Young Remi is fast approaching a year old (yes, really!) and it was time for her first official camping experience–the backyard campout! Because my dogs are working guard dogs, they are trained from early on to be comfortable outdoors at night. I figured Remi would do ok, but that her energy level would be a challenge. She’d not experienced us sleeping outside in tents so I had visions of her excitedly jumping all over everything and tents collapsing in heaps! If your dog is strictly an indoor dog, it might be a good idea to do a trial run before embarking on that first overnighter.
Before You Leave
Before heading out on your camping trip, it’s a good idea to introduce your pup to your gear. If at all possible, set up your tent or hammock in your backyard (or in your living room) and have a practice run. Bring your pup’s bedding and toys and make the experience as positive as possible. Many state parks require your dog to be tethered or confined to your campsite, so bring the tether and make sure it is made of something that is difficult for your dog to chew and discourages tangling. If they will sleep in the tent or hammock with you, praise them when they enter on their own and/or settle themselves.
Practice Makes Perfect
Anything you do repetitively with your pup becomes a habit. Some pups need more than one practice campout and that’s ok. The more used to it they become, the easier your first actual campout away from home will be. All dogs are different; you know your dog best. Do what is necessary to make the experience “no big deal” and as fun as possible.
Remi’s First Campout
Remi is a fairly high energy pup, so I figured she would take a while to settle down. Cue those visions I mentioned earlier. I honestly prepared myself for a good deal of mayhem. After wandering around for 30 minutes or so sniffing everything and trying unsuccessfully to get Rama to wrestle with her, she curled up on her bed and went to sleep. There were a few episodes of barking and growling throughout the night as she heard neighbor dogs, but other than that she was great. I was amazed she did that well her first time!
How did your pup do on his/her first campout? Do you have a fond memory or funny story you’d like to share? We would love to hear about it! Happy camping!