by Jim Bessey
|Our husky/lab mix, Layla, likes camping and camp chairs|
On our first camping outing with our dog, we were worried. We stayed close to home at KOA Canandaigua, a place we've stayed at many times before. We weren't sure what to expect. Would she bark the whole time? Whine all night? Would she even be willing to sleep in the camper?
That first trip, we brought her food but forgot her dishes. We did remember to bring a short cable tie-out, one short enough to keep her safely on our site. I bought her a brand new rawhide bone to keep her happily occupied. We even brought an extra camp chair just for Layla.
Turns out, we needn't have worried so much. After a tour of the resort, with a chance for our dog to make a few friends, we took her to a run-free area provided by the campground and let her loose for a bit. She tired of that soon enough, and was perfectly happy to return to our campsite.
We have a cupboard full of old pans, so the no-dishes problem was easily solved. She did bark loudly and predictably whenever another camper strolled by with dog in-tow. But she also calmed down on command and eventually got used to having walk-by visitors. She loved the hiking/biking trails, too.
she didn't like the well water there
Nighttime brought the ultimate test. I had visions of tethering her outside, where she'd sleep in her new favorite "cave" -- under the camper. Our camper's pretty small, but it turned out she really liked sleeping inside with us. Luckily, there's another "cave" in there, right under our queen-size bed. Though she was up and ready to go out fairly early (7 am!), she passed the night calmly, sleeping.
We've had two more trips since that first time. Once for five days at Spruce Row Campground (she didn't like the well water there), and a return trip this past weekend to the KOA. She still barks at passing dogs, and she doesn't like it much when I leave on an errand. Otherwise, camping with our dog has worked out just fine.
I'm very glad that Layla likes camping. Now that we've done it, I can't imagine going away without her. The thought of boarding her while we're off camping doesn't appeal one bit. She's good company, and faithfully guards our campsite the whole time. Funny, though -- she's always happy to hop back in the truck and cruise on home when we're done camping.
How about you? Do you camp with your dog(s)? Have you had any weird experiences doing that, or have any great advice to share?