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Old 03-21-2016, 11:48 AM   #1
Buckshot
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Pine Orchard & Dogs

I am introducing my 6 month old lab mix to hiking. So far we've done a bunch of hour long walks around the capital region, and two weekends ago she hiked Hadley Mountain. Lot's of people on Hadley, and she was on the leash the whole time. I'd like to take her somewhere with less people to get her off leash. Is pine Orchard a good hike for this? I understand from the trail head you can walk north about 2 miles, and its relatively flat.

Other hikes I have in mind for early season are Buck, Black, and Crane. All will likely be crowded and require a leash the whole time.

When Jessup opens up I'd like to spend some time in the WCL area. Other areas I have in mind for a possible overnight are upper benson and pharaoh lakes. These would all be day hikes, transitioning to one day overnights, with the goal of a two to three day overnights by the end of the summer if things go well.

If anyone has tips to introducing a dog to a canoe I would also appreciate it.
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Old 03-21-2016, 12:08 PM   #2
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The Pine Orchard isn't "High Peaks popular," but it can be moderately popular. I've been there twice, and both times I encountered probably around 4 or 5 other groups total throughout my hike.

If you're just looking for a destination to get out into the woods with her, and the specific location doesn't matter- if you were to turn south on the snowmobile trail instead of hiking north to the Pine Orchard, you would probably see no one. Or you could park at the Pumpkin Hollow trailhead and hike north. Bring a map and compass, though- that trail gets faint in spots (or at least it did when I hiked it in 2005).
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:00 PM   #3
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You will see fewer people at Pine Orchard than at most places, but a leash is always a good idea; you never know.
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:05 PM   #4
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Pine Orchard from PHR is a nice day hike, one of my favorites. You probably wouldn't see another soul on the section between PHR and Dorr Rd. This time of year, I doubt you'd see anyone on the Dorr Rd. to Pine Orchard section as Dorr Rd. should be blocked off for the remained of mud season.

The 3+ mile trail from PHR to Dorr Rd. is in pretty decent shape when I hiked it in November of 2015. There's some minor blowdown that may have been cleared by the snowmobile club this winter; then again...

The 1st mile and a half is very flat with a few minor water crossing that serve as handy Lab Refueling Stations. After you go through the old farm foundation and cross the headwaters of the Coulombe Cr. on a bridge, the trail has a little "up" to it. Nothing steep, just a steady 300' climb until it wanders around over some humps and hillocks just before it gets to the Dorr Rd. junction. The only confusing part is the junction with a snowmobile trail that heads to Wells.

From the Dorr Rd. junction, it's a little less than 2 miles to Pine Orchard. The nice wide trail is a joy to walk on. There's a couple small creek crossings and one big one on a bridge.

Even if the pup doesn't have the go for the full 8+ mile hike, the trail from PHR is a great off leash training area once you clear the camp at the outlet of Willis Lake. The pine needle covered trail is very easy on their pads and the small streams help with hydration.

Enjoy!
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Old 03-21-2016, 03:27 PM   #5
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I've had some experience with dogs and watercraft as have other folks on the forum.
I've never had a problem after reassuring the dog that everything is OK.
They seem to be mostly curious about their new ride and enjoy it.
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Old 03-21-2016, 09:33 PM   #6
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I have a lab (Jenny), and have successfully trained her to walk behind me when commanded to do so, which enables me to easily leash her if & when others come down the trail. My best advice is to hike with your dog as often as possible. Better yet, take your dog with you wherever you go, rides to the store, out to check the mail box, or even to work with you if your job allows, and work on practicing acceptable behavior. Same goes for the canoe/boat...Wait for some warmer weather, and take a few practice paddles close to shore, without any gear, and plan on getting wet for the first couple tries.
Bottom line, just do what you like to do, and take your dog with you wherever & whenever you can, and they'll get the hang of how they should behave as long as you teach them.

Last edited by Justin; 03-21-2016 at 09:47 PM..
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Old 03-22-2016, 03:12 PM   #7
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Justin nailed it. Bring her everywhere you go. Labs tend to be really good off leash in general and with her being as young as she is, will most likely stick very close to you as long as you hold her attention and don't let her bait you into the 'chase me' game.

I always carry a leash for my pups whether or not I plan to use it simply because there's a handful of anti-dog people out there and letting them see that you have it is usually enough to shut them up.
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Old 03-22-2016, 04:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyFishingandBeer View Post
Justin nailed it. Bring her everywhere you go. Labs tend to be really good off leash in general and with her being as young as she is, will most likely stick very close to you as long as you hold her attention and don't let her bait you into the 'chase me' game.

I always carry a leash for my pups whether or not I plan to use it simply because there's a handful of anti-dog people out there and letting them see that you have it is usually enough to shut them up.
Shut them up from saying what? Things like keep your obnoxious dog on a leash? Frankly, I get more upset when I see a dog owner on the trail with a leash in hand long after 'oh X won't hurt you' has been harassing me or my family for 5 minutes while the slow human catches up. I don't want to start another one of the dog fights there have been in the past on here (and I apologize to the mods if this sounds overly crass) but your hubris is exactly the kind of disrespect that spawns completely unnecessary conflicts in the woods.
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Old 03-22-2016, 04:23 PM   #9
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Hey Buckshot,
What's your pup's name?
Photos please.
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:09 PM   #10
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Her name is Marcy and she weighs in at a whopping 26 pounds at 6 months old. She's the runt of a 9 puppy litter.

I'm going to take deathstar and ticks advice--starting at Pumpkin Hill hiking north. We'll see how far we get.
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Old 03-22-2016, 08:22 PM   #11
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Great photo!
Marcy....that little Peanut.
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Old 03-24-2016, 09:29 AM   #12
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Get Over It

Quote:
Originally Posted by Creekwader View Post
Shut them up from saying what? Things like keep your obnoxious dog on a leash? Frankly, I get more upset when I see a dog owner on the trail with a leash in hand long after 'oh X won't hurt you' has been harassing me or my family for 5 minutes while the slow human catches up. I don't want to start another one of the dog fights there have been in the past on here (and I apologize to the mods if this sounds overly crass) but your hubris is exactly the kind of disrespect that spawns completely unnecessary conflicts in the woods.
What next?
Raindrops on Roses... and whiskers on kittens?
Bright copper kettles...? Warm woolen mittens?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33o32C0ogVM
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:06 PM   #13
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What next?
Raindrops on Roses... and whiskers on kittens?
Bright copper kettles...? Warm woolen mittens?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33o32C0ogVM
Thanks a lot, I had just banished The sound of music from my head after my kids went to see a performance a couple weeks ago and have been singing the songs ever since.

I'm over it
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgTJtdn6VjM
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Old 03-24-2016, 01:15 PM   #14
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Old 03-24-2016, 01:59 PM   #15
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Biggest issue with pups in rough terrain IMHO is gradually toughening up their paw pads to take the abuse from rocky ground. Add a little bit at a time as you are doing and you'll be fine. Many recommend liquid band-aids in the first aid kit for pad abrasion just in case. You don't want to try to carry out a full grown lab. Just saw your pic above. Cute. So carryable, but still want to avoid that if at all possible.
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Old 03-25-2016, 03:58 AM   #16
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What seemed like a perfect combo, hiking and a yellow lab, was eventually costly for me. Yellow labs suceptable to Acl tears. Finally after taking her up Hurricane, she had tears in one then another. TPLO surgery. 10 grand. Wish I had pet health insurance.
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Old 03-25-2016, 09:58 AM   #17
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Bring a pocket full of hot dog bits. My buddy trained his basset-dachshund mix to heel on a whistle. That little dog would probably come from a mile away when she hears the whistle to get her bit of hot dog.

I have a brittany who heels quite well and sticks within 30 yards off-leash. I generally leash him on trails and let him off when bushwhacking.
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Old 03-28-2016, 04:39 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Bark Eater Too View Post
Biggest issue with pups in rough terrain IMHO is gradually toughening up their paw pads to take the abuse from rocky ground. Add a little bit at a time as you are doing and you'll be fine. Many recommend liquid band-aids in the first aid kit for pad abrasion just in case. You don't want to try to carry out a full grown lab. Just saw your pic above. Cute. So carryable, but still want to avoid that if at all possible.
Good advice!
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Old 03-28-2016, 04:42 PM   #19
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What seemed like a perfect combo, hiking and a yellow lab, was eventually costly for me. Yellow labs suceptable to Acl tears. Finally after taking her up Hurricane, she had tears in one then another. TPLO surgery. 10 grand. Wish I had pet health insurance.
I'm sorry to hear about your lab! I've seen pictures of my dogs brothers and they are huge! I'm hoping her small stature reduces the chances of any major hip/acl/leg issues.
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Old 03-28-2016, 04:45 PM   #20
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Bring a pocket full of hot dog bits. My buddy trained his basset-dachshund mix to heel on a whistle. That little dog would probably come from a mile away when she hears the whistle to get her bit of hot dog.

I have a brittany who heels quite well and sticks within 30 yards off-leash. I generally leash him on trails and let him off when bushwhacking.
I'm working with a trainer once a week. She just started to learn heal two weeks ago. I'm working on other commands useful for hiking such as stay, wait, backup, leave it, and eventually a command to greet people.
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