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  1. #1
    Registered User C-Stepper's Avatar
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    Default Puppy's first camping trip

    Not AT related, but I have to start somewhere...

    ...My soon to be 6 1/2 mo old beagle pup and I are going camping at a state park about 2 hours away in mid Sept. I've never camped/backpacked with anyone else, including a dog, so I have a stupid question....what do I do with him when I need to shower, use the facilities, run an errand in town, etc.? Dogs aren't allowed in park buildings. I have taken him on a few day hiking trips at a nearby city park which is mostly pine needle covered and shady. We have done this on weekends, so a new thing for this camping trip will be short hikes daily, less than 5 miles a day, on flat terrain, mostly sand, for 3-4 days, and probably one day we'll go to the beach. I've downloaded the Bring Fido app, which will help me find dog friendly restaurants and such. Looks like there are several nearby.

    The ultimate goal, if this camping trip is successful, is a 2-3 day backpacking trip to the mountains in Oct/Nov time frame (he'll have to heal from neutering, surgery is late Sept but I understand that little boy surgery is a relatively quick heal). So anything I purchase I want to have lightweight in mind, as I'll eventually be carrying it all on my back and I highly doubt he'll be able to carry his own pack (he's still in that pretty silly stage).

    I did have to buy a tent, as all mine are UL and solo sized, and the new one is heavy for me (over 5 lbs and I'm female) but all I could afford right now. I need something that will protect the floor, including when we go backpacking later in the fall...any recommendations?

    Anything else I should need to know?

  2. #2

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    Pre Disclaimer** My post may sound negative, sorry in advance - I am in no way telling you to not do things with your dog, this is just my personal opinion

    Taking a dog anywhere (IMO) is a nuisance. It is a nuisance for me, and when me needs time to shower, or run in the store, now the dog is a nuisance to whom ever I have to ask to watch him for me. He also becomes a nuisance when he is barking, and others can hear him.

    Those things being said, if you are going solo then your options are to ask others to sit with the dog while you shower, go in the store etc.

    The dog should be able to carry a small backpack (After 1 year old)- I have seen many on the trail, beagles even. One thing that will help is to purchase food that is for work dogs. This will allow you to pack less dog food per day, and get more out of the food you pack.

    To protect the tent floor buy a piece of tyvek and cut it to the shape of your tent floor. a little Velcro square in each corner and your good to go. I put my dog in my vestibule while I sleep. That way when he decides he's gotta take a big ol explosive crap in the middle of the night, at least its not splatting on my head (talking from 1700 miles with a dog experience here)

    Your "anything else I need to know" clause:
    Your hiking your dogs hike, He is not hiking yours. Your trip will revolve around yes no answers that directly relate to what the dog can or can not do, or where he can and can not go.

    Check the dogs pads after every peak, different terrains can shred a dogs pads in only a couple miles.

    Understand that not everyone wants to pet, play with, babysit or have your dog beg for their food while they are eating dinner.

    People do not want a dog, especially a "silly" dog, in the shelter with their $200 sleeping pad, or their $500 down bag, or any of their other stuff. Dogs like to burry and nest, and they LOVE doing it on pads and in sleeping bags when no one is watching.

    Understand that by you saying "oh don't worry he doesn't bite" does not automatically earn the trust of all hikers. (How often I have heard that, and then as I go to pet said nice dog, it growls and snaps)

    Post Disclaimer** A lot of folks troll the dog forum here to just tell people "leave your dog at home" - - That is not my purpose even tho my post may sound harsh, it is really just the facts of hiking with a dog. Have a great time with your pup!
    Last edited by Gambit McCrae; 08-30-2018 at 11:43. Reason: corrected dog age before carrying weight
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
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  3. #3

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    Not sure I can help on all fronts but me and my two border collies do a lot of backpacking together.

    1) You are quite correct about not having your dog carry any weight yet. Dogs shouldn't carry any weight in a pack until they are around 2 years old when they are officially an adult (their joints and bones are "sealed" as it were). You can teach him to wear a pack before then and have him get used to it though.

    2) Your day hikes sound very suitable for the age and activity level of your dog.

    3) Are you leaving your car behind? Depending on the temps, and your plan, you could leave him in the car while showering etc. If this is not an option, for whatever reason, I have leashed my dogs to my pack or a bench outside and often ask a nice person to keep an eye on them...not always ideal, but I have had zero problems with this so far. As far as errands go...try to avoid them or do them beforehand.

    4) In my DCF tent I put my pad in first and I carry a shortened piece of CCF pad for the dogs to sleep on. I put this down on the floor next to my pad. The remaining space is covered with my gear. The dogs know where they are supposed to sleep and it keeps them off the DCF floor while providing some insulation. However, I have not found that their claws are actually an issue so if I didn't want to bring insulation for them I wouldn't worry too much about the floor.

  4. #4

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    Gambit has some sound advice too. I will agree with him avidly on keeping him under control. Mine under under 100% voice command at all times and never leave my side when hiking...we pull off the trail and I put them in a down-stay position when we meet others. ALWAYS. They are only permitted to interact with others on the trail if the others ask to pet them. We have made this a trail rule and habit and it works well...right up until we encounter other dog owners whose dogs are loose and NOT under control or with the owner. We had a very bad experience last year when my male BC was attacked and I'm always a little gun-shy with free-roaming dogs.

  5. #5
    Registered User C-Stepper's Avatar
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    No disrespect, Gambit, but almost none of your post reflects my situation.

    Maybe I need to clarify further..

    I'll be in a state park and day hikes of less than 5 miles, all on sand surfaces. I'll be carrying his water (won't need a lot for these short hikes), food and other gear will be in the car or at our campsite, so there won't be a need for him to have a pack. No shelters here, just my tent at a private campsite in the park. Campsites are typically pretty widely disbursed at NC state parks, and I expect this one to be no different, so there won't be interaction with others in camp so I don't see that as an issue.

  6. #6

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    Since you will have a car with you, and as long as temperatures allow, if you need to shower/use the restroom etc your pup will likely be just fine for a few minutes in the car if you park in the shade and roll the windows down (or even that may not be necessary).

    Sounds like you are thinking this through well.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by C-Stepper View Post
    No disrespect, Gambit, but almost none of your post reflects my situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by C-Stepper View Post
    The ultimate goal, if this camping trip is successful, is a 2-3 day backpacking trip to the mountains in Oct/Nov time frame So anything I purchase I want to have lightweight in mind, as I'll eventually be carrying it all on my back and I highly doubt he'll be able to carry his own pack. I did have to buy a tent, as all mine are UL and solo sized, and the new one is heavy for me (over 5 lbs and I'm female) but all I could afford right now. I need something that will protect the floor, including when we go backpacking later in the fall...any recommendations?

    Anything else I should need to know?
    Actually all of my information pertains thanks, even if all I responded with was "C-stepper, 2+2=4"...You should know that

    Quote Originally Posted by C-Stepper View Post
    Anything else I should need to know?
    "Welcome to the dog forums folks!"
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  8. #8
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    More than a few times on the Appalachian Trail, I have had unleashed dogs charge me and bark incessantly. Of course, the owners always say the dog is friendly as it snaps at my legs. Please, keep him on a leash regardless of what trail you hike.
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  9. #9
    Registered User C-Stepper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    Pre Disclaimer** My post may sound negative, sorry in advance - I am in no way telling you to not do things with your dog, this is just my personal opinion

    Taking a dog anywhere (IMO) is a nuisance. It is a nuisance for me, and when me needs time to shower, or run in the store, now the dog is a nuisance to whom ever I have to ask to watch him for me. He also becomes a nuisance when he is barking, and others can hear him.

    Those things being said, if you are going solo then your options are to ask others to sit with the dog while you shower, go in the store etc.

    The dog should be able to carry a small backpack (After 1 year old)- I have seen many on the trail, beagles even. One thing that will help is to purchase food that is for work dogs. This will allow you to pack less dog food per day, and get more out of the food you pack.

    To protect the tent floor buy a piece of tyvek and cut it to the shape of your tent floor. a little Velcro square in each corner and your good to go. I put my dog in my vestibule while I sleep. That way when he decides he's gotta take a big ol explosive crap in the middle of the night, at least its not splatting on my head (talking from 1700 miles with a dog experience here)

    Your "anything else I need to know" clause:
    Your hiking your dogs hike, He is not hiking yours. Your trip will revolve around yes no answers that directly relate to what the dog can or can not do, or where he can and can not go.

    Check the dogs pads after every peak, different terrains can shred a dogs pads in only a couple miles.

    Understand that not everyone wants to pet, play with, babysit or have your dog beg for their food while they are eating dinner.

    People do not want a dog, especially a "silly" dog, in the shelter with their $200 sleeping pad, or their $500 down bag, or any of their other stuff. Dogs like to burry and nest, and they LOVE doing it on pads and in sleeping bags when no one is watching.

    Understand that by you saying "oh don't worry he doesn't bite" does not automatically earn the trust of all hikers. (How often I have heard that, and then as I go to pet said nice dog, it growls and snaps)

    Post Disclaimer** A lot of folks troll the dog forum here to just tell people "leave your dog at home" - - That is not my purpose even tho my post may sound harsh, it is really just the facts of hiking with a dog. Have a great time with your pup!
    So, let's see...

    1. "My post may sound negative" Yes, you are right there, but you knew that.
    2. "Taking a dog anywhere is a nuisance" You are entitled to your opinion, but I take him everywhere he is allowed, not only parks but including restaurants and stores. On this trip we will not only hike the park but go to the beach and to several dog friendly restaurants.
    3. "If you are going solo then your options are to ask others to sit with the dog while you shower, go in the store etc. " Yep, got it.
    4. "The dog should be able to carry a small backpack " Why???
    5. "To protect the tent floor buy a piece of tyvek" Yep, got it. This is my one takeaway from this conversation.
    6. "Check the dogs pads after every peak, different terrains can shred a dogs pads in only a couple miles" Not applicable. No peaks, no change in terrain
    7. "People do not want a dog, especially a "silly" dog, in the shelter " Like I said, we are camping, not hanging out in shelters. I start my post by saying "Not AT related"
    8. "Understand that not everyone wants to pet, play with, babysit or have your dog beg for their food while they are eating dinner" Again, not applicable, we will be in our own campsite and not around others


    And I suppose I can guess where the nickname "Gambit" comes from

  10. #10

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    Beagles are hunting dogs so they like to chase things like squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and so on. Especially rabbits. A friend of mine had a beagle and if it got loose, he wouldn't see it for days as it went hunting. Apparently they howl a lot. That could be annoying to the other campers.

    Has the dog had any obediance training yet? An awful lot of work is required to train a dog not to run off, especially when it's instincts are to do so. Beagles are farily small dogs so I wouldn't burden it with a pack. Not like it could carry much anyway.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  11. #11
    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
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    In advance of the September camping trip, I would get him used to being left alone in the car (if he isn't already used to it). That will allow you to use the restroom, shower, do town errands, etc. Get him a Kong toy and shove his favorite treats in it. That will keep him occupied for a bit, while you do what you need to do. That will also allow him to get used to being alone in the car and not feel like he needs to bark/howl until you return. It might also help to take him for a longer stroll before you leave him alone in the car (during training phase).

    How does he do with strange noises? Do they make him bark/howl? If so, I would also get him used to being around a lot of new/strange noises and people. Campgrounds tend to be a bit noisy, so he will need to be used to being around these new noises. Another time when a longer walk first will be your best friend.

    Always keep him on a leash - at least until he has proven he will react 100% when under voice control. Many trails do require that you keep your dog on a leash. That reduces the worry of your dog heading off to check out the awesome new smells, helps keep him safe from other dogs/wild animals, and it is just being respectful of others on the trail. Teach him to step to the side of the trail (and sit) until others have passed - that will make trail life easier for you and happier for others.

    The number one thing you will need to know - have fun with your dog. I have two and they are my favorite hiking buddies. It took patience and training, but it was well worth the time spent! You are doing things right in keeping the early trips on the shorter side. The two of you will learn as you go.

  12. #12

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    Does the dog have a crate? It could be in that with a toy and a treat while you take care of business, without worries about the heat. Train ahead to avoid barking. Better, i think, than in your car.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  13. #13

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    You're on a hiking forum, some of the answers will be more specific to hiking, specifically to interaction with other humans.

    If you're on a trail, even only 3-5 miles and sandy, you still need to do a lot of the same things Gambit recommended.

    - Both my dogs were initially rescues and came with a lot of bad habits.
    - My first dog got a lot of trail debris caught up in her armpits/legpits whatever you call them. She attacked any other animal on sight, and even with professional help, never overcame this.
    - My second dog was untrained and barked at everyone. I had to spend literally months sitting on my front porch and asking strangers who walked by to come meet him. Dogs bark to get the pack leader's attention. Once you let the dog know that you've got the situation under control, the dog is happy to stop barking. The alternative is that your dog lives in fear of the unknown.
    - Dogs are territorial. When you first move a dog to a new place, they're a bit confused about what is, and isn't theirs. This makes them unpredictable, especially around other dogs. Don't count on your well behaved dog actually behaving the same way at the campsite.
    - Treat car training a bit like you treat crate training. Always make it a fun reward, and safe shelter situation where you dog is happy to hang out for a while.
    - Leash 100% of the time. I always recommend a harness with a chest attachment. They're less likely to pull, and drag you off balance, causing you an injury. I leashed my dogs to the back headrest in the car, so I could safely leave the windows wide open. Adjust the length so they can't jump out and hang themselves. Another reason for harnesses.
    - Some people are rightfully afraid of dogs, after having been bit or attacked or such. If you don't care about the other people on the trail, consider that there are quite a few lost dog posters out at trail heads.
    - Pretty much every hiker ever has been threatened, snarled at, barked at, halted in their tracks, forced to wait until the owner of a "friendly" dog has finally appeared a few minutes later who then proceeds to tell us how friendly, well trained and harmless their little growl machine is. Which is why it might seem we're dwelling on this aspect until it's been beaten to death.
    - Other times, we do run into a friendly happy dog and get the "free dog petting!" for a few minutes until the owner shows up, the danger then is hiking off and having that dog follow you, miles away from the owner.
    - Even in camps, a loose dog can destroy expensive gear at the neighboring campsite, or steal a steak, or picnic basket or whatnot.
    - Be a responsible owner, then you get to complain about all the idiots who aren't responsible owners.

    Edit: changed "windows open" to "windows wide open."
    Last edited by Puddlefish; 08-31-2018 at 07:36.

  14. #14
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    Last edited by DownYonder; 08-31-2018 at 06:39.
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by DownYonder View Post
    Wife and I have had 10 rescues in our 42 years of marriage; never less than 2 at a time. We pet-sit our friend's dogs when they travel. Our friend's dogs are welcome inside our home. We volunteer with a dog/cat rescue group twice each month. WE LOVE DOGS!!

    At no time have we ever taken one of our dogs hiking or backpacking. Why? 1) Because we always encounter other people hiking and I don't care how well trained our dogs are, WE are imposing on others by having them on the trail. My daughter, who I backpack with, had a beagle that passed away 2 weeks ago. She took her everywhere, except backpacking with me. 2) It is not fair to your dog.....you are thinking about leaving your dog in a car while showering....SERIOUSLY? It only takes 15-20 minutes for a dog to succumb to heat exhaustion and die inside a car. I know someone who recently lost their dog inside their car on a 75 degree day when they went in to grocery shop.

    https://www.canidae.com/blog/2016/08...-dog-in-a-car/
    Advice to simply not take the dog are not what this subforum is for. Read the sticky.
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  16. #16

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    I'm going to point out that you mentioned eventually backpacking with the dog.

    Car camping allows for the opportunity to keep your dog in a crate or your vehicle or both. We placed the crate in an SUV at night with the hatch up and monitored the temperature. A spare set of keys will allow you to run the car to keep the environmental temperature correct while at the same time allowing you to lock the car.

    Just a note for those using travel trailers, a couple I know own a rescue and the dog is a little rambunctious and managed to turn the stove on. Fortunately the dog was fine and the trailer did not explode. Perhaps turn your gas off on that situation.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
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  17. #17
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Is this an overnight camping trip in a state park? Or even two? Estimated 24-36 hours total?
    Get your act together. Take care of “town business” before you arrive. Skip the showers. Good practice for backpacking. The pup in a crate in your tent. Get the pup familiar with the crate now.
    If you can’t keep the pup quiet in the campground go home.
    Campground quiet hours are typically 10 pm to 8 am. The rest of us observe the quiet hours and appreciate everyone else who does the same.
    In my recent experience, dogs are quiet after 10 pm. Intoxicated campers not so much.
    Have fun.
    Wayne

  18. #18
    Registered User kestral's Avatar
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    If you have to leave dog in car for any length of time (of course not too hot, in shade, windows at least cracked) leave note on dash where you are, your cell number, when you will be back. Maybe even door unlocked because...

    I left my my dog in car with window down 4 inches, after dusk, for a 10 min dash into local grocery store. When I got back to car a well intentioned dummy was about to break my windows to “rescue” my dog. It was after dark, no risk of hot car problem. The dog wasn’t panting or distressed. I showed the rescuer that the inside of car was cool, the dog was cool, and she still threatens to call police. I asked why she didn’t just reach in to open door, she was afraid dog would bite, yet she had a big rock and was about to break the window.

    When I was at a camping area a few years ago with a shower, I took the dog with me, fastened her leash to inside of door, and showered away. She was fine once she realized the bath wasn’t for her. A carabiner is handy for attaching leash. I planned my shower for a low usage time, no other campers around. I actually felt much safer with her there.

    Enjoy your trip, dogs make the best buddies. :?)

  19. #19
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    Thanks for all the advice. He is crate trained. The crate folds up so it will fit in my car, so I will take the advice and take it for the "just in case". He sleeps in it every night and while I'm not at home (at work, errands, group hikes, etc.) He has had puppy training, so he can do the basic skills. I don't trust him to come to me yet (though he got off leash at our apartment a couple of weeks ago and came to me for treats pretty quickly) so he will not be able to be off leash. There are dog friendly restaurants, breweries, and a dog friendly beach I'm hoping to take him to. I paid for 4 nights, may be too long for a first trip and if so we'll just come home early. I haven't been to the beach in eons, but I remember there being some thorny plants on dunes and such, so I do have the worry of him getting off trail and hurting a paw. One of my biggest worries is that he will bark incessantly and annoy everyone.

  20. #20
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    Well...I guess the beach is out

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