How to Create an Outdoor Dog
You love to hike. You have a dog. It looks like she likes the outdoors, but she also likes to sleep. A lot. And eat. A lot. And did we mention sleep? So how do you know she will make a good adventure pup? What do you need to do to train the next star of Camping With Dogs? We’re like dog whisperers. We can help.
Ask if your dog wants to lead a life of exploration and adventure and animal scents and steep descents. When she cocks her head in confusion, put on your excited voice and use words like “Walk!” “Car!” “Go!” Leash!” “Treats!” “Dinner!” If her enthusiastic tail wagging knocks items off the table and their excited yips summon the neighbors, you have your answer. If they give you the side eye and go back to sleep, remember that adventure cats exist too.
You’re on board, your dog is on board, now it’s time to hit the trails! Hold up, partner. Not so fast. Do you venture out into the wild with no gear? We didn’t think so. Fashion Fido with a warm coat and booties in the winter months. Fit Fido with a pack so she can carry her own food, water, and snacks. Fix Fido up with a new leash that’s long and durable. And if Fido will be accompanying you on overnight adventures, don’t forget to grab collapsible bowls and her own sleeping pad.
Find A Trail
Willing pup, overflowing gear closet, now is it time to hike? Not quite. While you adore your furry friend and want her to shadow you everywhere, she’s actually not allowed on every trail. Some wilderness areas are designated watersheds that don’t allow dogs, some have delicate ecosystems, and some have stricter leash laws than others. Do some research and make sure your destination is Fido-friendly.
Take It Easy
Dog, gear, destination—check! Now you’re ready for an adventure! You’re going to put the car in park, exuberantly throw open the car door, and Fido will be the happiest, most energetic dog in the Western Hemisphere. But while it may appear that your dog can hike forever, take it easy. Remember all the times you went out strong and then bonked on the way back to the car? Take plenty of breaks for water or snacks (we know, that’ll be hard for you).
You decided to go all in and take Fido backpacking. Awesome! Go big or go home, right? Once you pick the most perfect, Instagram-worthy campsite, give your rockstar adventure dog some food and water and let them settle in while you set up camp. Then once your tent is set up, invite her inside and let her check out her new digs. Almost every dog will be overjoyed at the idea of sleeping side-by-side with their best friend, so don’t worry too much there. Your biggest issue will probably be her hogging the sleeping pad.
Reap the Rewards
You wake up in your tent nice and toasty because Fido snuggled hard with you last night. You eat breakfast together, pack up camp together, and happily hike back to your car together. At home, you unpack your gear and occasionally check on your pup, who hasn’t moved from her spot by the fireplace in hours. Success!