Dog Pack Hikes

Colin West and his Colin's Pack dog hiking group on a back-mountain trail.

We run pack hikes every Monday-Friday Morning, and Tuesday and Thursday Afternoon.  $36 per hike. Hikes usually last about  1 hour & 15 minutes. Total time away from home is usually 2-5 hours, depending on location. We pick up from Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, and Venice.

Prices:

  • $36 per hike, pick-up and drop-off included

  • $26 for each additional dog per household


Useful Information:

Pack Hike Length:

Our hikes are 1 – 1.5 hours (usually about one hour and fifteen minutes, with the amount of traveling time determined by the dogs’ energy level).  The total process of pick-up to drop-off  will take approximately 2-6 hours depending on where you live.

Pick-Up and Drop-off:

We pick-up and drop-off from the owner’s home.  We pick up dogs in whatever way is easiest for the owner.  The majority of owners give us a key for use when they are not home, but any way which allows us to pick up the dog without disruption works.

Our Process of Adding a New Dog:

Once you give us a call or email, we will answer any questions, and set up a time to come and meet your dog.  Before introducing a new dog to a pack, we will first meet and walk your dog, and introduce him to one or two other dogs from the pack that he will be hiking with.  This will take about 30 minutes.  Once your dog sees that we can control him on a walk, and can control the other dogs, he will begin to trust and respect us from day one.  He is then ready to start hiking with his new pack.

How Should I Determine My Dog’s Schedule:

Generally, we prefer if the owner will tell us how many days a week they would like their dog to hike, and we will then recommend their dog a schedule based on his energy level and personality.  Placing dogs in certain packs allows us to create balanced packs that have the right mix of dominant and submissive dogs, experienced adult dogs and puppies that need guidance, etc.  This then allows all dogs to be helping guide each other toward balance and toward becoming well-adjusted and social adult dogs.

Holidays and Rainy Weather:

We hike in all weather, and on all holidays.  If we need to cancel a day, we will let you know as far in advance as possible.  This might happen once a year or so.  In rainy weather, we bring towels to dry the dogs off, though they will likely have residual dirt on them after the hike.

What We Do When it’s Hot:

When it’s very hot, we usually travel for about 30 minutes total, and let the dogs rest/explore for about 30-40 minutes in different shady locations.  So, the hike turns into more of just an outing with the pack as opposed to a heavy duty trip.  The car is also air conditioned and ventilated for the ride to and from the hike.  On very hot days, we soak the entire blanket in the van with water, so that it is constantly evaporating and cooling the dogs in addition to the ventilation and air conditioning.

Transportation:

We have a customized cargo van for the dogs.  We turned a Chevy Express Passenger Van into a customized van for the dogs.  The van has air conditioning and heating, a padded floor with a blanket, hooks with cables to attach to dogs’ backpacks, which allows us to have “assigned seating,” vents alongside the van to allow for fresh air to circulate, and an electric vent on the back door of the van to suck the air into the van through the side vents and windows and past the dogs, which gives them all the smells and fresh energy from outside.  With all of the effort we put into getting the dogs in our pack into a good state of mind, we want to make sure that they stay comfortable and happy so they can retain the positive energy that they picked up during the hike.


Colin's Pack - Dog Hiking VanColin's Pack - Dog Hiking Van Photo 3Colin's Pack - Dog Hiking Van Photo 1 Colin's Pack - Dog Hiking Van Photo 2

Will I Ever Get to See Videos or Photos of My Dog?

We will take videos and photos of your dog’s first day to give you an idea of what his pack hikes will be like.  We also add videos and photos of pack hikes to Facebook.com/colinspack for owners to view.

Collar with Tags:

We ask that all dogs wear a collar with tags.  We are always learning about dogs and dog behavior, but there is always a chance of a new dog running away and a collar with tags provides a layer of protection.  If you prefer to leave a collar out, we are happy to put it on before the hike and take if off after.

Garmin GPS Trackers:

We supply Garmin GPS tracking devices to all dogs.  Garmin makes a very effective dog tracking system, designed for hunters and their packs of dogs.  Click the photo and links  below for in depth videos on the devices we use.  We use the Garmin T-5 Tracking Collars, and the Garmin Alpha 100 Handheld, which is the more advanced unit.

Garmin Alpha Dog Tracking System Colin's Pack

Garmin T-5 Tracking System

Garmin Alpha 100 Handheld

Long Range MagMount Antenna for Garmin Alpha 100

Ticks & Fleas, Burs, and Dirt:

Dogs will come into contact with ticks & fleas, burs, and dirt.  The burs are more likely to surface around late Spring through Fall, as the bur bearing plants grow in early spring and have burs ready by late Spring that retain their “sticking ability” through Fall.  Dogs are also especially likely to become more dirty or muddy after it has rained, though there is always a possibility of them rolling in dirt or mud.  If ticks or fleas become a problem, we recommend using a medication of your choice.

Ruffwear Dog Backpacks:

We provide dog backpacks for higher energy dogs.  We use 1 liter water bottles for weight, and determine the weight  depending on their size and energy level.  This allows us to let them more quickly drain their excess energy, as well as provide water for our water breaks.  Because water also has the ability to absorb a large amount of heat, the water bottles help to keep the dog cooler when compares with other options.  We use Ruffwear’s Approach Pack.

Ruffwear Dog Backpack

Areas Covered:

We cover from Pacific Palisades to the Northern part of Marina Del Rey, and from the ocean to Bundy Dr./Centinella Ave.  We do not go south of Santa Monica on Tuesday or Thursday Mornings.  We cover as far south as Marina Del Rey on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and as far south as North Venice on Tuesday and Thursday Afternoons.

Business Insurance:

We are insured by Pet Sitters Associates.

Dogs with Current Problem Behaviors:

It is always best to get a new dog into the pack before a problem behavior escalates.  Though we can accept dogs with problem behaviors, is much easier to prevent a serious problem behavior than to rehabilitate one.  Most problem behaviors come from a dog not being raised in a natural pack setting, where they would learn how to behave and socialize properly from the older dogs.  Our packs are places where dogs can get the leadership and socialization skills that they would have received naturally by living in the wild.

A healthy pack setting helps ALL dogs to become more balanced, regardless of whether or not they have had a problem behavior in the past.  Owners that are willing to make changes in their daily habits and work with us to help their dog will also see much more positive and lasting results.  Once the dogs in our pack that used to have issues become balanced, they are then in a position to help new dogs learn to become balanced, and so the cycle of positive change continues.

Cancelation:

Canceling a hike is not a problem and can be done up until as close as 30 minutes before we would usually pick your dog up.

Payment:

We accept Cash, Check, or Google Wallet, and bill every 2 weeks or 4 weeks.  We will send an email invoice the day before your payment is due if you are paying with cash or a check, and on the day it is due if you are paying with Google Wallet.

Pack Hike Schedule:

Colin's Pack Dog Hiking Schedule

*These are approximate times.  Pick up times will vary.  Please have your dog’s schedule open to allow for fluctuations.

Contact Button 3 - Colin's Pack

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