Pup’s First Campout

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.


Yawning chihuahua dog sitting near camping tent at sunny meadow

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.


dog next to tent

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!


dog sleeping on bed outdoors
Remi snoozing away at her first campout


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!

portrait of two cute purebred chihuahuas in tent in front of white background








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  1. Barbara Rivers July 20, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Awesome that she did so well!! I have yet to do a campout with my pups…I could see Missy being more relaxed than Buzz, but there’s really no telling until I give it a shot!! Thanks for the idea!

    1. Shannon Adams July 20, 2017 at 8:40 pm

      I am a firm believer in proofing for all situations. Even with my kids, lol. I love practice runs! I really thought with her activity level she would be a nightmare, LOL. She surprised me!

  2. Laurie Leigh July 21, 2017 at 10:57 am

    I would have had to have trained Maui as a pup. She was like me… why are we sleeping in the backyard? LOL

    1. Shannon Adams July 26, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      Aw, I could see little Maui getting’ her camp on!

  3. Joely Smith July 26, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    That is very sage advice to get the pup used to the gear first! I have seen dogs that are afraid of fences when first introduced to them! Haha it’s always funny and cute.
    I have not taken Lyla camping. She is not very outdoorsy. It would be fun to have a pup that loves to camp though!

    1. Shannon Adams July 26, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      Haha! I’ve seen some afraid of some weird things, too! Believe it or not, most of the time here at home Rama doesn’t care to be outside much. Now when we go camping, she’s perfectly fine. It’s weird. 😛

  4. Paroma July 26, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    We have never camped out since we are not campers but I totally would follow your tips of making this a habit and acclimatizing our dog if we ever did so.

    1. Shannon Adams July 26, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Thanks Paroma! The same could also go for gatherings where you are erecting a large screen room or canopy, say for a family bbq at local park. Folding camp chairs can also be one of those things that pups might be wary of at first. Some dogs are startled by the objects that they don’t see very often. I even had one terrified of pool noodles years ago. 😀

  5. Amanda July 26, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    I’m so happy to hear that Remi did so well! I’d love to do a backyard camp out when the weather cools down. I even have a tent ready. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Shannon Adams July 26, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      It is definitely hot right now! Whew! I can’t wait until Fall, either. I plan on heading North for some cooler mountain air!

  6. Kamira Gayle July 26, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Aww nice to know Remi did great on the first camp out night. I never had a camp out with my pets however I have had a road trip with one and a cross country plane ride with both my cats (years ago). In both cases they did really well and didn’t even make a peep. I was one proud mama.

    1. Shannon Adams July 26, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      That’s quite an accomplishment, too, to go cross-country with cats!

  7. Sandy Kubillus July 26, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    My Cassie loved camping! She couldn’t wait for me to set up the tent and let her inside to roll around in it and moan in pleasure. She even loved the prep to stuff sleeping bags at home, or course by rolling on them. I think dogs like to all be at one level inside the tent!

    1. Shannon Adams July 26, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      That’s so cute how Cassie got all excited! It’s cute to think one day Remi will recognize the signs, too.

  8. Happy-Go-Doodle July 26, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    A backyard campout sounds like such a good way to get comfortable with camping. Thanks for outlining the steps you took to make sure Remi had a positive camping experience! Happy camping!

    1. Shannon Adams July 26, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      To be honest I was very surprised she did that well. She’s quite excitable and I figured she’d be so excited she would bounce around all night and possibly collapse the tent! haha! But she did great and made me feel bad I ever doubted her. 🙂

  9. Sweet Purrfections July 26, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    How wonderful Remi’s first campout went well. I look forward to reading about future campouts. We never took our dogs with us when we went on trips when I was growing up.

    1. Shannon Adams July 26, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      I’m glad it went well, too. We didn’t bring our dogs either when I was a kid and I wanted my own kids to enjoy having dogs along on our vacations if at all possible.

  10. Lorie Ham July 26, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    While I nor my dogs are campers, this was an interesting story and I’m glad Remi did so well on her first time out. Also, great advice for those who might enjoy camping like you 🙂

    1. Shannon Adams July 26, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      Thanks Lorie! I appreciate it!

  11. Lola The Rescued Cat July 27, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Yay for Remi! We’re glad you did so well with your camping. We bet it’s so much fun for dog owners to cap with their pups.

    1. Shannon Adams July 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Thank you! Yes, it is fun. They also enjoy it, too, because it’s all new sights and smells to explore!