In my past posts about backpacking with dogs I gave pointers on what to bring, etiquette, and sleeping arrangements. Letting your dog sleep in the tent with you while camping is a great way to insure that they sleep safely. At the same time, letting your dog sleep in your tent takes a little preparation.
I have some more tips on how to get your dog to sleep in the tent with you here. Keep in mind, you should really use your own judgement about your dog and their ability to sleep in the tent with you. I used to have a wild Dalmatian and it would have been next to impossible to get her to sleep in the tent with us. That in mind here are some other ideas and tips:
Watch the nails
Prevention is key here. Keep your dogs nails short and trim and you will have less incidents with them ripping open your tent or sleeping bag. This tends to be the thing that concerns me the most, since even the best, most well behaved dogs can rip a sleeping bag open.
Bring patches for things
Keeping your dogs nails short helps prevent a ripped sleeping bag, but sometimes it’s just going to happen. I always have things on hand that I can use to patch my tent or sleeping bag. Duct tape also provides a solution for the times that you are really in a pickle. Small clippers on hand can take care of ripped nails too.
Get them good and tired (have them carry a backpack)
The best way to introduce your dog to tent sleeping is to get them really good and tired first. Backpacking or hiking all day, playing with dog toys, whatever you have to do to make Fido good and tired will aid in everyone’s rest in the evening.
Bring a blanket for them (and toys)
Have a small blanket or towel on hand (sneak it into their pack when they’re not looking!) for the dog to sleep on at the end of the tent. I know, that is pampering a dog a bit, but in the beginning it helps. Be prepared though, they eventually weasel their way up onto you, your sleeping pad, or bag by morning.