4 min read
5 Fun Activities to Do When Camping with a Dog
By Mel Lee-Smith
Published: 09/30/2020, edited: 09/07/2022
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When you're camping with dogs, it’s hard to continually conjure up original dog-friendly activities to keep your pack entertained. If you're in search of activities to reignite excitement on trips with dogs, you've come to the right place!
#1 Scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are a great way to occupy your time while camping with dogs, and setting one up is super easy.
While your dog is distracted, get a headstart on preparing the scavenger hunt. Use natural vegetation, sticks, and rocks to obscure some exciting finds. You can even bury some hard rubber toys or balls a few inches down for pups that dig digging.
Switch up the treasure, alternating between treats and an array of exciting toys. A variety of plushes, squeaky toys, rope tugs, and treat dispensers will keep things interesting! Toilet paper tubes work great for hiding small morsels of food too! You can even "glue" the treat to the inside of the tube using a bit of peanut butter to increase the difficulty.
Be mindful of other campground guests when scavenger hunting. If you're in close quarters, you might need to make this a leashed walking trail activity. Finding the treasure will thrill your pup but watching them zoom about is the best part! Scavenger hunts might just become a new tradition when camping with your dogs!
#2 Take a narrated hike with your dog
Adding narration is an exciting way to spice up hikes and learn the history of your temporary home while camping with dogs. Audio tour guides can teach you the little-known facts and chilling lore of older campgrounds and parks.
Look for podcasts, audiobooks, video tours online about your park's history to listen to while you hike. It's a good idea to download the files to your smartphone before heading out, especially if the park is known to have poor reception. This way, you don't lose your narrator mid-hike when the story gets juicy.
Can't find anything online that relates to your park? Download some creepy ghost stories for a fur-raising adventure! Your dog probably won't take an interest in the area's past or paranormal history, but they'll love learning about the woodland creatures and natural landscape!
#3 Try SUP with your pup
SUP, or stand-up paddleboarding, is a mash-up of surfing and kayaking, and dogs go crazy for it! This low-impact sport is a fun new way to explore your surroundings and bond with your fur-babies while camping.
Paddleboards are pretty expensive, so we suggest renting one from a water sports store if you're new to the hobby. When picking a board, select one with a decent grip — your pup will need a solid surface to hold on to.
Most paddle boarding doggos get their start practicing onshore. Allowing your dog to explore the board on dry land will make the transition to the water a lot easier.
You'll need a decent (and water-tested) doggy life jacket when Tucker's ready to test their sea legs. An ill-fitting life jacket can raise the risk of drowning and water aspiration, so make sure your pup has a proper fit.
Fido is bound to fall off when practicing. Just encourage them to shake themselves off and try again. Lots of treats and praise will inspire your dog to keep pushing, and soon, they'll be a pro puppy paddler!
If you're looking for something new and adventurous to try when camping with dogs, geocaching might be it. This game is a modern spin on traditional scavenger hunts. All you'll need to get started is a smartphone with GPS capability, the free app, a compass, and a pen. Packs who really want an immersive experience can use trackable geocoins, tags, and cache kits.
The game is simple. You'll open the app and search for geocaches near you. Once you've found a treasure nearby, leash up Fido and use your GPS to help you locate it. Take your pup's fitness level into consideration when choosing a cache since some locations are more strenuous to reach. This game is best for areas with good phone reception since you'll need GPS to get the most out of it.
Geocache makers are creative and camouflage their cache boxes well. You may find one under leaves or one built to look like a birdhouse — this is where Fido comes in! If someone recently visited the cache, Fido may catch their scent and lead you right to the treasure! Bring some tasty treasures of your own to reward your pooch when they spot a cache.
Geo coins or trackable tags have tracking numbers that users can trace online, find where they come from, and what the original owner wants the finder to do with them. Sometimes, geocache makers will put coins that have yet to be activated in caches for geocachers to take and hide.
Geocaching isn't strictly a camping activity, either — these are hidden all over the world! No matter which way you're headed, geocaching is a new way to add excitement to potty breaks and rest stops when traveling with a dog.
#5 Sniff out seashells by the seashore
With a sense of smell thousands of times stronger than humans, it's no surprise dogs are so good at sniffing out animal life. Why not put Sassy's skills to the test with some beachcombing?
Besides shells, woofers are "furrific" at spotting beached critters like horseshoe crabs, starfish, and jellyfish — don't let Fifi get to close to those last ones, though. Seriously, there's no telling what you might find! You can even start a collection of souvenirs from beach trips with your dogs!
There are also some safety issues you should be aware of when beachin' with your doggy. Although they might look and smell delicious to your pooch, seashells are a choking hazard and can cause dangerous gastric obstructions. Shells can easily shatter teeth if Fido decides to crunch on them. Eating sand and drinking the salty seawater can also cause health problems, so keep an eye on your pup to make sure they're on their best beachside behavior.
If you love camping with dogs but are running out of fun ideas, check out this list of even more exciting camping activities!
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