Monday, August 24, 2009

How to Introduce Your Dog to Your Tent for the First Time

I advocate for bringing your dog with you whenever you can. Backpacking poses an interesting challenge for your dog if they aren’t used to sleeping in a tent yet. Here are some ideas to get your dog interested in the idea of sharing some ground space with you: (be careful and use your own judgement here- if your dog is too much of a handful this may require further adjustments and treats)

Misty in Tent

Get them tired

This should be your first step with them, because you don’t want to introduce them to something new like this when they still have tons of jumping around energy. Go for a nice walk, play catch, read a book together- get them pooped out.

Pitch your tent somewhere familiar

If your tent is freestanding try pitching it in your living room or a familiar grassy area. Move around freely and normally while you are pitching it. Next open up the door or doors if you have them and let Fido go in and out as they please. Another idea is to put a favorite toy, pillow, or blanket in the tent so the dog can smell they smell inside it too. Practice getting in and out together- give them treats and praise. If you can do this more than once that would be helpful.

Misty in Tent

Show them where they should sleep

Dogs sometimes need pointers about what you want them to do. They won’t know right off the bat that you want them to sleep down by your feet (if that is where you choose). Get a blanket or pillow that smells like them and show them that you want them to sleep there. Use encouragement to get them to sit there and relax. Maybe a belly rub even.

Misty's Spot in the Tent

Misty's Spot

We have our dog so used to sleeping in tent she tries to sneak in all the time. Sometimes I need to unzip the tent to throw something in and she's right there trying to get in for bed time.

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