All dogs react to one thing or another. Your dog may go crazy when a stranger walks by the window, whereas your neighbor’s dog barks only when someone rings the doorbell. Regardless of the trigger, taking your dog camping may heighten his senses and have him unleash a barkfest you haven’t heard before. Even the most chill of dogs may react to things going on around a campground. Don’t let the fear of your dog barking at everything deter you from experiencing an outdoor adventure with your pets. Camping with your dog is a great time to bond with your pet and explore new environments. Here’s how you can take to the outdoors and not lose your mind from all the dog noise.
How To Find Dog-Friendly Campgrounds
First and foremost, look for a dog-friendly campground. A few websites can help you find campgrounds that welcome pets.
- The National Park Service has an interactive map of parks across the nation that allows pets and those that prohibit them.
- BringFido.com, lets you search for pet-friendly campgrounds, parks, and other places you can take your dog.
- GoPetFriendly.com helps you find destinations, including beaches, mountain getaways, and road trips for you and your dog.
- DiscoverTheForest.org allows you to search for hiking trails and camping sites.
Tips for Camping With Dogs
Campgrounds that allow pets have rules. Following these rules so you don’t become “that” pet parent who ruins the party for everyone. Some of the most common rules include:
- Leash: Keep your dog on a leash at ALL times. This rule keeps your dog safe and prevents him from running away. Exceptions include sleeping in a secure place like an RV or a fenced-in dog park or play area.
- Poop: Pick up after your pet. When nature calls, you must answer by picking up after your dog. It may not seem like a big deal out in the wilderness, but pet waste left behind by hundreds or thousands can become a hazard to animals, humans, and the environment.
- Noise: Do your best to keep your pet quiet. Nothing can ruin an enjoyable evening out under the stars than the continued barking of an unhappy dog.
Camping With a Dog That Barks
Think about it, the amount of stimuli in the wilderness is enormous and probably overwhelming for your pet — he has no choice but to react through barking. Before you give up hope of camping with your dog, there are a few things you can bring along and things you can do before and while you’re outdoors to help alleviate his stress and frustration.
Dog camping essentials
- Bring along your dog’s favorite toys and other items he finds comforting, like a blanket.
- Don’t forget plenty of healthy dog treats.
- Always carry a doggy first aid kit.
- Make sure you have fresh food and water.
- Pack some paw balm or conditioner.
- Bring vet-prescribed anti-anxiety pet meds, if that’s what causes your dog to bark.
- To reduce overheated dogs, pack a small battery-operated or rechargeable portable fan.
- A handheld ultrasonic training tool like the BarxBuddy.
The BarxBuddy ultrasonic trainer can come in handy whether it’s your dog that is incessantly barking or it’s a nearby neighbor’s dog. If you’re new to ultrasonic training for controlling dog barking, this resource on “New Ways to Stop Dog Barking” will help.
Things To Do Before You Camp
Check the weather conditions and prepare ahead of time. Don’t let a thunderstorm surprise you or scare your dog. Prepare by bringing along whatever calms your dog, like a thundershirt, blanket, or anti-anxiety medications.
- Walk around the campground and meet the campers and their pets.
- Exercise your pet every day. Get out and get your dog moving. While the exercise may be different than back home, he still needs to burn off excess energy.
- Let him explore the area. When you take your pet around and explore his new, albeit temporary, environment can help reduce his anxiety.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. Watch out for wildlife (animals and plants) at all times when out camping with your dog. Never let your pet drink from stagnant water, and exercise caution around ponds, lakes, and rivers because they could be contaminated with blue algae.
- Be watchful for poisonous plants as any one of these could make your dog sick and cause distress. Other things to be alert for include injury to your pet’s paws and ticks in his coat.
- Include your pet in your activities. When you bring your dog camping, be sure to include him in as many pet-friendly activities as possible. Doing so can keep him distracted from things that bother him, provide exercise and mental stimulation and allow you bonding time.
- Watch for allergies in your dog. Dogs like people can suffer from seasonal allergies. Not feeling well could exacerbate your dog’s unhappiness and barking.
- Practice camping out in your backyard. Although you can’t copy all the nuances of a campground, you can get somewhat close at home. Invite over a few friends or family members and their pets. Set up a fire pit and keep your pet leashed at all times while interacting with the other “campers.”
- Reinforce good behavior with lots of praise and treats.
- If noises bother your pet enough to get him barking, try and settle him down in your tent or RV with a small portable fan. It may help cover up the outside sounds.
- If your dog’s barking is non-stop, use your handheld training device to interrupt his behavior (with a high-frequency sound that humans can’t hear) and redirect him with a command, then offer a treat when he complies. You could also use the device to interrupt barking from other dogs at the campground that aren’t yours.
- Be patient with your pet. Understand that the environment is new and brings with it a world of new stimuli. If your dog enjoys being outdoors, over time, with more experience camping, he will begin to settle in and focus more on the experience with you than barking at every little thing.