It’s safe to say that many outdoor lovers are dog lovers as well. In fact, adventures in the great outdoors and a great dog as accompaniment go together pretty naturally. Of course, an ill-behaved pup can make trips more difficult as well. There’s plenty of space for them to get lost in, and plenty of distractions to induce bad behavior. But, with a little extra training and effort, bringing your dog along on your family’s next camping trip can be made virtually headache free.
Get the dog used to an object as “home”
Most trained dogs have a rug, blanket, or doggie bed that they sleep on and are sent to when they misbehave. That naturally developed association is effective outside the house as well. When you take your dog camping, bring that object along and designate it as the pup’s “home” there, too. When you first reach your destination, he or she is bound to get a little overexcited, so let them burn off a bit of steam and then establish the object as the dog’s rest area. Getting that straightened out right off the bat will make the length of the trip much easier for you and your dog.
Bring along the dog’s favorite objects
Unless you want squirrel carcasses all over your campsite, bring the dog’s toys to keep him or her occupied and active. When everyone’s hanging out around the campsite, play lengthy games of fetch and tug-of-war. It’s both fun in the outdoor setting for campers, and will regulate your dog’s energy levels.
If the dog doesn’t already know commands, try to make him or her learn them
Getting a dog to behave on a camping trip is next to impossible without basic obedience training. Commands like “heel” “sit” and “stay” are essential to keep your pup under control in the great outdoors. Most breeds are quick to pick up on them too, as long as you provide consistent positive reinforcement (i.e., treats or affection) each time they perform correctly.
Keep your dog clean and healthy during the trip
It’s (hopefully) common knowledge that when you sweat and get dirty all day, a shower bath is needed daily. The same can be said for your dog. It’s as simple as a hose or dousing with a bucket of water before bed. Additionally, if you notice your dog biting or scratching at a certain area, check it carefully for ticks and chiggers. Nasty critters love dogs just as much as they love humans.
Keep a close eye on your dog’s food
Generally, it’s a good idea to store your dog food in a closed, scent locking container next to your own. After all, anything that smells good to a dog will likely smell good to other unwanted animals lurking around your campsite.
By taking these simple measures, you can bring your pet along on the next family camping trip without any extra worries or headaches. A little extra training and prep time makes all the difference between a great time with your pup in the outdoors and a series of outdoor doggie disasters.