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Discussion Starter #1
This is absolutely going to be my second-largest non-negotiable new puppy expense, right after Laurel's Spay surgery, and I don't care how long it takes me to pay off my credit card bill.

Laurel is my hiking buddy so she needs one or the other ASAP and both of them are very big ticket items. I've used the search feature and would still appreciate a real time (ish) conversation with someone who has lived experience if any hikers still check in.

This is for a Chi/Minpin backcross who weighs 5.3 lbs at six months and practically lives on the trail. I'm more concerned about birds and domestic dogs than coyotes as far as day hikes are concerned, but we will most likely be doing some camping when the weather warms up.

TIA
 

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Hi. I'm probably gonna irritate you, but please keep a long leash on your puppy. I know that lots of people hike with their dogs off leash, but gobs of stuff could happen if he is off leash. Birds of prey, poison, other animals--coyotes, bear, snakes, etc. Off leash you CANNOT help him. Period. Go to a good hardware store and buy a 50 foot piece of rope, and have them help you attach a small hook ( I am having a brain block on the name!) that you can attach to a harness. Tell them that he is a tiny dog, and to make the rope, and hook for his weight. I assume that he is walking in a harness? Collars can catch of branches etc. Good luck
 

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Hi. I'm probably gonna irritate you, but please keep a long leash on your puppy.
No, you don't irritate me one bit, I just hope I don't scare you.

cringe >

I'm currently just using a 6' European-style Lead that can be hands-free (it has a clasp on both ends and can be hooked to my belt buckle or backpack) and only able to practice off lead work at the dog park right now.

I thought it was too muddy to start using a long line but a piece of rope from the hardware store isn't going to be too precious to toss or just leave in the car. Great idea!

I still need the body armour if we go much longer than 6 feet, though; younger and more experienced small dog owners might not, but I do.

It's a major investment for my personal economic circumstances but worth every penny if it saves her life.
 

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You could ask the hardware personel to help you fit both ends of the 'rope leash' with fasteners--hook one end to you and the other to the dog>???
 

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Have you made a purchase yet?
I do a lot of backpacking and hiking with my little one. She’s twice the size of Laurel though, she’s an 8-9 pounder. I’m in N Wyoming, and the biggest threat I’ve found isn’t the coyotes, the eagles or hawks. It’s the dang rattlesnakes and lions.
I purchased a vest and spike collar and found them to be inadequate. And talk about a pain in the butt to hike in brush with!!! My Pie Pie would plop her butt down and just sit waiting for rescue after getting all tangled up in brush and briar wearing her vest while hiking.
The vests offer no snake protection, that you have to train into them. And wholly inadequate for lions. I don’t know what the answer is for lions, other than hyper vigilance.
I wouldn’t spend the money again on a vest, unless I had a ton of coyotes around that for sure went after dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks bunches, Sunshine_icicles. You probably saved me a lot of money I don't have to spare.

We have lions here too. I've encountered them with my youngest human child. Laurel isn't going to get any bigger, unfortunately. I wouldn't have raised her the way I did if I hadn't expected her to be closer to Pie Pie's size.

Life is what it is so I hired a top of the line trainer for now. Laurel is wearing an el cheapo but thick spike collar and the car is getting some minor work done so that we can use it as a "micro RV" for glamping or at least a safeish place to sleep.
 
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