by: Lauren Fry
What most people don't know about their four legged friends is their great climbing abilities! Obviously dogs can’t harness in for a climb, but they are agile with a low center of gravity which makes them great to take on a scramble climb!
Your dog does not count as a climbing buddy because he cannot dial 911, so your human buddy can help boost or hand the dog up in tricky spots like cracks or large boulders. They are able to use their lower center of gravity and area surface of all four limbs to easily scurry up slabs that would take a human much longer.
Bringing a dog along entails having to carry extra water for the dog as well as something from which to drink. Some springs and creeks can be infested with bacteria and other nasty things that can make your dog very sick so always bring fresh drinking water. I use this great pop up bowl that attaches right to the water bottle for convenience. For a short climb/hike, water is enough however, if you bring a snack for yourself, it is a good idea to also bring a snack for your canine companion.
When doing any free climbing DO NOT have your dog on a leash. If you are tied together it can be dangerous for both parties. If a dog is leashed but dragging it behind, there is a major possibility of the leash getting caught and causing major injuries to your best friend. In order to take a dog climbing make sure that it is obedient and comfortable off-leash to avoid other accidents. One other good rule of thumb is to make sure the dog is not aggressive in case of encounter with other dogs. I recently took my new pup Bandit to a popular climbing spot in between Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming called Vedauwoo (pictured right). I was delighted at how brave and agile that Bandit was for a five month old puppy! We had a great time climbing and spending time outside together. This photo was taken by my human climbing buddy as we took refuge in the shade.