hiking Archives - Hot Diggity! Pet Sitting

Last year, Hot Diggity! introduced an exciting new offering to all our clients; Forest Pack Hikes! This isn’t a normal potty break or breath of fresh air, this is a full-on socialization and sensory-rich adventure for your pups. When Pack Club dogs realize that it’s a Hike Day, they get as excited as if they’re going to Doggie Disneyland.

All dogs go through an initial consultation where we determine if they’re ready for Pack Club and if so, which personality pack they fit best. Dogs must go through this approval process to make sure that everyone has a great time on the hike and that the pups who are more interested in the smells at every corner don’t slow down the speedsters who want to crack their previous distance record.

On the hikes with our trained Pack Hike Leaders, the dogs get to explore a variety of trails depending on the day, and always on-leash. Each trail offers its different scents, sounds, and sights. This increased stimulation is beneficial for your dog’s mental and physical well-being. Instead of seeing the same things day after day at the route near your home, dogs on hikes get to explore a treasury of experiences that a forest has to offer. Over here are deer smells! Over there is an owl hooting! There are so many rocks and plants to sniff!

Currently, we have morning (7-noon) and afternoon (12-5) pack hikes three days a week, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. This means that while you’re stuck at the office, your dog is having the time of their life roaming the forest with a pack of friends. You might not be able to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air from your desk, but your dog will be savoring that fresh forest oxygen and can tell you all about it after work.

Bella the labradoodle kisses our award winning Portland pet sitter and pack leader Alex on the face in his car as they're getting ready to drive home after a fun pack hike adventure

This is the only service we offer where we take multiple dogs from different families out at one time (unless you’ve signed up for Buddy Walks with a friend). Each pack has a maximum of six members, but the number will vary between packs and days. Normally we love offering specialized individual attention, but spending time with other canines is beneficial, too. Without regular socialization, dogs can become shy and reactive towards others of their own kind. This behavior often leads to further isolation from other dogs, and further behavioral problems that will then have to be addressed by a professional dog trainer. With Pack Club your dog(s) can enjoy the companionship of other pups well-suited to their personalities. While on their adventure, good behavior is rewarded through positive reinforcement training by our Pack Leaders. 

Some important things to remember before applying for Pack Club:

  • We require that dogs be up to date on their vaccinations and on their flea and tick prevention.
  • They need to have a normal, non-extendable, leash and tags on their collars with accurate information.

Even though our Pack Hike Leaders are extremely responsible and excellent pet caretakers, we just want to be prepared as best as we can and for your dog to be as protected as they can.

When the fun hike is said and done and everyone is all tuckered out from the great exercise and sensory experiences, our Pack Leaders give your dogs a towel wipe-down, check them for any little pesky passengers that may have tried to hitch a ride, make sure everyone is hydrated, and then load the gang up and take everyone home where they’ll probably be sleeping and dreaming of the fun they had on their hike until you come back home from work.

If you want to apply to get your pup accepted into Pack Club, just email us with your interest or give us a call! We still have a few spaces available and would love for your pup to join in on the fun. Three dogs go on a hike out in a field leading to a forest in the distance with their pack leader

Living in the Portland metro area, dogs that love playing outside are usually limited to backyards or fenced-in parks. While the off-leash parks in Portland and the suburbs are usually pretty great, Portland has one huge secret paradise for dogs that is absolutely incredible; the Sandy River Delta Park.

Sandy River Delta Park is open year-round and is the doggie equivalent to Disney World. It’s a massive, thousand-acre park where dogs are allowed to roam free (except for the parking lot and the Confluence Trail), and us humans can get in a lovely, easy, walk. People also bring their horses here, so if you’ve ever wanted to let Buster see a horse in real life there’s a pretty good chance of that here!

The park encompasses a large forest section, grassland area and, of course, the Sandy River section. It is seldom busy (even on summer weekends) and there is always plenty of parking available. If you’re considering taking your dog to a beach, Sandy River is a wonderful alternative to ocean beach. It’s safer, has shaded areas, and tends to have fewer small children present. The water is also shallow and lazy, making it fairly easy to grab toys that drop in on accident.

Later in the summer there are ample blackberries to pick–who loves pie?!  Aside from foxtail seeds and the extremely rare sea lion, this is a very safe place to go spend a warm summer day.

Note of Caution: Dogs must be on-leash on the Confluence Trail–there’s a $100 fine if you are caught without your dog on a leash. If you’re looking for an off-leash friendly option, try the The Meadow Trail.

Recommendations for when you go:

  • Bring something to carry your full doggie bags with you, trashcans are few and far between and often overflowing.
  • Bring a towel to wipe off sand or mud (for the car)–double use as a place to sit on the riverbank.
  • Bug repellant is especially helpful in late Summer/Fall.
  • In warmer months remember to wear sunscreen and put a little sunscreen on your dog’s nose too!
  • When grasses are going to seed bring something to cover your dog’s nose and ears so that they don’t breathe in the harmful seeds called foxtails. These can get lodged in a dog’s lungs, nose, or ears and later require vet attention. The OutFox Field Guard is the best solution I’ve seen so far, but any other product or DIY suggestions are welcome!

If you do head out to the Sandy River Delta Park, send some pictures. If you have other favorite parks in the area, we’d love to hear about them too!

Have fun!