Greetings from the Sierras

After a long silence on the Singing Dog Blog, I am attempting to link together all of the media that we are in fact publishing in other places. From the Mountain Recreation Blog.

Shake the winter blues and get outside! Snowshoeing is the fastest growing sport in the country for a variety of reasons.

Snowshoeing requires no particular skill. If you can hike, you can snowshoe.
Generally snowshoeing doesn’t require an admission fee.
You can take the dog and even the entire family from young to old.
Pack a lunch and a thermos of hot chocolate and you are set.
Good sturdy hiking boots and a gaiter are recommended footwear.
Outerwear to keep you warm and dry is also a good idea.

On a recent holiday I ventured away from the crowds at the local ski areas and explored the trails along highway 20. The snow was fresh and deep from the last storm coating the trees and creating a winter wonderland. All this was less than 30 minutes travel from Nevada City. At Omega Overlook I headed north out of the parking lot on a trail that paralleled the highway. I followed the trail and took the first left which looped around and headed back to the starting point. The view from the trail was spectacular. The trail can provide both silence and solitude as it winds deeper into the forest.
Snow Dragon near Omega Rest Stop
Further down the highway Steep Hollow, a nearby cross-country ski trail system marked by the Nordic Skiers of Nevada County, is located on Highway 20 just past the Alpha-Omega rest stop 18 miles east of Nevada City. For a wide open space try the area near Bowman Road. The Castle Peak area provides access to the backcountry via the Pacific Crest Trail. A Sno-Park pass is required to park for these trails.
Mountain Recreation has a full line of Atlas and MSR snowshoes, poles, and gaiters available. Rentals are $15 day and includes poles as well.
Guided tours are available from one of our professional guides. Call us at 530-477-8006.
On the snowshoe trail

Wild Mountain Online releases search engine for Outdoor Dog Products

Wild Mountain Online has taken their knowledge of the outdoors into a further venture. We have taken all of our favorite products and found the best price and quality on the internet. Essentially we created a catalog of what we deem the best.” Some of the products are available from us and many from our partner stores. Again emphasizing the high quality and reliability that Wild Mountain Online has been known for since 2005. Visit us and check out the new pages at Wild Mountain Online

Pet Secret Shopper review of Mushers Secret

Musher’s Secret from Wild Mountain Online


Wild Mountain Online

Musher's Secret

I don’t know about you, but I love a product that you can use for multiple purposes.  I like versatility and I like only having to carry one thing around that can prove helpful for many different situations.  My new discovery is Musher’s Secret from Wild Mountain OnlineMusher’s Secret is a dense, breathable barrier wax.  It was originally designed to protect the paws of sled dogs during extreme winter conditions.  It helps not only create a wall between the dog’s paws and the snow, but it also prevents snowballing in between the dog’s toes.

Musher’s Secret was soon put to use in different situations.  It has proven to be a reliable barrier and paw protectant for not only extremely cold conditions, but extremely hot one’s as well.  From snow to sand to hot pavement to hikes in the rocky forest Musher’s Secret will take care of it all.  AND not only that, but you can use it on other things as well, such as burns, scratches, fly bitten ears or any other open sore that needs to be protected.

Musher’s Secret is not only for dogs, humans can use it as well.  I used it for protection against a blister I obtained while running and a bee sting that my shoe kept rubbing against.  It worked famously for both of these issues.

Musher’s Secret is made using 100% natural waxes, is non-toxic and will not stain carpet.  Yes, I tested it out and this statement is indeed true, there were no marks on my carpet after applying this to my dog and letting him run around a room full of carpet.

You can purchase Musher’s Secret off the Wild Mountain Online website starting at about $13.00

If you think your product can pass the Secret Shopper test, send an email to:

Get your dog ready for a great time in the woods!

Ben Swan | For The New Mexican
Posted: Thursday, June 09, 2011

Rio’s an aptly named yellow Labrador retriever. He loves the water — maybe just a little too much.

“He’s the worst of the lot,” said outdoor enthusiast and former river guide Jon Asher. “He wouldn’t stay in the raft.”

But that doesn’t stop Rio from being a spokesdog for Asher’s ecommerce retail store, Wild Mountain Online, which specializes in outdoor gear for dogs and people. And it doesn’t stop Rio from joining Asher on hikes or overnight camping trips during any season, along with the family’s other yellow Labrador retriever mix, Lilly.

Asher said he loves the companionship of his canines as he explores New Mexico’s outdoor spaces. But just like humans, dogs can’t just dash into the woods and expect to have a good time. They have to be prepared: “It’s nice to bring them along safely, especially if they aren’t used to the rigors of the outdoors,” Asher said. “You have to keep them comfortable.”

When planning a hike or camping trip, consider giving the dog a job, Asher said, which includes carrying his or her food and water — not all natural water is safe for dogs to drink, and in many places there are no water sources.

In Rio’s inexpensive but durable backpack, Asher packs water and food in separate bags, along with a portable water bowl. The waterproof bags help protect the food from damage, especially if the dog, like Rio, loves to roll in the mud.

Some dogs might need a few days to get used to wearing a pack, Asher said, although many dogs, like Rio, take to wearing the gear right away. The backpack sometimes acts a calming device for nervous canines.

Through the years, Asher has found many products that help make an outdoor trip easier for canine and human companions. Aside from water and food, essentials include basic first-aid supplies, collar, leash and identification tags. A collar identification tag that contains a cell-phone number or other information is essential in case a dog gets lost.

Asher has tested all of the products he offers online, and most are from small or local companies. Many of the same products he uses on himself — like natural inspect repellent and first-aid items — can be used on the dogs.

Asher also includes plastic bags for waste disposal in his supplies, along with dog booties and bandages in case a dog injures a paw. Dog waste along many of the area’s popular trails is a pet peeve of Asher’s. His website carries biodegradable bags called Scoopies.

“There are a few people in Santa Fe who pick up after their dogs,” he said. “People don’t realize how much animal fecal matter goes into our watershed. If you’re going to take your dog out hiking, pick up after them.”

In the wilderness, Asher believes animal companions should have the same protocol as humans: Leave no trace.

Rocks, stickers and cacti make hiking on area trails hazardous for many dogs. One product that fuels Asher’s website is Musher’s Secret, a natural wax product that helps protect canine pads. He discovered the Canadian-made product while cross-country skiing with his border collie, Bo, many years ago near the Santa Fe Ski Basin.

The product, which also helps protect paws from hot asphalt and sand, also is available at several local pet stores. The product forms a semipermeable membrane that helps maintain the health of canine pads.

A similar locally made product, Heal My Paws, provides a natural protective moisturizer and conditioner for the pads. The conditioning balm helps keep the pads soft and supple and isn’t harmful if licked and ingested.

Other products hikers might consider include a quick-draw leash, microfiber gloves and towels, toys and lightweight jackets for cold mountain evenings.

Asher calls Just a Cinch Leash from Ruffwear one of the best leashes he’s every owned. The slip-adjustment collar fits virtually every size dog and the friction tab prevents collar slip-offs and escapes.

Reflective strands are woven into it for good visibility. Asher said his Labradors, which by nature can be prey-driven, quit pulling on a walk. And that leaves neighbor cats safe.

Another handy leash, also made by Ruffwear, is called the Quick Draw. The Velcro collar becomes a leash when needed. That’s helpful on hiking trails if you encounter leashed dogs or wildlife, Asher said.

While many trails require keeping dogs on leashes, some don’t. Common hiking etiquette, however, is to leash a dog if the hiker encounters another leashed dog. It’s also important to keep a dog leashed around areas where there might be snakes, bears or mountain lions.

A few dog toys can help to keep the attention on the human companion and not on wildlife.

Solid obedience lessons can also help protect a dog. Asher’s found success with simple but effective commands such as “leave it.”

“Dogs don’t understand,” he said. “They see movement and they’ll go after it. But if you voice-train them, it can be very important. We haven’t had any full-on confrontations with bears or mountain lions, but it does happen. You’ve got to be able to control or grab your dog. You don’t need an aggressive dog attacking a bear or any wildlife on the trail.”

Microfiber gloves — made with six fingers for use on either hand — are great for quick cleaning. In the winter, the gloves absorb water, mud, snow and ice and on camping trips are a great for muddy paws or wet fur.

Asher, who works as a web designer for Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works, focused on his online store after closing Wild Mountain Outfitters in 2007. The store carried some pet supplies, as does Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works now, but Asher said he decided to revise the online store to specialize mainly in dog gear. It’s what he enjoys the most.

“I’m only in it for the love of the dogs,” he said. “We have a couple of seasons where we make enough to keep it online and that’s about it. It’s not making anybody rich, but the dogs get to wear cool stuff.”

For more information about outdoor dog products, visit the website at or read Asher’s blog at


Love to hike and camp with your dog? Share your favorite tips and places to go with fellow Scoop readers. Email Ben Swan at for a future article.

– 6/8/1

Mushers Secret Wax Not Just For Winter

mushers secret not just for winterWant to keep your dog’s paws healthy this summer and afford some protection to the hot asphalt and sand that can get to temperatures over 100 degrees?

One of the things I find fascinating about Musher’s Secret is that it has the ability to form a semi permeable membrane that can protect the paw from salt, ice, road chemicals, hot sand, rocks and a myriad of other trail hazards. Used regularly Musher’s Secret can be a tremendous asset to your pet’s paw health.

     After all think about what it would be like to run barefoot on hot city sidewalks. We humans can barely make it 100 yards across the sand to the water on a hot day. Now realize why your dog is miserable walking on hot pavement during the summertime. Try just a little bit applied to the pads and between the toes. Your dog will THANK YOU for it!

Heal My Paws-healing product for dog paws

Heal my paws product made in Santa Fe

Heal My Paws -Four Footed Formula
For rough, cracking pads.

Heal My Paws is a natural protective moisturizer and conditioner for the pads of your dog’s paws. It contains the finest natural waxes, emollients and essential oils. An excellent conditioning balm for all breeds.

Heal My Paws is particularly helpful for working and running dogs as well as dogs that spend a lot of time outside, particularly in inclement weather.

Daily use will keep pads soft and supple. During the winter months, the protective layer afforded by Heal My Paws helps seal out chemicals and salt on city sidewalks and guards exposed pads from ice and snow damage that leads to chapping, cracking and infection. Heal My Paws is quickly absorbed into dry pads.

The natural formula is not harmful if licked and ingested. And use it on your own paws too!

Get Warm Get Fuzzy!

Cold weather is coming fast and thinking about your canine companion’s health and well being this winter should be first and foremost. Here are the best products that we have found for winter health.Rio's eyes
Paws- Musher’s Secret Wax and Heal My Paws are both products that use natural ingredients.  Mushers creates a semi-permeable bond that keeps paws healthy, reduces ice balling, and salt burn.
Heal my Paws is a natural blend of ingredients that provides soothing relief and protection from the extreme weather and dryness.
Cold Weather- Warm Renitz recycled cotton sweaters from West Paw Design,
Warm Coats such as the Cloud Chaser Softshell, K9 Overcoats and Climate Changer Fleece coats from Ruffwear.
If your dogs spend a lot of time outdoors or even if your dog gets chilled easily then a warm coat is a must. Wrap it up and put it under the tree with a toy made from recycled fabrics and materials from Wild Mountain Online!