It has become a new normal that people would adventure into the wild with their furry friends. It makes sense because dogs are our best friend, and we want to share the experience with them.
If you are an avid climber, you would probably wonder if rock climbing with your dog is possible, and if so, is that even safe?
The answer is, yes, it is possible. With the right equipment, a well-behaved dog, and safety in mind, scaling up mountains with your pup is achievable! And believe it or not, dogs can make a great climbing buddy!
Below we will talk about the harness specially designed to bring your dog’s adventure to great heights, allowing them to go climbing, mountaineering, canyoneering, and scrambling up steep hillsides and over rocks safely. Also, we will be giving you safety tips for climbing and rappelling with your dog.
Is Climbing with My Dog Safe?
Before we look into the climbing harness, we will first talk about safety because climbing poses a high risk to both you and your dog, which can be fatal.
We are not to frighten you but to let you know that you should be taking this seriously, especially now that you have to take care of your dog as well. And below are the few things that you need to think about before you climb with your dog.
- Does your dog have enough stamina?
You need to know if your dog has enough strength and endurance for climbing. If they are not ready for this, you would want to build up their stamina first by going for a run or hike routinely before heading out to the mountains.
- Does your dog have any health problems?
For safety reasons, your dog should stay home if they suffer from joint pains such as arthritis. You should also consult with your veterinarian to check if your dog is suitable to go climbing in terms of their health and age.
- Does your dog have anxiety?
Dogs that have anxiety won’t enjoy climbing either. Just think about the challenging terrain they have to travel across, and it will make things worse if their fear or anxiety kicks in.
- Know your dog’s temperament.
Some dog breeds love outdoor adventures more than many others, while some are skittish and prefer to be on the couch and watch TV. So, if your dog is the latter, it will be better off to leave them at home. Also, your dog needs to have a calm temperament so that they won’t ruin the experience for the people around you.
- Are you an inexperienced climber?
Taking care of your dog while climbing is harder than you think. So if you are new to this, it may be better to get some experience first before considering bringing them along.
The Best Dog Climbing & Rappelling Harness - Ruffwear Doubleback Rock Climbing Dog Harness
Sure, you can use any harnesses out there, but you are essentially putting your dog’s life at risk. The reason is that most are not for climbing, nor for rappelling with your dog.
And this harness from Ruffwear that we are going to introduce you to is specially made for this exact purpose. Also, this brand is widely known for its outdoor dog gear, so you can rest assured of its quality.
The Ruffwear Doubleback is a full-body lifting harness and strength-rated up to 2,000 pounds, meaning it is strong enough to support a large dog. You notice the main tie-in point is at the center-back, making it easy for you to attach the robe. Also, there are extra loops along the length of the harness to provide enhanced stability.
Additionally, it has padding in the belly area for comfort and extra support, while the rear leg loops ensure equal load distribution and stability. Not to mention the leg loops can be stowed away to provide your dog with increased mobility.
Apart from that, this mountain climbing harness is equipped with anodized aluminum buckles for added durability, along with 7 points of adjustments to ensure a snug fit. Plus, a reinforced handle on top that gives you the ability to assist your dog over obstacles.
How to Fit Ruffwear Doubleback
vs. Climbing & Rappelling Harness
It is important not to confuse mountaineering with hiking. Mountaineering is an intense and challenging outdoor activity that requires a high level of skill sets to climb on rocks and proper climbing equipment such as a climbing harness, helmet, and climbing rope, to reach the summit.
Hiking, on the other hand, is an easier adventure, in which you will be walking on different types of terrains in nature and doesn’t require any technical knowledge. Using dog hiking harnesses for rock climbing or rappelling will put your pup at risk due to the simple fact that they are not designed for that purpose.
Safety Tips for Climbing and Rappelling With Your Dog
- Bring along your dog’s essentials and the right climbing equipment.
Remember to bring enough necessities for your dog before setting out on a climbing adventure, such as treats, water, and a first aid kit. And don’t forget about the climbing harness to keep them safe.
- Consider using dog boots.
It may seem silly, but dog booties can be very useful when it comes to keeping your dog’s paws safe from rough and rocky terrain.
- Start with less stressful trails.
You should practice on easy terrains first if your dog is a novice climber. The purpose is to acclimatize them to the uneven surfaces, and most importantly, help them learn some climbing and rappelling skills.
- Keep your dog on a leash.
Things can go wrong if you let your dog climb off-leash, and it can happen in just a matter of seconds. So, make sure your dog is tethered securely at all times for safety reasons, especially around the cliffs.
- Don’t push your dog’s limit.
Dogs don’t communicate the way we do, so keep a close eye on them to see if they are doing ok along the way. If they show signs of fear and anxiety, which they may tuck in their tail under their body or pretend to yawn, you should stop going further and calm their nerves.
- Consider the weather.
If it is too hot or too cold, it may be better to take a day off and rest up. The reason is that it can be challenging to climb and rappel in harsh weather. Also, keep in mind that rain and snow can cause the terrain to become slippery.
- Beware of the hazards.
While dogs’ paws have better traction than our feet, they can still slip on slippery gravel, cliff edges, and steep drops. So, be cautious and keep a close eye on them.
- Watch out for the chalk.
Though chalk is crucial to keep your hands dry for better grip on the holds, you need to be careful when you grab it to prevent it from getting into your dog’s eyes.
- Don’t push yourself too hard.
Consider the fact that climbing is an intense and challenging workout, don’t push yourself too hard, and conserve your energy so that you can help your canine when needed.
- Keep your dog hydrated and take a break.
It is also crucial that both you and your dog stay hydrated on the trail, and never hesitate to take a break if needed. That’s the key to get to the destination.
- Short play sessions.
Climbing with your dog isn’t just about working hard to get to where you want to be, but also to have fun, making the experience more enjoyable, and to create good memories together.