Apart from being a well-known breed, Rottweilers are recognized as a tough and ready, reliable type of work dog that is a little bit aloof yet friendly. They are generally large in size and robust in stature. They are believed to be dogs that are confident and brave. However, because of their sheer size and imposing nature, impressions about them are sometimes viewed as negative.
If you are a first-time dog owner you might want to pass on getting a Rottie for a pet since this type tends to be headstrong. In addition, they are territorial too. But then if you give them the proper socialization training, they can be well-behaved and a great lifetime companion.
Do Rottweilers Make Good Hiking Companions?
The answer to the above question is yes, with a properly trained Rottweiler. Rotties do enjoy hiking. They are as agile and as capable as other dogs. They too like to have fun while going on that long trek up in the mountains. Having said that, what then are some of the traits that make the Rottweiler a good hiking dog?
They are Athletic and Have a Lot of Energy
This breed is both strong and agile to take on a rather rigorous upward trend in hiking trails.
Rottweilers are a Smart Dog
The Rottie is known to stop and observe first before making a decision on how to go about something. It then indicates a higher level of intelligence compared to other good dogs in its category. They are also described as noble and loyal.
Loves to Play
In spite of it’s size and serious appearance, the Rottie plays and likes to have fun like any other dog. It also is very social. And, contrary to its demeanor the Rottie is always comfortable around humans. They actually need some of that care and attention that their owners can give, otherwise, they become bored and destructive.
They’re Strong Enough to Carry their Own Gear
The Rottie can carry things on its own in a backpack. A backpack holding his/her water and bowl and a couple waters for you can help burn through some energy.
Things to Consider When Hiking with Your Rottie
A properly trained Rottweiler makes for a great hiking partner. Given the right conditions, it can go as far as 10 miles within reasonable limits. For a regular-sized healthy Rottie, he may go anywhere between 16 to 20 miles.
For the Rottie that is a newcomer to hiking, a gradual increase in distance and pace would be the best option. A range of 3-5 miles for a first hike would be an excellent start. Of course, it is important to observe your dog and see if he becomes tired and needs rest.
Makes sure to keep him hydrated and to take the necessary breaks and rests.
Is Your Dog Socially Trained?
Your dog’s behavior and capacity to follow commands is important. This applies every time you decide to bring him outside of your house. You have to decide whether to keep him on a leash or not.
This due to the fact that you might be meeting other people on the trail who might have other dogs too. Since Rottweilers are generally not too aggressive by nature, they aren’t overly gentle either. They tend to be a little rough playing with smaller dogs and some of them don’t even know their own strength. They might even knock over little children while at play.
However, they can be aggressive to other male dogs, and they might even eat smaller animals like a mouse that they catch. Other than that, a trained Rottie can hold its own just like any other socially trained dog. Watch your dog if it seems unfriendly to other people. It could be a problem. If your dog follows only 50% of your commands you can consider him not socially trained.
Many trails have designated off-leash areas. These are perfect places for dogs who can follow voice commands. A dog that doesn’t have training can be easily distracted by anything. It can even run away and get out of sight.
Off-leash, your dog must have a good memory to be able to immediately follow your commands. If he becomes distracted by a squirrel and suddenly gives chase, he might get lost. On the other hand, a big Rottie on a leash may pull you ahead if he is aggressive.
Check your dog’s ability to follow your commands before taking him out to the wilderness.
Be Aware of Weather Conditions
Before deciding to go out and hitting the trail, it will be wise to check the latest weather update on your local news channel. You can also check the weather widget on your computer. Is it too cold, or is it too hot for the day?
It is important to note that Rotties don’t have long fur, and places, where temperatures can drop really low, might not be good for your dog. In any case, make sure that your dog is wearing a warm coat.
In a really hot climate, dogs are not capable of sweating as much as we humans do. So, it is important to note that there are certain temperatures that are dangerous for your Rottie. If it’s anything above 89.5F, then that’s a warning. In the summer months, it may be best to try to get your hikes in earlier in the day.
How Old is Your Dog?
It is fairly obvious that a Rottweiler puppy is not equipped to tackle the taxing ascent and descent on a trail for extended periods of time. Therefore, it is advisable to not take a puppy Rottie for a hike. They might have the energy but not the endurance.
You will want to wait for your Rottie to be at least a year old before deciding to add trail hiking as part of your dog’s routine. Although you can actually take your puppy for a short hike, about 60 minutes at an easy pace will do. You will then have to watch your dog to see if he stops or becomes too tired.
If you begin to see any of those signs, it is best to stop the hike altogether. The same holds true for a senior Rottie since older dogs tend to be less energetic. Some of them might already have some medical condition like arthritis.
So, be careful about how you encourage an older dog in pushing itself to the limit, without shortening its life. There is also no reason why your old Rottie can’t go for a hike. Just keep the distance short and constantly observe your dog.
Again, stopping the hike is always an option, that is, if you see them straining and having a really difficult time.
Some Tips on How To Do Prep Your Rottweiler for the Trail
Exercise Your Dog
The Rottie is a dog that has a lot of stored energy in its body. One way or the other, this energy has to be expressed in a form of play or some sort of running or jumping. You can do at least 1 hour of brisk walking around the neighborhood or in the dog park whenever conditions will permit.
An overweight or even worse, an obese dog will have joint problems and overall fatigue due to the extra weight and being out of shape. This is hardly an ideal situation when going on a trail. So, don’t forget to give your dog his walks so that when the time comes he will be ready.
Bring Some Food and Water
Long climbs on a hot day can test your dog’s endurance and stamina. The thing is, he would be more than happy to expend energy for the fun it entails. Just don’t forget to bring his drinking dish and some water to avoid dehydration.
Snacks and liquids can help your Rottie recharge and finish the hike with some energy to spare. Don’t forget to bring some for yourself too.
Let Your Dog Carry His Own Backpack
A Rottie is strong enough to carry his own things. Use a strong quality backpack that can carry his supplies and maybe some of yours. Just make sure it is not more than 10% of the weight of his body.
Know If Your Dog Likes Hiking
Although it is safe to assume that most dogs like to stretch out and go on an adventure, the thing is, each of them has their own personality. Some dogs would rather be at home laying on the couch watching TV and playing with the kids.
Either too cold or too warm weather, make sure your dog is protected. In colder climates, a waterproof dog jacket would be in good order. Conversely, a cooling vest would be great for hot climates. You can check the availability of the dog’s line of clothing online.
First Aid Kit
While you the owner walk on the trail upright and tall, your pet is right there among the bushes where they get scratched or bruised with small branches. Make sure to bring along a small kit with some first-aid remedy for pets and humans as well.
Lastly, don’t Forget to Do a Post Hike Check
Scour through the whole body of your dog and check for cuts, ticks, burrs, and burns before you get into your car and go home.
With all the necessary training and precautions done in preparation for your hike, your Rottweiler will surely enjoy the chance to stretch itself to the limit. It will definitely like the exercise of going further and climbing higher. And as with any dog that you take hiking, always watch for their behaviors and take breaks as needed.
Hiking with a dog is such a fun bonding experience–there is no need for your Rottweiler to have to miss out.