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Her Hikeness by Mona - Her Hikeness - 10M ago

Okay, let me start off by telling you why we moved our plans around from going to Oberstdorf to Slovenia for our honeymoon. We have been to Oberstdorf for 2 times in the past year (read about it here, and here) and we absolutely love it there. Two weeks before every trip we make I begin to check the weather forecast daily. It was clear that Oberstdorf wasn’t such a good idea based on the weather forecast. I also had this gut feeling that it was better to visit a new place, somewhere we hadn’t been yet. But where to go?

We used a random destination picker and it landed on Bled in Slovenia. Slovenia??? I didn’t even know where it was. We were intrigued by the photos and the information the destination picker gave us, so it was time for some more digging.

What is there to know about Slovenia?

Slovenia is a really small country with only 20.273 km² to it’s name and a population of something more than 2.000.000 people. In comparison with the Netherlands (where we’re from) this tells us there must be loads of nature. If you do some digging, you’ll find that’s completely true! Slovenia seems to have it all. In the north you’ll find the Julian Alps, lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. If you go a little more south you’ll find yourself stunned by the blue Soca river and the Tolmin Gorge. Go a little more south and the whole landscape starts to change to a more french like wine field type of landscape. And at the bottem/coast side you’ll find yourself in Italy! Well, sort of. It did remind us of it so much!

Staying at lake Bohinj

We decided on a campsite at lake Bohinj. We arrived late in the evening. I’d been behind the wheel for 19 hours (breaks included!) and I was feeling tired as hell. We parked Betsie on a free spot and turned in for the night. In the morning there was just a little bit of fog between the mountains just above the lake. It was mesmerizing! A lot of people only stay one night at this campsite before heading further on their travels. This gave us the opportunity to pick the best spot, which we did! We had a huge spot all to ourselves with just 3 meters between our tent and the lake with a brilliant view! We couldn’t be happier. The campsite was lovely and so was the owner.

Hiking near mount Vogel

On the first day we hiked near mount Vogel. We had amazing views but the mountain kicked our asses. We didn’t reach the summit and the really steep trails where heavily loaded with little rocks. It was quite a dangerous trail to be honest. Even being as careful as we could, I managed to fall down quite hard. Luckily I only bruised my ass a bit so it could’ve been worse haha. We did an 8 hour hike and we only saw 2 people the entire day. That’s peace and quiet for ya!

Visiting the Tolmin Gorge and the Soca river

On the third day we visited the Tolmin Gorge. After having been in the Breitachclamm we really enjoy watching the water from the mountains rushing trough tiny gorges. It’s amazing how beautiful nature can be! It did remind us a lot of the Breitachclamm, the only difference is that the water of the Tolmin Gorge is definitely more blue. You can do a nice hike there that’ll take about an hour or so.

After visiting the Tolmin Gorge we drove a little further to the Napoleon bridge in Kobarid where we hiked along the Soca river to the Kozjak waterfall and back to the bridge. This hike is amazingly beautiful and is something you can do with your whole family. We drove back to the campsite by taking a big detour, crossing the border to Italy and again back to Slovenia passing Bled back to Ukanc. We can highly recommend taking that route if you’re ever in that area. The sights are amazing!

From pure nature, peace and quiet to little Italy… Piran

We are definitely not ‘stay at a coast hotel, sunbathing and stroll down the boulevard’ kind of travelers… We know that now for sure. The weather got really bad and we were advised to go to Piran. With only a 2,5 hour drive from our campsite it was a really doable day trip. As we were driving the scenery changed from heavily thick forest and huge mountains to little hills with wine fields on top of them to a little Tuscan like landscape. We arrived in Piran and it was beautiful. We did a little strolling on the boulevard, had some lunch and ice cream, strolled a little more… got bored and drove back home. Zara definitely didn’t like the traffic and all the people. We were happy to arrive back in Triglav national park where there wasn’t any loud noise. We did hear some wolves crying however, how cool is that?

A walk to the Savica waterfall

In the evening the weather forecast for the next day looked amazing! I was so happy to be finally going up the mountains again. And then the weather turned on us again in the morning… We had plans to go up the mountains in Triglav national park to see mount Triglav a little bit closer. But with thunderstorms on the horizon this isn’t a responsible choice. We decided to walk to the Savica waterfall and pack up our things when we’d be back at the campsite. The waterfall was stunning and so worth all the stairs you have to take before arriving there! We were lucky to be back before all the touring cars arrived! If you want to visit the Savica waterfall, make sure to visit as early as you can!

Bye Slovenia

We checked out at the campsite, drove back to Oberstdorf for another hiking day, drove to the Black forest the next day for another hiking day and arrived back home late in the evening. It was an amazing holiday and we’ll definitely visit Slovenia again. What a lovely country, with lovely people, so inexpensive and great for dogs. We absolutely FEEL sLOVEnia!

The post Slovenia, an amazing outdoor destination appeared first on Her Hikeness.

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Her Hikeness by Mona - Her Hikeness - 10M ago

So when I say I started hiking in 2016, I would be lying just a tiny bit. The first time I really went hiking was years before that and not planned at all. I went hiking in Rurberg around the Obersee. It was near to where I lived back then and it was a beautiful and warm day. I really wanted to go for a walk. It turned into an unplanned 16 km hike. I did have a great time, even when my whole body was sore.

Hiking in Rurberg, back to where it all started

So last year we decided to go on a weekend getaway. We didn’t know where we should go, so I came up with the idea to (re)visit Rurberg. I showed my husband a couple of pictures from the area and he was sold. We packed our bags, I checked the weather forecast and downloaded the maps for a hike around the Rursee and Obersee.

We had some trouble finding the campsite, but after a while we paid for our pitch and put up our tent. It was still early in the camping season so it was pretty darn cold and we decided to go to bed early.

Around the Rursee

So having hiked around the Obersee already I decided it was best to start with hiking around the Rursee. It was our first long distance hike, setting our new record to 27 km on one day. I tweaked the route a bit so we would go over a steep hill and through the forest. Soon after we started we found out just how steep that hill was. I think I’ve died several times there. No but seriously, that was one steep hill!

After we took a break to catch our breath we hiked through the beautiful forest and watched the beautiful lake below before going downhill back to the trails that led us around the lake.

After 20 km I became really tired and sore. It was clear to us that 27 km in one day was still a bit difficult for us as we’d been hiking for about 6 months and didn’t go that often yet. Still it was nice to do and to learn about our own capabilities. We still managed to finish the last 7 km smiling and proud. The weather was perfect and the forest, lake and hills couldn’t have been more beautiful.

Take a break, take a kayak?

No… just no! Never ever again (never say never?) will I rent a kayak and paddle around with it on a cold, rushing lake. Let’s back it up a bit. So we both were completely sore and tired from our long hike the day before. We really wanted to hike around the Obersee on our second day in Rurberg, but we decided to save that for a next time and rent a kayak instead.

So we went to the place we came across the day before and asked for a kayak. The lady warned us about the wind. It was very strong that day and we had to paddle like a madman. We went anyway… headstrong much? So we paddled like a crazy madman and woman. It wasn’t fun at all (but we still managed to smile for a photo, yay!). I was scared to tip over in the ice cold water due to all the waves. After have tried to have fun for way to long we decided to paddle back and return the kayak. Both my husband and I decided we weren’t meant for water. Well, at least we know that now.

So we will visit Rurberg again to hike around the Obersee. I think there’s a very good chance that will be somewhere this year. This time we’ll stay clear from water, brrrrr.

Have you ever been to Rurberg? And what are your thoughts on water?

The post Hiking in Rurberg, around the Rursee appeared first on Her Hikeness.

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Her Hikeness by Mona - Her Hikeness - 10M ago

The Mullerthal Trail is a trail of 112 km in Luxembourg. It’s called Little Switzerland due to the surrounding nature and rock formations you’ll encounter on the trail.

A little bit of Switzerland close to home

If we go for a little weekend getaway with lots of hiking involved we often go for the Mullerthal trail in Luxembourg. We absolutely love it there. The rock formations are breathtaking and the trails are often not crowded at all. The Mullerthal trail is a trail divided in 3 loops of 2 sections each, about 20 km each section. If you’re still not done with the great surroundings you can always choose to do the 4 extra tours. It’s heavily surrounded by patches of forest and you’ll find yourself thinking you might me just out in the wildernis, which of course is just an illusion if you study the map. But it’s great nonetheless to get that feeling whenever your hiking.

I can’t believe you could get lost

You can (and should) bring a map or GPS with you, just to be sure. But we’ve never been on a trail that is this closely marked as the Mullerthal trail. I didn’t even have time to think to look at te map before I spotted the next mark of where we should go. The trail marks are just about everywhere you look, trees, fences, rocks, signposts… everywhere! On crossroads you’ll find a signpost with lots of information and directions on them and every now and then you’ll find a huge information board with a giant map on it.

Climbing paradise

If we’re not there to hike we like to bring out a crash pad for bouldering. In Berdorf you can find some great boulders to do some outdoor climbing. Which is absolutely more fun than doing it in a indoor climbing hall! Just imagine enjoying some great moves while hearing the birds sing just about everywhere.

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Her Hikeness by Mona - Her Hikeness - 10M ago

Oberstdorf is by far the nearest place to go to if I want to be surrounded with some proper mountains. We’re hiking in Oberstdorf as much as we can and we just simply love it there. Here’s why…

Not at all flooded by tourism

Oberstdorf is a small town with not a lot of places to go to seeing it is surrounded by mountains. It has some stores (to do your groceries or buy some outdoor gear), a station, some cable cars and loads and loads of great trails! You can choose between hotels, 2 campsites, some holiday cottages and well, that’s basically it. Apart from the mountain huts of course. There’s just not much to it and there is definitely no need for that! The mountains speak for themselves and the peace and quiet you’ll find there is just amazing on it’s own.

About those trails…

There’s just a trail for everyone. There are family friendly trails, more moderate trails, mountain trails and climbing spots. With over 200 km of trails it’s like a little hiker heaven. Don’t like hiking? There are some great trails for mountain biking and trail running too! Up till now we hiked the Piesenkopf (1588 m),  we went to the Breitachklamm and did a 4 km hike trough and around it, we hiked a lovely trail in the wild romantic Oytal, we hiked around Rohrmoos and managed to get to the Hahnenkopf summit (1735 m) and safely back down just before it got too dark to see just about anything. We hope to add a lot more trails to this list in the near future.

Water and winter sport

If you like to do some other activities in Oberstdorf you should definitely check out the water if you like some white water kayaking. Or come back in the winter and get yourself in a cable car to the top of the Nebelhorn for some proper skiing and snowboarding.

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So is more expensive always better? I’ve bought the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor and Quechua FH500 Helium trailrunning shoes and brought them with me to Slovenia to test them both. Which trailrunners do I prefer? This is my full and honest review.

Trailrunners for hiking

So lets start off with telling you why I switched from hiking boots to trailrunners. I loved my Salomon hiking boots and I still have them in case I need them. I follow some American thru hikers on social media who are doing the AT, PCT and CDT and something they all have in common is that they switched to trailrunners. I was wondering why and did some digging. Some of the plus sides of hiking in trailrunners are:

  • The weight of the shoes: They can be 50% lighter (or even more) than your average hiking boot.
  • They aren’t waterproof: So that means they are more breathable which is also a big plus. And to be honest, whenever I did a water crossing with my Salomons they filled up with water through the top of the boot and they won’t dry overnight like a trailrunner would!
  • They let your ankle do what it must do: No it won’t give you ankle support. They will let your ankle be free to move so your knees won’t have to take all the pressure. I’m not schooled on this topic, it’s just what I’ve heard and read during my research… But I did a lot of hiking in my trailrunners and so far my knees don’t hurt as much as they did when I was wearing high boots! So it seems to work, a lot!

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor

Let’s start of with my first trailrunners, the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor. I bought them for €159,95 which I think is kind of expensive. We’ve tried several brands (including the Altra trailrunners) but both my husband and I liked these ones the best. My feet feel really secure but also have a lot of space in the toe box which they should. The grip of the shoe is really nice and I feel secure on all types of terrain, even muddy, wet and slippery ones. They are comfy, but stiff enough to guard you from rocks and other sharp stuff sticking into your soles. The best thing about the raptors is the protecting piece on the nose of the shoes. I am a bit clumsy from time to time and I like to kick and trip over rocks a lot. Oops. I haven’t felt anything yet due to the protected nose.

Quechua FH500 Helium

I’ve bought the Quechua FH500 Helium shoes for work and as an extra pair of hiking shoes when my Raptors are being cleaned. They have a price tag of only €59,99 which is almost €100,- cheaper than my Raptors… yikes!

Even when they are that much cheaper I really enjoy them! They are really comfortable and they look nice. The soles are a little bit more flexible and a little bit less protected against rocks and sharp stuff but nevertheless they do protect you well enough. The grip is good, but not as good as the grip of the Raptors. I feel less secure going over muddy and slippery trails in them, but still good enough! The FH500 Helium shoes also give you protection against kicking against rocks, so that’s really nice. I did a water crossing in them and they were dry and good to go within a few hours of drying. That’s more than I can say about my old waterproof Salomons! They also have nice laces which you don’t have to tie, and I enjoy that a lot. You can slip them on and off super fast.

Which one do I prefer?

It’s so darn hard to choose! I love love love my FH500 Heliums… I wear them most. If they’d had the grip of the Raptors they’d definitely win! I think they are prettier, they are so darn comfortable and the price tag is just awesome. But do to the big difference in grip compared to the Raptors… it’s a tie. Is the extra grip worth the extra €100,-? No… definitely not. I think the Raptors are a bit overpriced in comparison, but still… they are great shoes! They both are. So in conclusion… If you have a smaller budget, buy the Quechua FH500 Helium, if you like to be more secure and you don’t care about the price tag, buy the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor.

The post Which trailrunners do I prefer? La Sportiva Ultra Raptor versus Quechua FH500 Helium appeared first on Her Hikeness.

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Her Hikeness by Mona - Her Hikeness - 1y ago

Okay, let me start off by telling you why we moved our plans around from going to Oberstdorf to Slovenia for our honeymoon. We have been to Oberstdorf for 2 times in the past year (read about it here, and here) and we absolutely love it there. Two weeks before every trip we make I begin to check the weather forecast daily. It was clear that Oberstdorf wasn’t such a good idea based on the weather forecast. I also had this gut feeling that it was better to visit a new place, somewhere we hadn’t been yet. But where to go?

We used a random destination picker and it landed on Bled in Slovenia. Slovenia??? I didn’t even know where it was. We were intrigued by the photos and the information the destination picker gave us, so it was time for some more digging.

What is there to know about Slovenia?

Slovenia is a really small country with only 20.273 km² to it’s name and a population of something more than 2.000.000 people. In comparison with the Netherlands (where we’re from) this tells us there must be loads of nature. If you do some digging, you’ll find that’s completely true! Slovenia seems to have it all. In the north you’ll find the Julian Alps, lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. If you go a little more south you’ll find yourself stunned by the blue Soca river and the Tolmin Gorge. Go a little more south and the whole landscape starts to change to a more french like wine field type of landscape. And at the bottem/coast side you’ll find yourself in Italy! Well, sort of. It did remind us of it so much!

Staying at lake Bohinj

We decided on a campsite at lake Bohinj. We arrived late in the evening. I’d been behind the wheel for 19 hours (breaks included!) and I was feeling tired as hell. We parked Betsie on a free spot and turned in for the night. In the morning there was just a little bit of fog between the mountains just above the lake. It was mesmerizing! A lot of people only stay one night at this campsite before heading further on their travels. This gave us the opportunity to pick the best spot, which we did! We had a huge spot all to ourselves with just 3 meters between our tent and the lake with a brilliant view! We couldn’t be happier. The campsite was lovely and so was the owner.

Hiking near mount Vogel

On the first day we hiked near mount Vogel. We had amazing views but the mountain kicked our asses. We didn’t reach the summit and the really steep trails where heavily loaded with little rocks. It was quite a dangerous trail to be honest. Even being as careful as we could, I managed to fall down quite hard. Luckily I only bruised my ass a bit so it could’ve been worse haha. We did an 8 hour hike and we only saw 2 people the entire day. That’s peace and quiet for ya!

Visiting the Tolmin Gorge and the Soca river

On the third day we visited the Tolmin Gorge. After having been in the Breitachclamm we really enjoy watching the water from the mountains rushing trough tiny gorges. It’s amazing how beautiful nature can be! It did remind us a lot of the Breitachclamm, the only difference is that the water of the Tolmin Gorge is definitely more blue. You can do a nice hike there that’ll take about an hour or so.

After visiting the Tolmin Gorge we drove a little further to the Napoleon bridge in Kobarid where we hiked along the Soca river to the Kozjak waterfall and back to the bridge. This hike is amazingly beautiful and is something you can do with your whole family. We drove back to the campsite by taking a big detour, crossing the border to Italy and again back to Slovenia passing Bled back to Ukanc. We can highly recommend taking that route if you’re ever in that area. The sights are amazing!

From pure nature, peace and quiet to little Italy… Piran

We are definitely not ‘stay at a coast hotel, sunbathing and stroll down the boulevard’ kind of travelers… We know that now for sure. The weather got really bad and we were advised to go to Piran. With only a 2,5 hour drive from our campsite it was a really doable day trip. As we were driving the scenery changed from heavily thick forest and huge mountains to little hills with wine fields on top of them to a little Tuscan like landscape. We arrived in Piran and it was beautiful. We did a little strolling on the boulevard, had some lunch and ice cream, strolled a little more… got bored and drove back home. Zara definitely didn’t like the traffic and all the people. We were happy to arrive back in Triglav national park where there wasn’t any loud noise. We did hear some wolves crying however, how cool is that?

A walk to the Savica waterfall

In the evening the weather forecast for the next day looked amazing! I was so happy to be finally going up the mountains again. And then the weather turned on us again in the morning… We had plans to go up the mountains in Triglav national park to see mount Triglav a little bit closer. But with thunderstorms on the horizon this isn’t a responsible choice. We decided to walk to the Savica waterfall and pack up our things when we’d be back at the campsite. The waterfall was stunning and so worth all the stairs you have to take before arriving there! We were lucky to be back before all the touring cars arrived! If you want to visit the Savica waterfall, make sure to visit as early as you can!

Bye Slovenia

We checked out at the campsite, drove back to Oberstdorf for another hiking day, drove to the Black forest the next day for another hiking day and arrived back home late in the evening. It was an amazing holiday and we’ll definitely visit Slovenia again. What a lovely country, with lovely people, so inexpensive and great for dogs. We absolutely FEEL sLOVEnia!

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Her Hikeness by Mona - Her Hikeness - 1y ago

As I’ve mentioned in my top 5 hiking gear and gadgets of 2017, I really love my Jetboil Cooker Flash! I would really like to give you my honest review and tell you why you should bring it on your next hiking trip.

Marvelous and highly practical design

Let’s start off with the design of the Jetboil! It’s small, it hardly weighs anything and everything fits into the cooker perfectly. The cooker is wrapped in neoprene so you can touch it without burning yourself, even when it’s still cooking. You can drink out of the cooker, with or without the lid. You don’t have to bring a lighter because it’s already built in. Though I highly recommend bringing a spare one with you wherever you go. There’s also a measuring cup that protects the burner part when not in use and there’s a stand for your gas bottle so your cooker is really steady wherever you go. There’s a heat indicator on the side in the shape of a flame. It’ll turn orange when your water is boiling.

Simply put, it’s a highly practical and lovely design!

Great capacity and fast

Next to it’s great design and overall functions, I adore the capacity of 1 liter! We can boil enough water for 2 meals in one go, and some more after that for a nice cuppa while we’re waiting for our meals to be done. It’s really fast as well. It’ll take about 1 minute to boil 500 ml of water.

Value for money

So I hesitated a lot before buying our Jetboil, mainly because of the price. I didn’t know it was worth the money, but after watching some videos about it I was sure of my decision and bought it. I never dreaded that decision and I absolutely won’t go on any day hikes without it anymore. Why go without a hot meal and a nice cuppa when you don’t have to?

The Jetboil Flash Cooking System - YouTube
So what do you think of this cooker system? What kind of cooker/burner do you use and why?

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So I’ve written a blog about adopting a stray dog already, but there might be a lot of things you’ll have to do and consider before you can take him or her with you on your outdoor adventures. Some stray and/or rescue dogs aren’t socialized as well as they should be. Some rescue dogs have been in shelters for a long time and won’t be used to walking on a leash, or walking long(er) distances at all. So considering all that, this is how I’ve turned my rescue dog into a hiking dog…

Get to know your dog and give him or her time to adjust

In case you’ve adopted a pup, it won’t be a long or difficult process. They are able to adjust pretty fast. But in case you’ll adopt an older dog it might take a long time before your dog feels really secure and at ease with you. Especially when he or she is from abroad. Give your dog all the time he or she needs. This might take a few weeks, but it might also take months or even a year to feel really at home.

Be familiar with the challenges of your dog and practice with them

When you know your dog, you will be able to tell what is challenging for your dog. For Zara that’ll be traffic, unfamiliar people/dogs and crowded places. When we have people over we make sure she has a place to retire to and I make sure to always be right next to her. Even if I have to sit on the ground, I’m always by her side because it relaxes her. We also ask everyone to give her space.

To practice with unfamiliar dogs we visit dog parks from time to time. I love the fact that the dogs are allowed to be off leash there. Zara can choose whether she wants to get to know other dogs or just walk away. It really helps her getting more confident. I know this won’t be the case for all dogs, so again… get to know your dog.

We live in a really small town with just a handful of cars, bikes and people passing when we walk Zara. This way she gets her everyday practice with traffic. We will be practicing traveling with public transportation in the future as we see this as a basic skill she has to have. As for crowded places… I really hate crowded places, so we just skip them.

Hiking commands for your dog

So after you’ve taken your time to get to know your dog (and vice-versa) and practiced getting over his or her challenges you are ready for some proper hiking!

Let’s start with a list of commands (and explanations) I find really helpful while hiking. She knows a lot more, but these are the commands I really find essential:

  • Sit – I think this speaks for itself.
  • Lay down – Again… and also nice when you’re taking a break.
  • Stay – It’s really important your dog knows to stay at his or her place. Think about waiting at a street crossing or if you just want to take a picture… there are many reasons why you would want your dog to stay right there, so make sure your dog knows this command.
  • Come here – Sometimes it’s better to let your dog walk off leash, but make sure your dog will come back immediately if you call to prevent accidents and such.
  • Go ahead – When we’re hiking Zara likes to walk in front of us. On some (mountain) trails my husband goes at the front, Zara following him and I’ll be behind her. Sometimes she stops to see if I’m following when I’m catching my breath. It’s nice to be able to tell her to go ahead so I wont stumble over her when I’m picking up my pace.
  • Up – We love our mountain trails, but sometimes you really have to climb! Zara is a marvelous jumper, but she waits (most of the time) for us to tell her it’s okay. If I say ‘Up’ she jumps on anything you’re pointing to, including yourself haha.
  • No – I don’t want Zara to go to the edge of a cliff and I also don’t want het to eat anything that we didn’t give her. So ‘no’ means ‘don’t you even dare!’ and she knows it.
  • Knowing his or her name – If I wan’t Zara to come back to me I usually just call out her name. It’s just the most effortless way to call your dog I guess. Though as mentioned before, ‘come here’ is important to have as well. Sometimes when I call Zara, she just looks at me like ‘Yeah?’ so in that case I’ll just follow up with ‘come’ or ‘come here’.
Hiking skills for your dog

Next to knowing essential commands and walking off leash, it would be nice if your dog is able to walk at a fixed spot (at your side and in front or behind you). Some trails are really wide and wherever your dog likes to walk would be just fine. But if you’re on a trail that’s really narrow, you won’t like it when your dog is only used walking right next to you. Try taking breaks when hiking too, so your dog gets used to taking a break and drinking and/or eating something just about anywhere.

As it comes to gaining some hiking stamina we practiced with 30 minute walks at first. After a while we took her on 1 hour hikes, increasing the hikes every once in a while with 30 minutes and so on.

Practice makes perfect they say, so practice (and praise!) a lot. When it comes to training my dog I always use positive reinforcement (clickertraining) seeing as it’s so effective and fun.

Camping with your dog

I will be writing about how we got Zara used to camping in the future, so stay tuned!

The post How to turn your rescue dog into a hiking dog appeared first on Her Hikeness.

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