Training Partner: Woman’s Best Friend




“I love our dog more than you.” has been said in our house by both my partner and I more times than one can admit. As much as my partner, Forest, and I love each other when it comes to our dog Bliss we can easily argue as to who loves him most. This is not to say we do not love each other, but when we are honest with ourselves it’s our dog that exudes unconditional love.


Bliss goes everywhere with us, if he fit under the sit of a plane he would probably be the world’s best known OCR dog. Unfortunately, during work trips he stays home. I talk to him on the phone when I travel, my dog is my child. Often, I watch him play with his friends and try to see the world through his unfiltered eyes. The excitement and joy in each activity is inspiring.


Recently, on a trip to Moab, Utah Bliss got to show off his skills, and coach his mom along the technical and sometimes steep Slickrock Trail in southern Utah. Part of our job as Bliss’s “parents” are to make sure he is prepped and ready for each adventure we go on as a family. Below is our checklist for trips with our dog.


Bliss Packing List

  1. 11070097_789217267834591_1376618090842885433_nFood – pack enough for an extra day
  2. Treats – Healthy treats for an active dog
  3. Water – Have enough water for the three of us or filtration system
  4. Travel Bed – packable bed
  5. Gear – pack, booties, etc… depending on adventure
  6. Toys – keeps the mind active and parents sane in the car
  7. Packable Food/Water Bowl – easy for hikes, bike rides and car trips
  8. Leash – unfortunately the whole world is not off-leash


IMG_4934We have joked more than once that our dog requires as much stuff as we do on a trip! It is always a scramble before we leave the house to make sure he has all he needs. But every trip once we are there we are happy we have it all.


Recently in Moab we learned just how important having the proper gear for your dog really is while we were biking on slickrock. While people in my family laughed at us for getting “shoes” for our dog. It was us that had the last laugh as we saw Bliss banking turns and destroying the slickrock with the speed and grace of a professional passing more than one dog whose paws were already fairly worn early in the ride. Slickrock has the texture of sandpaper and unless your dog had trained his paws, much like human’s barefoot, after a mile or two it rubs the pads of their paws down to a cracked and sometimes bloody mess. This we saw on the trail, as well as other dogs sporting their own booties. It is a funny sight seeing a dog in shoes but totally a great investment for the specific trip.




Whether we are on a trip or at home, each day I spend a few minutes away from the computer, taking a break, and watching the world through Bliss. Each time I do I see the world in a new way, a world full of excitement and new possibilities around each corner. For this and many other reasons Bliss is truly a women’s best friend.




Margaret Schlachter

About Margaret Schlachter

Margaret Schlachter is Founder of She has been part of the OCR Community since 2010. When not working on the next article she can be found running from race-to-race. She is Editor-in-Chief of She authored the book Obstacle Race Training.
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