Editors Note: While walking the John Muir Trail from the Whitney Portal to Tuolumne Meadows I encountered a couple hiking near Red’s Meadow/Rainbow Falls with a Golden Retriever wearing a saddle-bag back pack. I saw this beautiful dog get stuck twice trying to get between a couple of trees. While the trees were wide enough for her, she had no concept of her extra girth/width this saddle back pack added. She was frustrated and one can understand why. So when this article popped into my inbox I just had to post it as whether pleasure camping or at the EOTWAWKI, this family member is, after all, a family member. Written by a relaxed pleasure camper.
Spending some time camping with your dog is one of the most enjoyable things. Are you a dog lover? Do you love camping? If the answers to these questions are yes, then this article is for you. Maybe you have never thought of spending time together outdoors with your dog. Now there is a good reason to try it and guess what? It will be a very enjoyable experience. You only need a few tips and guide to make it happen.
Training Your Dog is a Great Starting Point
If she is trained, you will be ready. The most vital training you need for the dog is a dependable recall. Does your dog respond when you call? Your dog should respond even when there are distractions or other dogs. Trust your skills and train your dog on how to respond promptly when you call. You might need to seek the services of a professional dog trainer if you are not sure.
Some simple commands that you can use to train your dog are explained here.
- “Come” – This command tells your dog to come to you
- “Leave it” – This command tells the dog to stop what she is doing and drop what’s in her mouth. This command is very useful when you go camping. You can use it to command your dog to stop sniffing a snake or dead crow
- “Down” – This command tells your dog to lay down and wait for the next command
- “Okay” – This command informs the dog everything is okay or cool
You’ll want to train the dog to stay in the car until they are invited to come along. This training is important because you’ll enhance the safety of your dog. A dog can follow you when you aren’t aware and get into an accident. Through the training, you’ll get the dog to trust you and obey your commands. Remember the more command your dog knows and responds to, the better for you. The training is a just a process of creating a good relationship with the dog in preparation for camping.
Untrained or un-socialized dogs will draw negative attention almost immediately and may put both you and the dog in harms way.
Remember to Carry Enough Supplies
Water should be the first item on the supplies list. Set aside a plastic water bottle and water bowl for your dog when packing supplies. It’s good to carry separate water for you and the dog, just to ensure there’s enough. Because dogs don’t sweat, they tend to drink a lot of water to cool down. When you break to drink water, give your dog some water too. The other item on the supplies is food. Don’t be tempted to change the dog’s diet. If she feeds on homemade food, you can pack some. But you might want to decrease the portions.
Backpacks are a good choice to carry camping supplies. The choice will depend on the number of days you’ll be camping. You can rely on a dog backpack to carry some supplies because it’ll relieve you of some weight. A healthy dog can carry about 25% of their body weight. Make sure to strap the backpack on safely without hurting the dog or putting on too much excess weight. The best practice is to put most of the weight low and forward, over her front shoulders.
Don’t forget a good tent when planning. A pop up canopy tent is great, although you might want to carry hammock. Remember to consider tent stakes. The right equipment will make camping with your dog smooth and memorable.
A First Aid Kit is a Great Idea
Your dog can be injured just like you. In fact, a dog can be at higher risk of being injured than you. A dog isn’t a good a judge of what they can do and might end up with injuries. Fearless dogs are more likely to be injured. Running and scrambling over rocks is fun and adventurous, but an invitation for injuries. The dog’s foot pads can be injured. Don’t assume that your dog’s thorn-proof! A pricking on foot can cause a lot of pain and even bleed. When it comes to the dog’s first aid kit, you’re the expert. Carry the drugs that have been prescribed by your veterinarian. Pain relievers are good to carry along as well.
When packing the first aid kit, consider the place where you’ll be camping. This way, you can prepare sufficiently. In almost any camp ground, there’s a threat of small and large animals. Some animals like moose and bears tend to avoid humans. They may however not avoid curious dogs. Your dog can be at risk of injury if the camping site has these animals. The dog can be kicked, bitten or even infected with a disease by interacting with these animals. Small animals can scratch the nose of your dog if they are curious.
In some places, ticks can be a problem. You’re spending time outdoors with the dog, and you should inspect the dog daily for any ticks. There might also be wood ticks in the camping site. You should consider immunizing the dog for Lyme. These tips will be sufficient to keep your dog safe. But at times, your dog might get a big injury that can’t be managed with the first aid kit. It’ll be a great idea to go back home and seek the help of your veterinarian if the injury is not life threatening. If it is, seek the closet professional help you can find. Fortunately, you can avoid all the worry by preparing well for the specific terrain and risks in the place where you will be camping.
Embrace Good Campsite Etiquette
While at the campsite practice good campsite etiquette. Be courteous to your friends and fellow campers. Use the commands that your dog has learned to keep the dog away from strangers. It’s your responsibility to properly dispose of the dog’s waste each and every time. To keep the dog safe, keep it close to you all times and don’t leave her unsupervised at the campsite. Even in the vehicle ensure your dog is safe. Knowing how to keep the dog safe and close to you will help to prevent unforeseen risks.
Finally, Enjoy with Your Dog
Now that you are camping with your dog enjoy to your fullest! Play with your dog, take some good photos and relax. Just stay cool. At night enjoy a campfire and let your dog enjoy too. Combine different tips that you have learned to make the experience memorable.