The Ultimate Outdoor Companion: Choose Your Adventure

Follow these sport-specific tips for worry-free play

Get over it!

Get over it!     Photo: Grayson Schaffer

MOUNTAIN BIKING
Your dog should be a running breed (pointer, heeler, husky) and in good shape. Otherwise joint damage and arthritis could be in its future. Train your dog to follow two feet behind your rear wheel. And if you’re riding hard or bombing steep descents, leave it at home.

TRAIL RUNNING
The key is good recall—your dog’s ability to come back to your side on command. Train your dog to recall at a turn in the trail, so it doesn’t encounter something before you do. If it gets excited when you come upon other runners or dogs, train it with the command “leave it.”

WHITEWATER RAFTING
Stick to mellower stretches of water (generally, nothing over Class III), get your dog a flotation device, and designate a spot for it to sit. Create a target in the boat (a life jacket or a dog bed) and repeatedly lead your dog to it, rewarding it when it stays. Familiarize your dog with currents by playing ball in the eddy line. For more tips and trip ideas, check out Dog Paddling Adventures.

BACKCOUNTRY SKIING
Skis have razor-sharp edges that can cut pups’ tendons. Your dog should be able to heel at least two feet behind you on the way down—or wait at the top of the hill until you’ve descended before following. And get dog booties: snow can cause your dog’s pads to abrade to the point of bleeding. Get your dog used to wearing them by putting them on at feeding time for a few weeks before heading out. Our testers’ favorites: Ruff Wear’s Bark’n Boots Grip Trex ($70).

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