Taking Your Dog Camping May Not Be A Good Idea [OPINION]
During the pandemic, my husband I decided that we were going to bite the bullet and buy a camper. It had been something we wanted to do for years., but felt like we were too busy to actually be able to use one enough to justify buying one.
Let me tell you, making quality time a priority, and focusing on us and our family instead of working all the time, was the best thing we ever did. For us, a camper made our quality of life better than it had ever been before.
I'm not sure, it's what is best for our dogs though. We have two dogs, Lola and Ruby. Our bigger, older dog Ruby, really only likes to be at home, sleeping on her big, comfy dog bed. She's getting up there in age and doesn't like any other dogs other than Lola. Dogs walking all around on leashes at a campground would make her crazy. She is fierce about defending her territory and protecting her family from all things. We love her so much, but we realize that camping would not be good for her. We haven't even attempted it. She gets to stay at home where she is comfortable being loved by my son and his friends.
Lola is a different story. She has gone camping with us every trip but one. That's her, in the photo, on my husband's lap at Harmonie State Park, near New Harmony IN. See her posture, at attention, and alert? That is how she is the whole time. It's like she is scared of everything. It's like she is afraid we are going to leave her behind. The new smells and people really do a number on her. She won't eat the whole weekend.
We aren't giving up, there are times when she seems to be relaxed a little. You know, not so much barking and more curling up on one of our laps around the fire or in the camper. And, let me tell you everyone loves Lola and she is so good with kids. All the kids want to give her love and she is ok with it.
What I'm trying to say is that all dogs, like people, are different. Some are campers, some are not. I've seen some dogs having the time of their life and totally comfortable living indoors, but vacationing outdoors. On the other hand, I have seen some that are very anxious and aren't comfortable with all of the outdoor sounds and smells. If your dog will be more stressed camping than if you leave them for a few days with a family member, sitter, or border, don't take them camping. I know you always want them with you, I get it. But, you must do what is best for the dog. Even the extreme heat, depending on the dog, can be miserable.
One more thing, if your dog barks all the time, you must remember that not all people are dog people. We love the sounds our sweet puppies make and sometimes we are so used to the barking, we don't really hear it at all. But, others who paid for campsites too, that want to relax and unwind, will have a miserable time listening to your dog barking constantly.
Just be courteous and respectful to your campground neighbors and to your dogs, too. If camping isn't their thing, it's ok. Don't stress them out just because you like to go camping.
We are still going to try to get Lola more comfortable with camping. Cross your finger. I'm going to follow her lead. I'll keep you posted. Until then, Happy Camping!
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