Crag Dogs

cragdogIf you climb outdoors enough you will eventually meet a crag dog. This might sound like a strange and exotic beast, but it’s not. Crags dogs are simply dogs at a climbing spot. No, they’re not feral hounds attracted to the sound of carabiner clips and rattling anchors. They’re just pets that climbers decide to bring out to share in the adventure. Bringing your dog on climbing trips might seem like a great idea, but there are some things that you should consider first.

Before you get gung-ho and throw your dog in your climbing pack, consider whether or not he or she has the temperament or the training for a day full of climbing. There are a lot of things that happen while you’re climbing that your dog might not be accustomed to.

Unless you go to a secret crag that only you know about, you’re probably going to end up seeing other climbers. If your dog doesn’t handle strangers well, this could be a problem.

If your dog doesn’t understand the word “stranger” and treats everyone like his or her best friend, you still have to¬† be mindful that other climbers might bring their own dogs out. Some dogs get along well with people but are aggressive towards other dogs. There’s nothing like a dog fight to ruin your mental preparation for a climb.

Your dog might be great with people and other animals, and if that’s the case your dog is definitely crag dog material. Some other things to keep in mind are whether or not your dog will listen to other people, or if they get separation anxiety.

You won’t be able to stop your dog from getting into mischief when you’re up at the anchors. If your dog won’t listen to other people, who knows what might happen between when you pull on the first hold and when your feet touch ground.

Some dogs don’t handle their owners leaving them very well. Sometimes a person will start climbing and their dog loses it — barking, whimpering, running in circles, trying to climb up after their owner. Not only can this be irritating, more importantly it can be dangerous. An anxious dog can distract spotters or belayers and lead to injuries.

So let’s say that you’ve determined that your dog will make the world’s best crag dog. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t matter how well behaved your dog is if dogs aren’t even allowed where you’re going. You may have a friendly dog but not all crags are dog-friendly.

If you’re out on public land where there aren’t rules or regulations about pets or animals, then you’re free to let Fido tag along. However, climbing destinations on privately owned land or in regulated or protected areas may not allow dogs. It’s always smart to check and see whether the area you are going to climb at allows dogs. You don’t want to drive all the way out to a crag only to find that your dog isn’t welcome.

You might like the idea of having a crag dog, but a good crag dog has to be well-trained and have the right disposition. You have to raise your dog around that type of environment rather than try to throw them into it after they’ve already developed their own way of doing things. However, crag sloths are always a suitable pet option.

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