Dogs that practice trekking have an adventurous spirit, are fearless and are never disheartened by the long hours of walking it takes to reach a peak. We’ve interviewed Alessandro, the adopted daddy of our ambassador, Dexter. Both in love with the mountains, they’re not pretty experienced, which is why we’ve asked them for a few details about their exciting high-altitude adventures. We also asked for useful tips to face a mountain vacation.
Hi, Alessandro, how old is Dexter? What’s his character like? Is he polite? Does he listen to you?
Dexter is three years old. He’s a big boy, in awe of life, always enthusiastic about whatever he does. He’s very exuberant, but pretty balanced. He responds very well to our commands and loves to accompany us in a simple walk in the city as well as in our little adventures.
When did you start taking him with you up to the mountains? When he was a puppy?
We’ve been taking him to the mountains since he was little. He loves the snow, the smell of the woods, the cool creeks, and sometimes he gets curious and goes sniffing away at traces left by wild animals.
How does he behave when he meets other dogs? How about humans?
He’s very lively with other dogs, he always wants to play. Of course, not all dogs love the attention of a big boy weighing 36 kilos. With people he always makes himself very present, thank you, especially when it’s people he’s familiar with.
How many days should one spend in the mountains so that the dog doesn’t get too tired?
That will depend on the dog. Dexter is very good at managing his active and resting times. We usually try to alternate days of excursion and days of semi-rest, with shorter walks, so he doesn’t get too tired. Each walk lasting 6-7 hours is compensated by a day with 2 or 3-hour walks without slopes.
What are the essential items in Dexter’s luggage?
We’re pretty thorough with Dexter’s luggage. The first times we did it, it was a bit more complicated, but now that we’re used to it, packing is a walk in the park. His essential items are:
- A big amount of dog food,
- A foldable water bowl,
- Food bowls,
- His big travel cushion,
- At least two chest harnesses and two leashes,
- A long leash,
- His trekking backpack,
- A collar with his identification medal,
- A towel and a dry shampoo,
- A muzzle (which he only wears on buses or in crowded places),
- His medical record,
- Plastic bags for his pooping needs.
Which is the best chest harness, from the among the ones we’ve given you?
Our favourite chest harness for the mountains is Hercules, as it adapts very well to Dexter, is well padded and very safe. It’s a technical harness, made of very resistant materials, and remains intact even when we walk in the woods and walk along tortuous paths. It’s very easy and comfortable to wear and adapts perfectly to the dog’s body, distributing the load all around his chest, instead of the neck. It was also designed to be hooked to accessories.
What’s Dexter’s favourite area? Is there a specific location? Why does he prefer the mountains instead of the beach? Why would suggest the mountains?
Dexter doesn’t have a favourite area. Of course, we should always check the feasibility of the tracks for our furry friends. He’s not a fan of muggy temperatures or of deep seawater: he’s more into cool creeks and healthy mountain air. We think that the mountains are much closer to Dexter’s natural habitat, as he’s a husky crossbreed. The mountains are also brimming with stimulating things for him, and Alpine towns offer countless services for our pets.
Does he like water?
He’ll happily dive whenever he can see and touch the bottom. He can swim, but doesn’t love being in the water for hours on end.
Come vi organizzate? Prenotate la vacanza con largo anticipo oppure last minute?
Tendenzialmente prenotiamo last minute, il lavoro che facciamo non ci consente di prenotare con largo anticipo.
Dove dormite? Siete più propensi ad alloggiare in baite e rifugi oppure preferite dormire in tenda in qualche campeggio?
Per l’estate, preferiamo dormire in un campeggio. Ci piace molto condividere gli spazi e avere la totale libertà nella gestione del tempo. Siamo stati in vacanza nelle Dolomiti e ci siamo divertiti da pazzi!
Where does Dexter sleep when you’re in the mountains? What about his food?
Our tent is roomy enough to have him sleep near our bed. As for his food, we use an airtight container to carry his food, so we don’t have to carry the whole bag with us. We fill it up with the proper amount he needs for his everyday energy demand. This type of container doesn’t take up too much space, they’re easy to carry in our backpacks.
What do you do when weather goes bad?
Rain doesn’t really scare Dexter. He’s afraid of strong winds and of shooting sounds, but when we’re with him, he knows he’s safe, so he’s fine.
What itinerary would you suggest to someone willing to go trekking in the mountains but is not particularly experienced?
The Trentino Alto Adige region offers a load of options. In any case, always begin with short trekking trips not too far from home, so your dog gets used to traveling by car as well as to be able to figure out how much he can handle.
What’s the best, most fun memory you’re bringing home from this experience in Trentino Alto Adige?
It’s really hard to pick a single memory, but surely the experience of camping with a dog makes everything more intense, including the ties between the family members!
Many thanks to Alessandro, Benedetta and their wonderful Dexter for sharing their trip with us!