The next time you decide to go for a weekend camping trip, bring your rescue dog along. Getting a rescue dog is a good deed and an exciting new chapter for both of your lives, but at first they will need proof that you will always be there for them. One of the best ways to bond with your new dog is to try new activities with them, and give them a sense of purpose. As long as you make sure that they don’t have too much fun off-trail or in deep, wild water, camping can be a great way to do just that.
Practice recall skills with your dog
Your rescue dog may already be trained, but spending a couple of hours in your backyard practicing “come” can’t hurt. Practicing recall skills will be important for an off-leash hike, and will help to solidify the beginnings of a strong bond. Have a human assistant hold your dog still while you present a treat from a hundred feet away and say the command “come” just once. When they’ve mastered that, go inside and hide around a corner while your assistant creates a distraction. Say the command and reward them with another treat when they come.
Feed your dog at regular intervals
Rescue dogs need consistency to feel secure. Get to know the food that they are most comfortable with at home, and keep them on a daily schedule. That way when you’re camping, even though the environment has changed, your dog will feel anchored by their routine. Plus, they will trust you all the more for meeting their expectations no matter where they go.
Bring the right gear
Like a regular feeding schedule, dogs need to feel like they have everything they need while camping. You don’t need to pack much to make them feel comfortable as long as you get the right gear. A saddleback to carry their food or meds, an outdoor dog bed and a good portable bowl could be all that you need to make your dog feel at home in the woods.
Make the most of it
Spending a camping trip with your rescue dog is an opportunity to bond with them every second for a whole weekend. Experience a change of scenery with your new best friend and have an adventure that will strengthen your relationship. As long as you’re prepared to help them feel secure, it should be a blast.
Article by: Jane Anderson, a freelance writer, editor and dog owner