The first thing you need to know about Whitney Brofos, Instagram sensation and mom to (gorgeous) 3-year-old Border Collie/Aussie Sadie (check out Sadie's IG page), is that she grew up on a ski slope in Vail, Colorado, which is also where she currently lives. (Yes, we are a bit jealous.)
So it stands to reason that as outdoor sports, from hiking and camping to skiing and tennis (both of which she has also taught), are her passion, she would find a way to share them with her sweet sidekick, Sadie. Together with husband Brady, Whitney and Sadie have hit the trails and navigated the slopes documented in the aw-worthy photos on her Instagram pages.
When we heard that Sadie (and Brady, with Whitney manning the camera to document the day) would be taking part in this year's GoPro Mountain Games Rocky Dog Trail Run, a 5K run/walk on and around Vail Mountain with 4-legged best friends, we reached out to Whitney for her tips for hiking with dogs, how to get some great pictures and some of her picks for goods and gear.
BeChewy: This is Sadie's first time participating in the GoPro Mountain Games Rocky Dog Trail Run, but she has been a mountaineering dog for all of her three years. Can you share some on-the-ground tips with other pet parents who would like to share their love for outdoor pursuits with their pets?
- Start small. When we first brought Sadie home (she was 10 weeks old and found in a Craig's List post) and before we ever took her hiking, we introduced her on longer and longer car rides to get her used to traveling. This taught her that being in the car usually meant that she would be having fun and there would be treats.
- Keep close. Sadie didn't start walking the trails. Instead we put her in a backpack when she was a pup and carried her as we hiked. We also took her to dog-friendly places such as restaurants and parks early on. This allowed us to manage her access and keep her out of trouble while we were teaching her simple commands.
- Work up to longer adventures. It took a while for Sadie to be ready for a day hike. We started on short trails where she was sometime in the backpack and sometimes walking. This was for endurance, but also to make sure she could follow commands and not get hurt or worn out. Now, we are out hiking or camping almost every weekend, but we worked up to that.
- Make sure they understand necessary commands. The two commands we found essential are "leave it" and learning to heel. The first is useful when your dog finds something too enticing such as something they might pick up on the trail or in the woods. The second is going to help ensure they know to stay by you on leash or not.
- Manage your expectations. Not every dog is going to be a willing, enthusiastic participant every time you want to hike, ski, swim or camp. You want them to see all of this as fun. If it isn't happening, try again another time.
BeChewy: How do you get such stunning pictures of Sadie?
Whitney: Photographing pets is about waiting for the right moment.
Here are some tips:
Capture in their natural element. A happy dog is going to yield a happy dog picture.
Manage your expectations. Sometimes they just aren't going cooperate. And that's okay.
- Get down to their level. Shooting an image from above or below can give an interesting perspective, but the ones that steal your heart are shot at eye-level with your dog.
- Treats are good. Use them.
Whitney's Chewy Picks for Hiking with Dogs
Frisco Wild Thing Dog & Cat T-Shirt
Sadie' s OK with being dressed-up. This lightweight t-shirt is made with a breathable cotton-polyester blend and features an adorable “Wild Thing” print with a cute hiking bear graphic. The pull-over style makes it easy to get your pet dressed. (Be super extra and mark date of event on back side of shirt and store away.)
Frisco Flamingos Dog Leash
Keeping your pup close by when you you’re just out for a walk or taking in some nature with your fur friend is super important. This leash will keep her nearby and stylish. The easy-to-use bolt snap securely attaches to any collar or harness, and it’s nickel-coated for a sleek, polished look.
Frisco Fetch Rubber Flyer Dog Toy
As much as Sadie loves to hike and camp, her favorite activity is catching a flying toy like this one. I always keep a few in the car and in our backpacks. This one is really good because it is made from a bouncy, sturdy rubber that's a soft material that’s gentle on dogs’ teeth.
Frisco Let's Explore Dog & Cat T-Shirt
Perfect for your adventure-loving dog (or cat!) this sporty tee sets the mood for a day of fun in the mountains, the beach, the dog park or just running errands around town. Comfortable to put on and take off. Easy care, too.
Frisco Flamingos and Foliage Print Dog Poop Bags, 120 Count
Of course, like all responsible dog moms, I always pack rolls of dog poop bags when we are out on adventures or around town. I love the tropical vibe of the leaf and flamingo patterns on these durable and leak-proof plastic ones. These are unscented which is also nice.
Frisco Anti-Slip Wrap Dog Boots
I want to make sure Sadie's little feet would be protected on a longer hike so one of my favorite things is dog boots. These are a wrap around style which can be easier than a slip-on one with tough, rubber sole to help protect tender paws. Love the green color, too!
Frisco Active Dog Life Jacket
We do a lot of paddle boarding and Sadie loves to swim and be out on the water so a life jacket is an essential to have on hand. The ripstop fabric is super durable and the 15mm foam side panels provide buoyancy. The “Pup Guard on Duty” graphic ups the cuteness factor (not the Sadie needs any help!)
Frisco Flamingo Dog Raincoat
Rain never stops us from outdoor adventures but having a water-resistant dog raincoat helps keep Sophie comfortable. We like this one because it has a hole with a cover flap for easy access to a collar or harness without letting the rain in. And, flamingos!
American Journey Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Soft & Chewy Training Bits Dog Treats
I love these because they’re small and easy to put in a pocket or store in the car or backpack. I have treats on hand most of the time to reinforce training. Sadie is very food motivated.