Summer in the Northwest would not be complete without a camping trip to your favorite secluded spot. While the smell of pine trees, the crackling of a campfire and sleeping under the stars may sound blissful to you, the new experience could be scary for your dog.
If you have just adopted your furry friend, it is particularly important to develop a bond with them before hitting the great outdoors. Make sure your dog recognizes your voice and responds to their name. Keep in mind that your new dog may have never been camping so the unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells could leave your dog anxiously yearning for the comforts of home.
This doesn’t mean you have to forgo your favorite outdoor adventures. With a little preparation and practice, camping can be a fun and bonding experience for you and your pet.
Tips for Success
- Try a practice “camping trip” in your backyard to see how your dog reacts to being in a tent or sleeping in an unfamiliar place.
- Master basic training – sit, stay, leave-it, paw handling and recall.
- Make sure your dog has proper identification.
- Practice good camping etiquette – stay with your dog, keep him/her leashed and interrupt barking behavior.
- Keep your pet away from blue green algae in lakes and other bodies of water. It is toxic to dogs.
- Pack a bed for your pet, a first-aid kit and booties if your dog is trained to wear them.
- Have realistic expectations. It may take numerous camping trips for your dog to get used to the experience.
- Puppies are too young to camp since they lack immunities and risk picking up a serious illness. Check with your veterinarian to make sure your dog is healthy enough to camp.
Questions about taking your dog camping? Call our free pet behavior help line at (503) 416-2983.
Tanya Roberts is the Senior Manager of the OHS Training & Behavior Department and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Tanya continues her education by attending seminars and trainings so she can provide clients with current, scientifically-based information. Her best teachers continue to be the wonderful animals at the Oregon Humane Society, who she works with regularly during their stay.