Aug 20, 201766 views

Camping with dogs - any tips?

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We are taking our dog on her first camping trip and looking for tips/suggestions to make it stress-free and enjoyable for her.
My main concern was how she'd handle hanging out in a tent so we've been practicing every weekend in our backyard. I started by giving her a special treat in the tent the first couple of times and now when she sees the tent going up, she gets excited and runs into the tent right away. Our next step will be sleeping in the tent with her before the trip and see how that goes.
I also have a long list of items to pack for the trip including her favorite toys , treats, and bed.
Fortunately our first trip will be pretty short and close by in case things go awry, but would love to hear any tips if you have them. Thanks in advance!
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MikeMD, ltopper, and 4 others
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I use (and both dogs carry their own) a set of Hammock straps and a 'biner. I attach it to their harness after wrapping it around a tree. The straps have many loops, so I can quick adjust the size/length they can move around, or strap them together in a Y, etc. I usually setup camp JUST out of range of them, so they don't trample the setup, and can't get into my food -- but, I position wherever I'm seated close enough for them to sit next to me. This gives them some length to explore and move around, and gives me the peace of mind to take my eye off of them to setup shop. As for sleeping in a tent, my dogs both do fine. They both carry a few liters of water on them, gear, food, and I find a good, solid day of hiking and excitement generally makes them pretty manageable inside the tent for sleeping. Plus, they only get to sleep with me when we camp, so it's fun for them!
I think you're on the right track. I helped a buddy acclimate his puppy to camping/hiking with us and he started with exactly what you are doing. I know a lot of people aren't agreeable to my next suggestion... but... Bring a long leash and ground peg, hook them up as soon as you get to the camp site and only let them off after you've seen plenty of wildlife to gauge their reaction (or hold the leash). My buddy very quickly agreed to give it a shot after his Belgian Malinois darted after a forest critter... twice. Took about three trips before she could be trusted to not run off into the darkness!