s got older, he’s developed a thicker coat, and a nice layer of fat. He’s just about 22 kg, but he can clear a stile or a fence – up to about four feet high – with one mighty bound – hence superdawg.

  4. James, looks like you have a new backpacking pal ! I have two Jack Russells, they are too mad to take together. Probably my fault for not spending enough time training them.

  5. Mike I need to teach Reuben the fine art of getting over stiles, it was too much for his brain I think. I don’t think that he will get a thicker coat, already four years old. It is like a fine crew cut.

    I hope that he will enjoy backpacking Mark. Friends have Jack Russells, lovely dogs but can be grumpy stubbern buggers! They can live to a ripe old age which is good. We nearly got one but got pipped at the post at the rescue centre. Glad that we chose Rueben now though.

  6. New wild camping pal, I see 😉

    And taking in the sights from Higger Tor, too eh? 😉

    Yep, I’m that sad – but then I’ve seen plenty of the Peaks of late to spot an area in seconds from photos

  7. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and really enjoy doing so, having also done some of the walks and recognising some of the shots that you have taken.

    We do a lot of walking and have encountered the same problem with stiles so many times! We bought our dogs ruffwear harnesses, they are great and we manage to lift our 20kg (ish!) dogs over fences and stiles with these. They can manage the ladder stiles that aren’t too steep with a bit of guidance and the handles on the harnesses are brilliant for this too. They also have fleecy linings on the straps to prevent them rubbing.

    Hope you manage to find a suitable one for Reuben, it makes walks so much easier!

  8. Spot on with the identification Terry, a cracking spot it is too. Strangely busy even on a cold grey January Monday though. Lets hope that Reuben likes the wild camping lark.

    Hi there Glossopwhite, good to hear that you have been enjoying the blog, makes it worthwhile writting it. I have been thinking about the Ruffwear harnesses, they get good reviews. They could also be good for lifting over fences when in the wilds and no stiles available. Good for the car too?

  9. Yeah, they are great for lifting over fences too, we often do this rather than attempt some of more difficult or rotten stiles! They are also brilliant on the mountains going up rocky scrambles, ledges or steep sections, both up and down hill when a little bit of help or guidance is needed.

    They don’t wear them in the car, but I would expect it would be quite easy to attach a seatbelt loop to it and then attach to the seatbelt, as long as he doesn’t chew through it!

    • Hmmm, Ruffwear harness; like the sound of that. BTW, James I’m assuming that Higger Tor was chosen for its anagramatic symbolism?

  10. Dog envy apart, what a brilliant looking hound. It should be possible to train your dog to negotiate stiles. I managed to do it with mine – even the big ladder stile sort that are common in N Wales soon became no barrier. Harnesses make a lot of sense though, they chafe less on the dog and are more likely to stay on than a collar. They have other uses – recently I had to rescue a mate’s endlessly curious staffie from a mill race – this would have been a really tall order without the harness. It saved us from the harrowing spectacle of finding out whether the wave after the wier was a stopper or not and also meant the dog displayed a slightly sheepish look for all of ten minutes.

    As for harness in the car there are ones you can buy with a loop that clips around the seat belt. The thought of 20 kilos of unrestrained dog flying into in a collision doesn’t bear thinking about.

    • Thanks Steve. We have been trying to work out what other breed is in him apart from Staffie as he is long in the legs and not as stocky as most. My bet at the moment could be lurcher? I hope that I will be able to train him to get over stiles, otherwise hillwalking is going to be a bit awkward with him! A Ruffwear harness has been ordered for him, will be easier to lift him then. The cheapie one he has got at the moment would cause him discomfort if I lifted him by that.

      In the van at the moment I clip his harness to a very short lead, the handle of which goes through the seat belt. I think that the padded Ruffwear harness will give him more protection during a collision as more straps and padding.

      What kind of hound do you have?

  11. She is a one off, a mongrel who is descended from a long line of mongrels about the size of a runt collie. We got her from Battersea and when we lived in London we’d always tell people she was a Plaistow kebab harrier – if ever there was a dog who could single handedly sweep the town clear of bits of chicken it’d be her. She’s now getting misty eyed with age and a bit arthritic which means I haven’t been able to take her with me to the mountains for several years now. Enjoy your new dog while you can.

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