However much you love adventures and camping, I will guarantee your dog loves it more than you! Days are filled with an endless smorgasbord of new smells and new experiences and to top it off your exhausted pooch gets to curl up next to you for the whole night!
With a little work romantic nights with your pooch are totally gonna happen!
There comes a little ground work if you want to make this an enjoyable experience for all the humans involved. The key is training and having your dog master some basic commands that you’ll end up using around camp, and the rest comes down to planning out the extra gear you need to take. None of these commands are new and your dog doesn’t have to be a Crufts champion to join in your next camping trip however; if your dog won’t listen to you round the house you can’t expect them to listen to you when there is a whole new world of smells tempting them to ignore you.
Manners go a long way! Let’s face it, without manners your dog is still going to have a ball, but it’s a sure-fire way of never being invited camping together again and that’s definitely not what we are going for here. By manners, I mean, not jumping up all over people, not showing aggression towards people or other dogs, and also the ability to be and remain quiet. As the dog’s owner it is up to you to keep the dog under control and teach these manners as it will prevent, at least; embarrassment for you and make your encounters with others a positive experience.
Stop Command – This should stop your dog in their tracks and they should turn to you for further instruction. This is one of the most important commands to keep your dog safe and it should be responded to instantly.
Come, Heel & Behind – These may be self-explanatory, however these basics are good to keep your dog under control and help with the manners identified above. Not everyone you encounter will love your dog and some may well be scared and so bringing your dog to heel when there are others around will be appreciated by all.
Leave It – This command can be used to teach your dog to leave anything alone. It could be curious wildlife, dead animals, your dinner etc. With repetition your dog will learn that even though these things are around, they are not allowed to play, eat or roll around in them.
Quiet – Nothing will ruin your trip or annoy others like a dog who will not stop barking. The noises of sharing a tent and night time wildlife can be enough to keep your dog on edge the whole night so you will need to teach your dog to ignore and accept all these new noises that they are going to encounter Barking madly at every movement outside is not how things are done!
On Your Mat – Go to your mat and stay there until I say you can leave. This is perfect for round camp when you just want your dog out of the way. You might be preparing, cooking or eating food and so its good manners to keep your dog from begging or annoying others. A mat can be anything you designate but to the dog it is a comfortable place to relax and sleep, so this command also comes in handy in the tent. Having a designated mat helps to enforce that the tent is a quiet place for sleeping, as an excited dog will tear your tent floor to shreds or disembowel your down sleeping bag in no time.
Having these down pat will mean a much more pleasant camping trip - one you will defiantly will want to repeat - often!!
Next in the series is all about the gear to make nights in the back country cosy as!
Written by Iain 'Backcountry' Graham:
Iain, and his two Kiwi Conservation Dogs Rein and Brew, thrive on the challenge of a good adventure, and over the past 12 years they have been camping, hiking, climbing, canyoning and mountain biking their way around our backcountry. For them, adventure is a way of life and as each one ends there's always one lined up!