There was a Peanuts cartoon when I was a kid that involved a dog, who I can only assume was Snoopy, trying to get into various human institutions like stores, pharmacies and hospitals, only to be met with a hand-lettered sign and a low, booming voice intoning "NO DOGS ALLOWED."
Luckily, the modern world is a little more welcoming of our 4-legged friends than back in the 70s when I was a kid. Dogs now accompany us to cafes, museums, airplanes, and all manner of once exclusively human places. I think this is just a measure of how the human-animal bond has changed over the years, with dogs and cats moving towards a more central role in our lives.
One place where dogs are more welcome lately is at the campground. Fewer dogs are being left at the kennel and they can now accompany us on camping trips with the family. While this is good news for the pets, it presents some new challenges. How do you keep your dog at the campground? How can you keep them from wandering off your spot and causing problems for other campers, or even worse, getting into trouble themselves? Before you fire up the station wagon and head for the lake, there are a few pointers about containment to keep in mind to make sure that all goes well for you and the dogs.
Keeping Your Dog Safely Contained: Wireless Fences for Camping
If you have an in-ground containment system at home, you know the safety and peace of mind that comes with knowing your dog is trained to respect the boundaries. As long as you camp where there's an outlet, you can have that same convenience and safety while you're camping!
A portable wireless system gives your dog the same training combination of audible cue signal then static correction that she respects at home. All you have to do is plug in the small, portable transmitter, and set the power to the right level to enclose the space you're camping in. Don't forget to pack the training collar as well.
When you get to the campsite, lead your dog around the perimeter to where she hears the training tone and she'll learn the boundaries of your campsite quickly. Your campground neighbors will thank you, and your dog will be happy you've taken their safety seriously.
Here are a few more tips for a successful campground experience for you and your dog:
- Have an exit strategy. If one of the dogs should take ill or get injured, make sure you have a way to safely get them to medical help. Knowing where the nearest emergency room is located is not a bad idea.
- Watch out for the other guy. Not every dog is as friendly or accepting as yours. Before you let your dog play with a strange dog, get to know their demeanor and stay on guard. Be especially careful when there is a size difference between the dogs - big dog on little dog violence is a common and potentially deadly occurrence.
- Take it easy. If the day is hot and humid, sit it out - this is not the time to take the dogs on a forced march. If your dog's idea of regular activity is sauntering over to the food bowl to see if any new kibbles have magically appeared, a 5-mile hike is not the place to start your commune with nature. Start with a stroll around the campground and work up to longer adventures. Hot, wet weather can precipitate heat stroke, and is especially hard on short-nosed dogs like bulldogs, Pekingese, and pugs.
- Be prepared. Bring along food, bowls and any medications your dog is on. A favored bed might make for a quieter night if you have room. To avoid waking at 3 am with a cold nose in the small of your back, you might want to consider a separate "dogs only" tent. A dog first-aid kit is also a great idea to bring along!
- Leave the nature in nature. Make sure to clean up after the dogs and don't let them chew up too much wilderness. They may want to go run after a squirrel, but make sure that the dogs don't get up to too much mischief so they'll be invited back again.
- Don't bring home unwanted insect pests. Nature is chock-full of insects that would like nothing more than hop on your dog and follow you home. Fleas and ticks live in grass and underbrush and just sit there waiting for an unsuspecting dog to stroll by. Applying a topical flea/tick treatment before camping can help make sure that your family doesn't experience an insect invasion at home. Check pets for ticks after walking in the woods and pull off any that you find.
Camping is a great way to unplug, relax and spend some time bonding with your family whether they have 2 legs or 4, and with the ease and safety of a portable wireless fence, your dog can come with you and know the boundaries of the campground. Just remember a few simple rules, and you'll be safe and happy the whole time.