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Hiking with Newfoundlands


Gary M
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Hey Aaron,

I happened to notice you had changed your TrailGroove avatar. I hope your Blue Heeler is OK.

About a month ago I had my Newfoundland Maximus at the vet for his annual checkup. I mentioned that within the past year Maximus had started following me on the trail after the first hour or so. He had always previously lead the way. After the examination, my vet said Maximus is fine, just starting to feel his age. He recommended leaving him at home on longer outings. This is tough for me. One of the great drawbacks of Newfoundlands is they have a shorter life span than smaller breeds.

So I am definitely down about losing Maximus on future hikes. He has been a great trail dog, very well behaved and friendly with everyone. He has been a real joy.

Earlier this year my wife and I fostered and then adopted a Newf/mixed breed puppy that had been abandoned by someone here in the Midwest. Her name is Maya, and I hope to train her as a trail dog over the next several years. The problem is she isn't a full blood Newfoundland, and is really small (she still is a puppy, but you can tell she will not be very big or strong) compared to what I'm used to. I'm used to having a calm and sweet natured Maximus, who is pretty well known in this part of the country by local hikers and backpackers.

My plan is to start taking Maya along with Maximus on short hikes perhaps this fall, and see if she has the temperment and ability required for the trail. Perhaps Maximus can pass on a few tips before easing into a well earned retirement over the next couple of years.

(Maya resting after a walk to a local lake)

Gary M

Olathe,Kansas

post-135-143508714645_thumb.jpg

Edited by Gary M
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Aaron Zagrodnick

Thanks Gary...All is well, just figured it was time for a change! At 11 Layla is definitely getting up there, but she did great on an overnight weekend before last, definitely a good sign. But yeah, I've heard the same from the vet here recently about similar concerns...Just part of getting older. It sounds like you have a pretty good plan with Maya & Maximus...I am sure there are many more adventures to come!

Here's a shot Jen took (While carrying our son, Weston) from that trip a few days ago:

post-3-143508714659_thumb.jpg

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Aaron,

First, great photo; good natural composition shot, fantastic mountain view in the background!

As mentioned, Newfoundlands have shorter life spans (average only about 9 years) due to their size. We prefer smaller Newfies, so they hopefully may live longer. Maximus is about 7, so I'm going to take it easy with him till it cools off this fall.

I'm eager to work with Maya, but she has a very long way to go before being trail ready. First, we'll have to see if she is physically strong enough to handle the challenge of the wilderness. Also, I'm a big advocate of trail ettiquette, so we have a lot of training ahead of us. I don't want my dog(s) ever bothering other hikers or wildlife. Trail time is really special to me, and I want to have others to enjoy the outdoors as much as I do.

I hope other TrailGroove readers have had good experiences with canine companions on the trail. It can be a challenge, but it's certainly worth it with a top quality dog like Maximus. I'll let you know if Maya earns her "trail canine good citizen", it may be a year or so before I'm sure. Until then.......

Good Summer Hiking Everyone, KEEP COOL!!!!!

Gary M

Olathe, Kansas

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Thats a nice avatar photo you've got there Aaron ;-)

I have to tip my hat to the photographer on that one. :D (Thanks!)

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