My dog is sort of awesome. She is also sometimes completely insanely ferocious or a pathetic fraidy cat. Not being sure which one I would get whilst camping, I wanted to do a dry run before we took a trip with other people that would potentially have to be aborted if she freaked out.
We headed up to Kettle Moraine state park for an overnight stay. We have a pretty small car, so we had to put the sleeping bags and pillows in the back seat with Minka. She thought this was great because we made her a giant bed.
Minka loved the hiking and lake portions of the camping trip but was fairly confused by the rest of it. Why are we still here? Why aren’t we getting in the car? Why am I tied to this tree? Why does everything smell weird? Why can’t I go over there to pee on that tent? Why are the chipmunks not afraid of me?
We brought toys and basics with us but learned quite a few things.
Bring a bed.
We didn’t bring a separate bed for her, so she was never quite sure where to settle down. Her bed from home would have been familiar and let her know where she should park it when she wasn’t trying to eat chipmunks.
Swim early enough to dry off by bedtime.
You know what’s unpleasant? Sleeping with a wet dog.
Don’t let your dog hang their head out the window.
Erin’s tip is to keep the windows up when you’re moving fast or on the highway; your dog can get particles in her eyes, and you know you don’t want to explain that to the vet.
Bring something to chew on.
We brought things to chase and squeak but nothing that offered a sustained chew. A rawhide bone would have been a good activity for when we were cooking dinner or just hanging out. Minka was too keyed up to really sleep outdoors like she would normally do when nothing in particular was going on, so having a low-key activity would have been soothing to her.
Know your dog.
Sallie’s dog Maggie got really freaked out by being in a tent because she could hear and smell so many things but couldn’t interact with them. She was fine in a camper though, because it was more secluded. Minka just wants to be with her pack, so she was perfectly happy as long as she was close to us, and she curled up and went to sleep in the tent as soon as we all got in.
I was pretty sure that she would be OK with camping, but I wanted to be positive before we went with a group and potentially inconvenienced/abandoned other people. Now we’re prepared to make sure everyone has a good time on our next trip.