• INSECT REPELLANT / BUG SPRAY : I make my own homemade bug spray from pure essential oils that is safe to use on both humans and dogs ! Click HERE for the recipe !

  • PET & HUMAN FIRST AID KIT: I particularly like the mini travel first aid kit made by KURGO - I add liquid benedryl and extra vet wrap to the kit.

  • PEPPER SPRAY / BEAR MACE: You Never Know!!


  • COLLAPSIBLE WATER DISH:(silicone) There is always one clipped to the outside of my pack as well as an extra one in my pack - these can be found on amazon or your local pet store !

  • HEADLAMP: This always comes in handy for those early morning or late night Hikes as well as camping !

  • SLIP LEASH: (X2) : A basic dog slip leash or two are ALWAYS in my bag. I personally recommend the official Cesar Millan slip leash which can be found at

  • DOG BOOTIES & PAW PROTECTOR : For the more rough terrain or snowy weather , your pups will need their feet protected in the tougher conditions. I personally recommend MUTTLUKS for booties and MUSHERS SECRET for paw pad protecting cream (can be found at your local pet store)

  • MINI FLASHLIGHT: A must have !

  • EMERGENCY WHISTLE WITH BUILT IN COMPASS: For emergencies and direction , I love my two in one whistle compass - can be found on amazon !

  • EXTRA SOCKS: Whether your feet are sweaty, cold, wet or smelly, an extra pair of socks is a hiking pack essential , just in case !

  • DOG TREATS : I highly recommend freeze dried beef liver treats , the brands I prefer are STEWARTS or PUREBITES , I have yet to meet a dog that doesn’t love them ! They are only one ingredient, low calorie and a healthy, high value treat for your dog! (can be found on amazon or your local pet store)

  • BRIGHT SAFETY VEST / DOG COAT: A bright safety vest is always a great idea no matter the conditions, weather or season. I personally LOVE the lightweight vest made by RUFFWEAR. A dog coat/jacket  is essential for short or medium haired dogs in the cooler months to be sure their body temp stays normal. A few brands I recommend are HURTTA , RUFFWEAR & LLBEAN

  • ENERGY BARS: I always have one CLIFF BAR & one KIND BAR in my bag.

  • EMERGENCY PONCHO: I’ve had to use these plenty of times ! I order the disposable , travel pack ponchos off amazon.


  • SEAT PROTECTOR:  I am in love with my KURGO seat protector, it keeps off dirt, hair, mud, slobber and protects my seats from being scratched .

  • SEAT BELT CLIPS & HARNESSES :  This is one of the most important safety feature if you do not already travel with your dog in a crate. KURGO makes a great pet seat belt clip and harness which keeps your pet safe comfortable and in one spot during car rides.

  • GPS - An essential for longer trips or new hiking spots !


  • Two large beach towels

  • Extra hiking boots

  • Trail sandals

  • Leashes, collars

  • Pet grooming wipes

  • Dog brushes

  • Flea and tick car spray

  • Rain jacket

  • Hats

  • Travel pillow

  • Sleeping bag

  • Backpacking pop up tent

  • Wash up kit (soap, sponges, toothbrush, paste etc)







*Be extremely cautious of both high and low temperatures and be sure you have all of the proper gear to keep both you and your pet comfortable and safe in extreme weather conditions.

I highly recommend double checking the forecast the evening prior and morning of before setting out for an adventure !


Understanding your dogs energy level, athletic ability, endurance, strength and overall hiking stamina is so important in order to dictate which types of terrain, length and hiking trails will be best fit ! Building up your pups hiking endurance over time is essential before setting out for bigger journeys. 

While your moms Border Collie May be able to hike all 45 ADK high peaks with ease , that doesn't mean your Bulldog is ready for that challenge. Much like us humans, dogs are all different and need to be conditioned to new terrain, elevation, rough trails , climbing etc.... to ensure there are no injuries or discomfort. 

*Plenty of rest and water breaks are highly recommended. 



*This is where prior training, safety,  understanding and clear communication come into play.

*Be sure to check the leash law of the trail or preserve you are set out to explore.

Of course, It’s extremely fun, easy and natural to want to explore with our dogs off leash , but many of us forget to play it safe and often times we just expect our dogs to be great off leash and come back when called - this is not always the case and the outcomes can be dangerous.

Teaching your dog a SOLID recall command is of utmost importance before ever off leashing your dog. A Recall command is a command/word such as “Max here” or “Max come” in which your dog runs to you, front and center, no matter where they are, what they're doing or what distractions may be ahead - that's the tricky part, and what most people don’t train, work on or 100% accomplish before setting out for an off leash hike.

All of my dogs, and all of the dogs that go through an extensive OFF LEASH TRAINING PROGRAM with me , are all off leash trained via Remote or E-Collar. An E-Collar is a remote dog training system that consists of a wireless remote and a wireless receiver. The remote has different functions based on your model that will send either a tone, vibration, or a muscle stimulating sensation (tap) to the dog.  Unlike most traditional "shock collars" the E-Collars we have ,use a form of stimulus that targets the neck muscles of the dog-mimicking the loving touch of their mother when teaching their pups. While the Remote collar is very controversial (tons of people use them without knowing the product, approach or correct training), it is single handedly one of the most effective and safe tools on the market for 100% off leash reliability and off leash communication - in my opinion. When used properly , effectively and with the right approach for your dog , not only will you have the most clear communication off leash with your dog but the piece of mind - KNOWING you can communicate and control your dog from anywhere and in any given situation. 



*Remember, not every person or dog enjoys another dog in their space, this is something that needs to be advocated and respected at all times. When you see an oncoming hiker or dog(s), recall your dog(s) and leash them up ! If your dog is uncomfortable about an oncoming dog or hiker, notify the on-comer and calmly create space, never feel bad for advocating for you dog !

*If your dog truly does not enjoy the company of other dogs or people nor is off leashed trained, take a few steps back and work on these things prior to setting out for any adventures - you will thank yourself later, and so will your dog ! 



Exploring the great outdoors with your canine companion is a super bonding, grounding , and natural experience. We encourage and challenge you all to get out more and explore (safely) with your dogs !! Cheers to adventures! 


All the best,





This weeks DAWGTALK TOPIC OF THE WEEK is all about - bringing home a new dog or puppy!

This is one of my favorite topics to educate on, whether you're a dog trainer, rescue shelter worker, foster family , Doggie Daycare professional or just your average dog owner , this article is for YOU! 

There are so many different variables to consider and be conscious of when bringing a new puppy , or more importantly, an adult dog that you just adopted from your local shelter into the human world. 

Where should my new dog/puppy sleep? How do I introduce my new dog/puppy to my existing pack ? How do I Socialize my new dog? How do I introduce the kids to my new Dog/Puppy ? How do I know if my dog is comfortable ? 

These are all very common questions and concerns I get from new puppy parents or families who just adopted a new dog and let me tell you, they are SO important (Not only for comfort and understanding but also for safety and a stable household) and I'm always so eager to enlighten and educate on this topic .  


We all know those adorable newly-wed couples who are so madly and magically in love the day of their wedding and are serenaded with champagne , flowers and a romantic dinner for two followed by a bed of roses in their honeymoon suite . Now of course , they love each-other and are happy beyond measure - but most people tend to escape reality (say things they wouldn't typically say, do things they wouldn't typically do out of utter joy) and they forget that after the hype and the sequence of magically planned events are over,  it's not all rainbows and butterfly's every minute of everyday.  Now again, this doesn't mean they aren't in love and happy , It's just the reality of life - and truth be told , any genuine human should understand that an authentic partnership should be built on trust, respect, clear communication, honesty , and of course, love!  - not champagne, roses and margaritas on the beach. 

That said, the honeymoon phase also tends to happen when we first bring home a new dog or puppy.  We are so incredibly excited to share the world with our newest, adorable pal. We can't wait to shower them with affection, treats and toys, bring him/her everywhere to meet all of our friends, family, dogs, kids , to our favorite parks and pet stores etc... so we do.  BIG MISTAKE.  Not only are you taking things way too fast , but you're also setting you and your dog up for failure from the get-go by starting off your relationship in an unbalanced way, which will only lead to problems in the future (most of the time). Most new dogs or puppies aren't comfortable or confident the first week of living in their new home environment, so even tho they may be doing great with your kids, other dogs,  playing at the local park or pet store etc.. that doesn't always mean this will last for a lifetime and that they are truly comfortable doing so, there's much more to it. As your puppy or new dog begins to become comfortable over time, and the "honeymoon phase" is over, he/she may start to act out, test boundaries and exhibit unwanted behaviors because while we were busy hugging, kissing and running around town with our new pup , we entirely forgot about working on the important variables of a relationship  (trust, respect, clear communication, leadership, rules, boundaries etc..). 


Much like a newborn baby or Toddler, new dogs and puppies need time to adjust and adapt to their new environment (some dogs adapt quickly and others take more time so the 2 weeks is just a generalization).  Most humans don't realize or understand this and immediately assume or expect their new dog/puppy to immediately be great with the kids, other dogs in the house, understand the routine etc.... but that's so unrealistic, even for the super easy, all around balanced dogs. 

Imagine you are 10 years old and were just adopted by a new family . This family loves and showers you with affection and is very welcoming upon coming home. But, in the same day, they introduce you to your new siblings whom you are expected to become best friends with and play with immediately, that night you accompany them to their annual Christmas party and you meet the whole entire family , they are asking question after question, insisting you try some of their food, begging to hear about your life and they are eager to get to know - without taking into consideration how out of place you may be feeling. Then, the next day you are expected to make friends at your brand new school -  PHEW , talk about  an uncomfortable , emotional overload!  Every human / and dog needs time to adjust to change - some more than others .

Below is a link to an incredible article elaborating and explaining the general step by step process to the 2 week shutdown and I highly recommend reading and applying it!



This one can be challenging because of course it would make our lives much easier and enjoyable if our animals just automatically hit it off -  but in reality , it doesn't always go this smoothly and there are protocols and variables to consider when first "introducing" your new dog to your existing pack to ensure long lasting balance, pack structure and a strong bond with one another.

so, lets play the scenario game. I'm going two draw out two different scenarios , both completely opposite, that both have a negative effect when introducing a new dog to existing animals.

SCENARIO #1: A family currently owns a 4 year old Labrador retriever, Max who loves to play, socialize, play fetch, swim and absolutely loves other dogs. So, they decided a puppy would be a great addition to the family to serve as a buddy and playmate to their 4 year old dog. They decide to call the same breeder they bought max from a year ago and inquired about a new puppy. 1 week later , they bring the puppy home and bring her right into the backyard to meet Max! Max immediately runs over like a freight train , excited as ever to meet his new sister. Max is running around, chasing her, licking her, smelling her and ultimately, the family believes "he is just so happy to meet her, he loves other dogs!"   But what they aren't noticing is how fearful, nervous and overwhelmed the puppy is by Max's over-the-top greeting. This can very easily go south - the puppy can begin to develop a fear of Max and begin guarding her space or running away and hiding if not advocated for, and before you know it she may start bearing teeth out of fear in an effort to get Max out of her space. Puppies are just like babies, still learning, developing and learning about the world around them. If the puppy is ambushed by big, happy, goofy dogs constantly, she will learn that dogs are scary and she will begin to put up walls. 


SCENARIO #2: 2 years ago, a family decided they were ready to adopt a dog . So, they made the trip to their local shelter to pick out their very own puppy! Fast forward 2 years and they have an incredible 2 year old, fun, loving, mixed breed dog named Lilly who loves to adventure, explore and play with other dogs. They decided it was time to help save another dog in need and to get a playmate for Lilly ! This time, they decided they would much rather adopt a dog who is already potty trained, crate trained and out of the puppy phase. So, they took a trip to the same local shelter to search for another 2 year old dog that also loves to play with other dogs , and there was Rover! Rover was a 2 year old mixed breed dog who they were told also loves to adventure and interact/play with other dogs, how perfect! After some paperwork and a meet and greet, they officially adopted Rover and were so ready to bring him home to meet Lilly! Upon arriving home, they immediately bring Rover into the backyard to meet/play with Lilly. Lilly and Rover immediately hit it off and played phenomenally together and were really enjoying it !! after 15 minutes of constant play, the family decided it was time to go inside, but they had one problem......they cannot get the dogs to stop playing and Neither of them are listening and when going over to try to get them, the dogs are ignoring the humans and running around continuing to play. So what was previously adorable, happy , fun and cute is now frustrating, rude and developing a bad habit. 2 dogs playing well together is a great thing, but 2 dogs playing nonstop in and out of the house with no boundaries and blowing off their humans? NOT COOL! Not to mention, this is a very quick way for them to get sick of each other and eventually, they will get irritated with one another if not given proper structure, rules and guidance. 



  • Keep both dogs on a leash and allow the dogs to sniff and interact with each-other through a gate or fence so that there is a boundary to help the dogs get used to one another but to also encourage calm greetings while advocating for both dogs if they feel nervous or uncomfortable but this will also teach them how to interact without immediate play or excitement.


  • Take your dogs on a structured, enjoyable leash walk together so that they can do something together and can bond but again, there is still structure so neither dog gets nervous and or too excitable.


  • Teach your dogs a "place" command to set some rules/boundaries in the house in order to teach them how to be relaxed around each-other and how to just simply exist comfortably around one another which will result in a calm and controlled atmosphere in the house .


  • Train and Work on obedience with your dogs individually (one on one) to start , so that you can get to know your new dog and what areas need improving and touching up before adding your previous dog into the mix! For example, if your goal is to eventually allow your dogs to play together without issues, both dogs should have a solid recall (come command) so that if things go south while playing or it's time to go inside, you can successfully stop the play by calling your dogs to you. if you are inexperienced in this particular area, I highly recommend looking into local dog training programs to enroll you and your dog(s) into !


  • Both dogs (or your new dog at the very least) should be crate trained and crated when you leave the house, or leave the room for a long period of time. Dogs need constant supervision when interacting with one another, especially when they don't know each-other very well yet . So, while you're away, to ensure both dogs are safe and practicing proper behaviors in the house, the crate is the greatest tool.


  • Work on tons of impulse control around both toys and food. The last thing you want is your dogs - who are getting along so well, to have an issue or altercation with food or toys. Both dogs need to understand that food comes from you, you are the pack leader and provider and it's your job to teach the rules. Much like we teach our Toddlers to share toys at school and how to appropriately play , dogs need the same type of structure and guidance. (again, if you don't have experience in this area, i highly recommend contacting a reputable dog trainer !)









Pictured: Mabel , Australian shepherd x border collie                      photo by: Bri, north country k9 crew

Pictured: Mabel , Australian shepherd x border collie                      photo by: Bri, north country k9 crew

This weeks DAWGTALK TOPIC OF THE WEEK is all about  - knowing your dog

This is an extremely interesting and important topic of discussion that is often times overlooked, neglected or even misinterpreted by the general population of dog owners and trainers. Thus resulting in humans choosing the inappropriate canine for their family and lifestyle which in turn can result in an array of behavioral issues, a lack of understanding and a poor lifestyle for all. Knowing and understanding your dog, (personality, breed, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes etc..) is of utmost importance for a strong, solid relationship with your beloved canine companion. 

Just like humans, all dogs are individuals with different unique qualities and traits, all making up who they are, or aren't! Even dogs of the same age, breed, genetic make-up and bloodline will typically have different personality traits, energy levels, strengths , weaknesses etc.. - and this is why it is super important to evaluate your lifestyle and what you're truly looking for in a canine companion as well as doing your research on specific dog breeds!

  Truly knowing who your dog is will not only help you tap into their natural instincts as an animal,  but will also give you a better blueprint on how to communicate, train and fulfill your dogs individual needs, thus resulting in a strong, human canine bond which , (in my opinion) should be at the top of your list of goals for you and your dog ! 

Dogs were originally bred to work alongside humans to perform specific jobs and tasks. That being said , almost every single breed is designed (physically and mentally) to excel in certain areas of work and ultimately all breeds crave leadership and a willingness to please humans. This is where the famous saying "Mans best friend" came about, and it couldn't be more appropriate. 

Over time, the need for  "working dogs" has slowly diminished to a select few that we typically see now a days -  such as Police K9's , Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs.  In today's day and age , Dogs are much more family pets which has it's advantages and disadvantages when bringing a new "pet" into your home. Though many of the breed standards have shifted and evolved , there are still many canines out there with working lines or close to it that desperately crave to do a job or sport. 



n - a stock of animals or plants within a species having a distinctive appearance, genetic make-up and typically having been developed by deliberate selection.

How many of you actually know your dogs breed and what that breed was originally designed for ? Lets take a look ! Click HERE to search your dogs breed and read a little bit about the history of the breed, the breed standard, their general personality traits and which areas they are known for excelling ! 

When looking to add a new pet to your home , there are a few things to consider before choosing . How active is your lifestyle ? How many hours out of the day are you home ? Do you have kids ? Other animals? Do you live in an apartment or on 10 acres of land? Do you have visitors over regularly ? Are you looking for a hiking buddy or a snuggle buddy ? Obviously, there are many more areas to look into but these are just a few generalized areas to consider.

EXAMPLE #1:  John is 25 years old, lives in Upstate New York with the Adirondack Mountains as his backyard. He gets up every morning at 6am , throws his running shoes on and hits the trail for a nice long run or hike to start his day. John works from home and only leaves the house to head out into nature (hiking, camping) or to visit friends and family at their lake-house nearby ,where he participates in swimming, boating , volleyball matches and any fun , outdoor activity. John is looking for a canine companion and he really likes the English Bulldog, he thinks they are so cute, wrinkly and entertaining and he has always wanted one (and they totally are) But , what John doesn't know is that the bulldog is extremely heat sensitive, exercise sensitive , known to have health issues directly related to heat and exercise and generally they are pretty lazy and low-key., unlike John.  This breed may be very cute, but they are not meant for the extremely active , go-go lifestyle that John lives. So, What would be a better choice for John? There are many breeds that will fit Johns lifestyle but just to narrow it down, Lets take a look at the Labrador Retriever. This breed of dog is known for their higher activity level, adventurous nature, love for the water, a high drive to play, a coat of fur that is adaptable to variations in weather -  and a very friendly nature . These characteristics and traits will be a better match for John's lifestyle (running, hiking, swimming, camping) because the needs of the dog will be met organically, which will create an understanding , balanced , strong relationship between John and his new pal for years to come! 

EXAMPLE #2: Becky and Bill are a recently retired 60 year old couple living in a small ranch in a wonderful little neighborhood . Becky really enjoys knitting, reading and gardening. Bill enjoys short walks to the park to find a nice shady spot to read the newspaper. Becky and Bill have recently been looking for a canine companion and their dream has always been to get the infamous Golden Retriever , since they are so well known for their friendly nature and devoted personality. What Becky and Bill don't know is that Golden Retrievers will need MUCH more than a small walk to the park or an afternoon watching mom read. They are very active dogs with a history of retrieving hunted game -  they will need daily physical exercise as well as a mental game or challenge (fetch, Frisbee etc..) A Golden Retriever would not thrive in a home and lifestyle such as this and in return there will be an imbalance in fulfilling the dogs specific needs thus resulting in your couch torn apart and visitors being knocked over by your 70lb out of control dog (for example). So, a better choice for this couple ? Well, Remember the lazy, low-key, goofy Bulldog from Example #1 ? Bingo ! The Bulldog is more than happy to snuggle at your feet while you read a book or knit and enjoy short walks to the park to hang under a shade tree. This would be the more appropriate choice for this family , resulting in a happy, strong relationship of fulfillment.  


So, a lot of you are probably looking at your adorable, unique dog that you so generously rescued from your local animal shelter whom could possibly be a number of different breeds all blended together and thinking "hmmm which breed do I search for?!, What does my dog need or crave?!" This is where it can get a little tricky BUT you can still get to know your dog just as well as if you got him/her from a reputable breeder, and it's extremely rewarding at the same time.  If you've already rescued a dog and you are having challenges in your communication process or if you are unsure your dogs needs are being fulfilled, take a step back and think a little more into things. Does your dog seem to have a natural ability to catch a Frisbee mid air ? You may have an awesome agility or sport dog partner on your hands ! Does your dog completely ignore you when outside with his/her nose constantly on the ground ? Your dog may have natural hound instincts and could make a great Search and Rescue Dog ! These are obviously very generalized topics, but my main point here is , don't entirely try to change or "fix" your dog and their problem areas without tuning in and getting to know them entirely first . So instead of becoming frustrated at your beagle for ignoring your "come" command when it's time to come inside , implement some more scent games for your dog into his/her daily routine to engage in with you to create a positive outlet for his/her natural instincts which will , simultaneously, build your relationship one day at a time , leading to clearer communication and a better foundation to tackle the problematic areas that need improving . 

If you've yet to adopt a dog but are thinking about heading to your local shelter, there are a few tips and things to consider to set you up for success. Upon going to the shelter to rescue a dog, you should absolutely evaluate and take into consideration the above topics (your lifestyle, activity level, work day etc..) When you arrive at the Shelter , there will be a canine behaviorist and elevator to guide you through your meet and greet process ( most shelters) with potential adoptable dogs. It is of utmost importance to be 100% honest and to give the canine behaviorists detailed information about your lifestyle, as this will determine the dogs they bring you to meet. It is also super important not to impulsively choose the first dog you meet , or the dog that you feel so incredibly bad for because of the horrific backstory you were told about neglect and abuse , this happens far too often and many dogs end up in the wrong hands due to initial guilt and poor human emotion and judgement at the shelter.  Ultimately, you may not know the dogs exact breed, but , the canine behaviorists on duty (most times) will carefully get to know each dog that comes into the shelter (energy level, temperament, health concerns, tolerance to kids, dogs, cats etc..) which will determine the overall individual personality of the dog to match you and your lifestyle ! 



After you get to know your dog, there are a vast array of hobbies, sports and fun activities to choose from for you and your dog to add into your daily or weekly routine to keep your relationship fun, engaging and to fulfill the needs of your particular dog ! Below are a few activities with links describing each individual job, task or sport. Check them out !  Remember, not every dog is cut out for specific sports and hobbies so be sure to have an experienced professional evaluate your dog to choose the correct sport or hobby that will be the best fit! 

Swimming/Dock Diving:



Bike Riding:

Trick Training:

Therapy Dog:

Search & Rescue:


Weight Pulling: