"We like camping better!" --Raymond Alexander Kukkee

view of the north shore Critter Pond, KOA Canandaigua NY [c] 2009 jcb

Camping with your dog -- a new experience for us

by Jim Bessey

Camping with Layla the dog, happy in her camp chair
Our husky/lab mix, Layla, likes camping and camp chairs
Until this year, we had never camped with a dog before. We didn't have a dog, so that was an easy choice. In February, we rescued our sweet girl, Layla, through the wonderful services of Lollypop Farm. She's young, about a year and a half, and full of energy. So far, she hasn't spent much quality time with other dogs.

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?


  1. Anonymous1:52 AM

    Thumbs up guys your doing a really good job.
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  2. I too was worried when I took my dogs camping for the first time, but they had an absolute ball. My little white Bichon loved nothing better than rolling in the old campfire left by the previous occupants. We had to keep washing him in the lake.

  3. You did a great job! Much respect for rescuing Layla. I think it is very generous of you. I think the dog is really happy being around you guys. A great testament to how much caring you were doling out for her.

  4. Anonymous10:35 PM

    Kudos! Great post and adventure. ANd I have to say you are too kind. Be bless!

    "What I like about camping is you can get really dirty." Unknown http://campingcactus.com

  5. Anonymous2:08 PM

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  6. It's great that your precious dog, Layla, loves camping. Looking forward to your future adventures with her! Kind regards.

  7. Anonymous5:46 AM

    Thanks for sharing it think you had enjoyed it very carefully with an excitement event.Really i have enjoyed it hardly..camping food for dogs .

  8. Thank you for sharing this blog! My husband and I take our dogs everywhere we go and its so hard to find a hotel to accommodate dogs. We recently decided that if we were going to continue traveling we needed to get a home away from home so that we could take our fur babies with us. So we researced and purchased a Class C RV from http://www.bigdaddyrvs.com Now we just drive till we find a spot that looks like a great place to camp and stay the night. Believe me my dogs are much happier this way. Thank you for the very interesting blog!

  9. Teresa, that is so cool!
    Glad you were able to work things out for the best.
    Funny, we just took a trip with our dog and stayed in a very nice motel room--all three of us. She did just fine, though she did spread fur-shed everywhere. (We left a nice tip.)
    Then, just last weekend, we stayed overnight in a private residence while attending Parents' Weekend at my son's college. Turned out, our dog would have been welcome there, too. Not so much on the campus, tho... :-)

  10. It is surprising how well dogs behave outdoors. I also have a dog, and I have taken her with me once. He was very happy, but a bit overwhelmed by all that was going on around him. He was full of energy and running around for the first hour, but then ran out of energy, and was very quiet for the rest of the trip. I would recommend everyone to bring their dogs with them for camping, it is a great experience for everyone involved.

  11. Great post! Dogs always have their way to our hearts, don't they?