Too many dogs were getting yelled at in my campground today. They were barking, whining, and generally carrying on. Parents and kids both were shouting for their dogs to “knock it off.”
I get that camping with a family and with pets is overwhelming. And I get that these dogs were irritating. I found them irritating, from a distance. But the yelling wasn’t working. The dogs kept on doing the irritating things they were doing.
And the yelling wasn’t fair either.
Those parents sent their kids to the beach, the whole family went bike riding, there were campfires and s’mores. I bet there were coloring books and decks of cards at the ready in case of rain. Most of those kids had other kids to play with, and were having a great time.
The dogs on the other hand, were relegated to a pen or tie out, alone, in an out of the way corner of the campsite. It is no surprise they were acting up. They were in solitary confinement and were bored. For some of them, the yelling was probably the most interesting part of their day.
So, I got to thinking about what folks could do to help Rover be less of a pain, and to save themselves from all that yelling. Here are some ideas for making a camping trip fun for your dog:
- Set up your dog’s pen near the action. Put it next to your hammock or beside the picnic table so that your dog doesn’t have to be alone.
- Crate train your dog and bring the crate along. For many dogs, their crate is their happy place. Why not bring it? It’s a good way to confine your pet in a safe and comfortable place. And for some dogs, it helps them stay calm.
- Make sure your dog gets lots of exercise. A tired dog is a good dog. Look for a campground with a dog beach or a big pet area so that the two of you can enjoy a good game of fetch, and Rover can burn off some energy.
- Bring along things for your dog to do. Bringing a range of interesting chew toys for your dog is like bringing along a deck of cards for the kids. The idea is the same, keep them busy doing something that you want them to do.
- Or, how about challenging your kids to teach Rover some new tricks on the camping trip? That way you can keep them both happy and busy.
Sometimes it’s just too much to manage kids and a dog. That’s OK, we’re only human. Maybe the right thing to do is leave your pup with a friend or relative or at a trusted kennel. After all, camping is supposed to be fun!
Do you have any suggestions for keeping your dog be happy and well behaved when camping?