Yes it is snowing lately and yet it is that time of year to begin camping and to think about camping. Last weekend, I went to Escalante and it was wonderful experience. My boyfriend and I both brought our dogs and it was a great learning experience for me!
Here are some great tips for you:
It is more distracting so be prepared to bring extra and possibly more powerful treats. Bringing a cooler to keep the treats fresh is great if possible. Know that what your dog knows in his home environment will change in this new and fun environment. If you like to hike you may see a drastic difference in leash walking. Remember to re-train.
Take your dog on hikes and in nature when you are not camping to prep him and get him acclimated to new environments.
If your dog likes to bark often. I would recommend primitive camping or at least camp during a time at a campground when no one is around or when the volume is low. “Look at That!” is a great command to teach your dog before you are camping and use it while you are camping (When your dog barks call him to you. Then have him look at the stimulus that he wants to bark at. As soon as he alerts and is quiet say “Look At That” and C/T (click and treat). Do not C/T if your dog is barking this will reward the barking. Eventually he will start to look at you rather than barking at the stimulus.)
If your dog barks in the car putting him in a crate and cover it with a blanket. Click and treat when your dog is quiet. Listening to relaxing music in the car if you wish. Also giving your dog a kong full of almond butter and kibble can work for part of the driving trip!
Remember the unknown can happen so be ready for that!
Keep your dog on leash unless you are confident that your dog has an excellent recall in new and distracting territory. Remember to use extra special treats (cheese, turkey hot dogs, freeze dried salmon ) for “come” when calling your dog.
Sleeping with your dog in the tent of course can be wonderful and fun. Be ready to wake up early!
Best Camping Wishes this Spring and Summer!
Johanna Teresi, Professional Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC