By Natalie Lester, Brand Marketing Specialist
In the last few weeks, we’ve given you a camping checklist and hiking advice if you want to hit the trails with your pet this summer. And, if you need a little more inspiration, you can learn so much from our associate photographer Jennie. She and her family take their dog, Rowdee, on camping trips every summer.
I recently had lunch with Jennie and racked her brain for the best advice. Here is what she had to say.
1. How long have you been taking your dog camping?
Rowdee has been going camping with us since he was a couple of months old. We started in tents, moved up to a pop-up camper and now we have an RV.
2. What is the most difficult aspect of taking your puppy camping?
The most difficult part of taking Rowdee camping is when we have to leave him at the campsite alone. He comes with us most of the time, but if we run to the bath house or eat at a restaurant, he has to stay at the campsite.
3. What is the most fun part of taking your dog?
It is a great bonding experience for all of us! Rowdee LOVES going anywhere with us, but especially camping! When we hike on the trails, it is a time to work on obedience training as well as have fun. Rowdee doesn’t think he is doing anything but leading us down the trails!
4. How has camping enhanced your relationship with your pet?
Whenever you take your dog camping, there are always other dog owners at the campground that immediately come and talk to you. It’s a great ice breaker, and Rowdee loves the attention. Plus, we often share tips with other doggie campers on best trails to go on, best gear to use, and so on.
5. How have you overcome the challenges of camping with your pet?
Patience. Be patient with your dog and know that once you get through the initial training, camping with your dog is a blast!
6. What is always your biggest worry when it comes to having your pet at the campsite?
My biggest worry about having dogs at the campsite is snakes and injuries. I worry about him getting caught up with a snake and getting bit. I also worry about injuries on and off the trail. Rowdee carries his own backpack with a first aid kit in it along with snake venom suction. I always know where the closest emergency animal hospital is located as well.
7. What is your favorite camping activity with your pet?
Hiking the trails is our favorite activity to do with our dog. He loves being able to explore new places (as do I!) and see new things! We always try to choose a trail that has a water feature nearby, such as a waterfall, creek, or stream. It’s a great place to let Rowdee get a drink and cool off, and we enjoy splashing our faces as well. Not to mention it makes for some awesome photos!
8. What advice would you give to any pet owner who is considering taking their dog camping?
If you are considering taking your dog camping for the first time, I would take several things into consideration:
• How comfortable are you with camping? You really want to make sure you have enough gear for yourself and you know what you are doing before you bring your dog along. That way you know what to expect when you bring your dog. You will need to think about where they will sleep, if you have enough clean water and food for them, etc. Will your dog have to stay on a leash at all times? If so, make sure you have a tie-out with a long lead so your dog can have plenty of room to relax at the campsite.
• Training: Just like us, dogs need to be physically in shape to hit the trails. Don’t expect your dog to be able to hike a 4 mile trail if this is his first time out. Make sure your dog is comfortable hiking a long distance before you set out. If he is not used to long trails, take your dog hiking on short ones at first.
• Know the rules of the place you are going before you bring your dog. Some campgrounds do not allow dogs. You need to know this before you show up with your dog! Also, some campgrounds charge for pets as well. Follow the rules and respect them so we can keep bringing our dogs there!
• Always clean up after your dog, make sure they are on a leash at all times, don’t allow them to wander onto other campsites, keep your dog quiet during quiet hours (and at all times!), keep them well hydrated….. and have fun!!!
9. What, if any, products have helped you enjoy your time with your dog at the camp ground more?
I own a PetSafe Remote Trainer, and Rowdee loves the freedom of being off leash. While we are in the campground, he stays on a physical leash, but sometimes when we are on a trail we depend on the remote trainer only. I still keep his regular collar on and when I see other people coming, I am sure to put his physical leash on as well. Just because you know your dog won’t hurt someone else doesn’t mean that others are comfortable with your dog being off leash. I also keep a Lickety Stik with me as well, to reward Rowdee when he is behaving, but it doesn’t fill him up with useless calories!
Do you have any other questions about camping with your dog? Jennie can talk about this for hours, and I won’t hesitate one minute to ask her!
As the PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist, Natalie manages The Paw Print blog and generates other brand related content including public relations and promotions. Before PetSafe, Natalie worked in the local media covering politics, education, and religion. Natalie’s puppy, Emma, spends almost as much time in the office as she does.