Marketplace: Hiking club for dogs creates lean, happy pets
February 9, 2010
Genetically, dogs are hunting pack animals. To be happy and healthy, they need to get outside and be around other dogs. Julie Edgerton’s hiking club for dogs, Wagging Tails On The Trails, guarantees two full hours on a Park City trail socializing with other animals.
She started the business five years ago to combine her two passions: pets and the outdoors. Her relative made a living walking dogs, but she didn’t like how most people in the business just do a loop around the neighborhood for 20 minutes.
Dogs need the outdoors as much as humans do. She recognized that people who love Park City trails know their dogs need them too but don’t always have the time to take them out regularly.
the time Edgerton picks up every dog, gets to the trail, spends a full two hours, loads the animals back into the truck and takes them all home (sending a text to each owner once they’re back) it’s a four- or five-hour outing.
The dogs love it and return home happy, she said.
"When dogs are stuck at home they get anxious, they get destructive. They need to see outside their four walls just like us," Edgerton explained. "When they’re out on the trail they feel like they have a job to do."
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Her service is reliable and consistent, Edgerton added. Owners know their pets will be picked up on time, are in good hands and are having a good time.
A dog that is well socialized is also better behaved in public, she said. It’s better to teach animals to get along rather than shelter them from each other.
That said, there is a pecking order when dogs get together, and it has to be respected for the animals to enjoy themselves. For example, some dogs insist on being the first in the truck, or at least getting in before another dog. So Edgerton plans her pick-up route to respect each dog’s status in the group.
But she also uses a variety of training methods to teach the dogs not to bully one another. She’s also happy working with owners on behavioral problems so their efforts complement one another.
And a well-exercised dog is the easiest kind to train, she said.
On Edgerton’s hikes, the animals definitely get exercise. Her own pet was a "waif" when she bought her. It’s only lost half a pound after all that hiking, but has turned fat into muscle. The dog is now lean and muscular.
"You can have confidence that while you’re gone the dog is having a joyful day and becoming a happier, healthier, more trainable family pet," she said.
Jill Mackay has been sending her golden retriever Jack on Edgerton’s hikes for four and a half years. She said the veterinarian is impressed at every visit how muscular he is.
Mackay began using the service because Jack was a tough puppy to train. She realized it was because he had too much energy.
"A tired puppy is a good puppy and a tired dog is a happy dog," she said.
Mackay trusts Edgerton completely, she said, and Jack loves going.
"He even recognizes the sound of her truck," she added. "Jack goes every day."
Mackay also said she enjoys Edgerton’s monthly newsletter highlighting a member of the "pack" each month and giving nutritional, health and training advice.
Wagging Tails On The Trails
6300 N. Sagewood Dr. Suite H343