Labor Day is almost here and many of us are going to take off for camping trips with the family and of course the family dog. While out camping with my family I have seen dogs and owners who aren’t prepared for the camping experience.
I most often see dogs barking at other dogs or passerby’s, while they are outside at their own campsite. Dogs who have plenty of exercise such as long morning or evening walks during the camping trip are less wired and more pronged to relax while at the campsite.
Treats will also do the trick to keep your dog from barking at passerby’s.
Work on the “watch me” command using treats to gain your dog’s focus while other campers or dogs are passing by. Owners can also use the “down and stay” command and reward with treats while they stay in that command.
Another mistake campers make is allowing their dogs to approach other people and dogs without permission. Some dogs have their own insecurities, which could cause them to be aggressive. Your dog may be very friendly, but not all dogs are.
Never have your dog off the leash while anywhere in the campground, unless you are in a secured area and are permitted to have your dog off leash. Bring plenty of poop bags with you wherever you go.
Camping allows for a great opportunity to practice all your obedience commands with your dog. While on early or late walks, don’t let your dog pull on the leash; have your dog sit before greeting any site visitors; make your dog wait at the door of the RV or camper before going out; practice long down stays while other people walk by or ride their bikes past you or call your dog back to you while engaged in sniffing a new, foreign object. Always keep a bait or treat pouch with you to motivate your dog if he or she gets distracted.
It’s also a good idea to have your dog crate trained when you go camping. If you go somewhere while on the camping trip where your dog cannot join you, such as off site for dinner or out on a lake during the day, then they can stay safely in the crate. For tips on crate training read our article, “Crates and dog runs,” at http://www.itsadogsworld.biz/index.php?id=94.
Most campgrounds require dogs to stay inside a tent or RV when an owner is not present or require dogs are never left alone. These are important factors to consider when planning your camping trip and the activities that you plan on engaging in. Ask yourself, if your dog will be able to participate and if not, will he or she be able to stay at the campground safely?
Exercise pens (also known as x-pens) are great to take along with you to contain your dog within while you are busy preparing food or enjoying a game of cards. Pet tethers, which dogs cannot chew through are also great, although you may need to have two sizes; a 10 foot tether and one under six feet so you have the right size if there is not enough room for the dog to be on the longer tether. It’s a Dog’s World makes short pet tethers four feet long, since stores do not sell any under 10 feet.
When planning a camping trip with your dog keep in mind some campgrounds are very pet friendly and even offer fenced in park areas for off leash play, while others are not. For example, we camped at Silver Strand and while the campground itself allows dogs in all the surrounding areas, areas immediately around the campground do not permit dogs. There is a tunnel that leads from the campground to a bike trail that goes all the way into Coronado, and the tunnel also prohibits dogs. There is no other way to get to the bike trail except through this tunnel. So if you want to go into town (Coronado), you must take your car with your dog. We did take our Standard Poodle into town and went to a park, which had minimal shade expect for a small grassy area. I wasn’t there for more than a few seconds before a senior citizen police volunteer told me dogs were not permitted in the park. I was literally on the outskirts of the park, next to the public sidewalk standing in a small bit of shade! He told me that dogs were not allowed in any of the parks within the City of Coronado. So it wasn’t too fun to take my dog with me camping there since I was relegated to my actual campsite with my dog. Overall, I give the City of Coronado two thumbs down for “pet friendliness.”
We also recently visited KOA (who tends to be more pet friendly, but KOA rules vary from one site to another) in Ventura. It was in the mountains so we had fairly cool, moderate weather and it didn’t get too hot for the dog. There were great trails to walk on with my dog and tons of other people had also brought their pets. There is even a little creek that you can allow your dog to play in. Although, beware of the resident peacocks and a small cat that rules the campground; it may not be a good idea to take your dog if he or she is highly reactive to animals/cats.
Some fun things to do when you stay at KOA Ventura are visit some of the local attractions. The Ventura Harbor is a fun outing with plenty of shops and restaurants where you can sit on the patio with your dog.
Oxnard Shores Beach in Ventura, which you can enter on 5th street, is dog friendly; however dogs must be on a leash. Harbor Cove Beach, located on the West end of Spinnaker Drive is also dog friendly to all sizes. Dogs are also permitted on the six miles of Ventura City Beaches and on the long wooden pier, but are not allowed on any of the beaches south of the Ventura Pier or on any of the State beaches. Dogs must be leashed and cleaned up after at all times.
Cafe Nouveau, open for breakfast and brunch, located at 1497 E Thompson Blvd in Ventura, has pet friendly patio dinning with plenty of trees and shade. You can enjoy pineapple upside down pancakes or delicious French toast with sausage.
Full of Beans, located on Seaward Ave in Ventura is another dog friendly place to enjoy breakfast on an outside patio. They brew fresh Santa Barbara Roasting Co. coffee creations and are known for their daily baked pastries. You can also surf the web for free here.
Reference this web page to view more places, including restaurants with patio dinning, pet friendly shopping centers and more dog friendly beaches. http://www.dogfriendly.com/server/travel/uscities/guides/w/cities/wonlinecityCAVentura_-_Oxnard.shtml.
Santa Barbara is another great dog friendly place to visit. El Capitan State Beach allows dogs of all sizes for no additional fee on campsites only, although dogs are not allowed on the beach. Dogs cannot be left unattended and must be leashed at all times. There is a dog walk area at the campground. You can make reservations on-line at http://www.reserveamerica.com/campgroundDetails.do?subTabIndex=0&contractCode=ca&parkCode=elca.
Cachuma Lake Recreation Area is another dog friendly camping site to dogs of all sizes and breeds for $3 more per night. Dogs cannot be left unattended, must be leashed at all times and current with vaccinations. The shore area is not dog friendly as dogs cannot be closer than 50 feet to shore. Call (805) 686-5050 for reservations.
Keep in mind a few must brings when camping with your dog:
Plenty of poop bags, leashes, collars, training collars, pet tags with ID, license info if your local animal shelter provides this, copy of shot records in case there is a mishap and someone needs to see it, medication, plenty of water, bowls, dog food, pet bedding, x-pen, crate, brushes, flexi lead, pet tethers (two sizes), sunscreen if you have a light or short coated breed that is sensitive to the sun, and Frontline Plus to repel fleas and TICKS! You may want to have your dog vaccinated against Lyme Disease as well prior to your trip. Make sure your dog is current on Bordetella as they can get kennel cough easily being around other dogs while camping.