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, and Saturday Afternoon. Hikes usually last about  1 hour & 10 minutes. Total time away from home is usually 3-5 hours, depending on location. We pick up from Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, and Venice.

Prices:

  • $40 per hike, pick-up and drop-off included

  • $29 for each additional dog per household

Click here to enter the information needed to schedule a phone call or introduction:

Colin's Pack-Get Started Dog Hiking

Useful Information:

Pack Hike Length:

Our hikes are usually 1 – 1.5 hours (usually about one hour and ten minutes, with the amount of traveling time determined by the pack’s energy level/mood that day.) The colder the day, the faster the we generally move, with some rainy day hikes being closer to 55 minutes. Our goal is to get the dogs that fulfilled feeling, where they are thinking more about getting back to the van and their comfort zone because they feel they’ve had enough for the day.  On warm/lazy days, this may mean we hang out and soak up the scenery for closer to an hour and 30 minutes.

The total process of pick-up to drop-off  will usually take approximately 3-6 hours depending on where you live, (closer to Malibu = less driving time).

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 usually takes about 15-30 minutes.  Once your dog sees that we can protect him and have power in front of other dogs, we can begin to earn the trust/respect we will need for him to follow us on the hikes.  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 certain packs based on their dog’s 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 still have some residual dirt on them after the hike.

What We Do When It’s Hot:

When it’s very hot, we usually travel minimally on the hike, and let the dogs hang out and rest in 1-3 shady locations, like kids on lazy summer days.   The van is also air-conditioned, heavily insulated, and well ventilated (when we deem ventilation the best option).  We may also soak the blanket in the van with water, and turn the rear electric vent on, so that it is constantly evaporating and cooling the dogs in addition to the air conditioning for the front.  We keep an eye on dogs that are prone to being overheated and keep their coats wet to make staying cool a bit easier for them. Heatstroke is something we take very seriously. Here is a useful article on that for those who are interested:

Colin’s Pack-Heatstroke Article

Transportation:

We have a customized cargo van for the dogs.  The van is heavily insulated, has air conditioning and heating, a slip-proof floor with a blanket, 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 past the dogs, which allows them to have “window seats”, and gives them all the smells and fresh energy from outside.

Colin's Pack-Dog Walking Van

Colin's Pack Van

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.

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 regularly add videos and photos of pack hikes to our Facebook Page for owners to view.

Collar with Tags:

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. These have been a fantastic insurance policy and anxiety reducer.

As an added layer of protection, we ask that owners provide a collar with tags. Having a pet tracking device of your own is also a great option, and we find that many of our clients like the brand Whistle.

Garmin Alpha Dog Tracking System Colin's Pack

Garmin Astro 430 Tracking System

Long Range MagMount Antenna for Garmin Astro 430

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 late winter-early spring and have burs ready by mid-late Spring that often retain their “sticking ability” through Fall.  Foxtails can be more of a problem for dogs like Golden-doodles, German Shepherds, and other dogs with coats/undercoats that let the foxtails get a stronghold.  We recommend that owners check their dogs thoroughly, especially between the toes, during high foxtail seasons.  Here is an article on the potential dangers of foxtails:

Foxtail Article.

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.  We find that ticks are especially prevalent after rains.

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 higher energy dogs tire out more quickly than usual, so that they are equally drained by the end of the hike as lower energy dogs.  Because water also has the ability to absorb a large amount of heat, the water bottles are a great option relative to others.  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:

We often are able to accept dogs that would not be able to socialize in most conditions. For severe cases, where extended rehabilitation is needed, I will generally recommend that the dog get that with Brandon Fouche, someone who I’ve learned so much from and owe a grate debt of gratitude. Often, after a period of rehabilitation in his center, we can bring the dog into a pack and keep him on a maintenance level of socializing. It’s amazing and rewarding to see dogs be able to have the connection again with their own species after years of isolation in some cases. Once a dog has healed and become social, they can even be in a position to help new dogs learn to become balanced, and pay it forward.

Cancelation:

The earlier you can let us know, the better, as it allows us to potentially add another dog that would like to get out. With that being said, cancelling a hike is not a problem.

Payment:

We accept Cash, Check, Venmo, or a direct transfer through our invoicing system–House Call Pro.  We send invoices on the second Saturday of each month, or on a daily basis if you prefer.

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.

Click here to enter the information needed to schedule a phone call or introduction:

Colin's Pack-Get Started Dog Hiking

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