Six Tips for Crag Dogs (and their humans)
Do you love to climb and want your dog to become a crag dog? You've made the right choice, but where do you start?
1) TAKE YOUR DOG TO THE CRAG WHEN THEY'RE YOUNG
Just like the sound of the vacuum or the feeling of riding in the car, your dog will do better with the crag if they are exposed when they are a puppy. The experience of watching their owner climb off the ground, the sounds of ropes being pulled, commands being called, and needing to lay around on leash while a variety of known and unknown people say hi can understandably be overwhelming. They need to get used to it.
(Important note: Get your puppy their vaccinations to make sure to keep them safe at the crag during their immunisation process.)
2) BE FOCUSED ON YOUR DOG AT THE CRAG
When you bring your dog to the crag, think of it as if you are bringing a child with you. Pay attention. You won't be as productive in your climbing because you have a furry companion who is depending on you for love, attention, and sustenance, and that's part of the deal.
3) BRING SNACKS!
Just like you pack snacks for yourself, make sure you have treats for your pup. Also, remember to bring enough water for both of you.
4) WHAT ARE THE RULES?
It's important to understand the rules around dogs at the crag where you are climbing. Are dogs allowed? Do they need to be kept on a leash?
On top of this, make sure that there is a good place for your dog to hang out at the crag. Many crags are on the edges of cliffs, and generally speaking, these are not good places for our furry counterparts. Plan accordingly and understand that many crags may be inappropriate places to have your dog along for the day.
5) HOW DO FOLKS FEEL ABOUT YOUR DOG? HOW DOES YOUR DOG FEEL ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE?
Crags are social places where there are lots of people moving around and interacting. When your dog comes to the crag, they are part of this. People will want to say hi, and despite your best efforts, they will likely do this inappropriately and without asking permission.
If your dog does poorly with people they don't know, then having them at the crag is going to be a lot of work. Be ready for it.
6) DOES YOUR DOG WANT TO BE THERE?
Some dogs love being at the crag, others are ambivalent and just love laying around in the sun. Other dogs are on edge and uncomfortable. As the human, this is not up to you.
As a dog owner, you know your dog better than anyone else. Pay attention - does your dog like being at the crag? Are they comfortable with the ropes, folks leaving the ground, and the attention they may get from other people and other dogs?
If the answers are no, then consider focusing on doing things with your dog that you both enjoy, because that's the purpose of us going outside with our pups, for everyone to have fun in the outdoors.