Sunday, October 18, 2009

Camping with Your Dogs: Part III--Strategies for Happy Pups and Happy Families at the Campground




(c) photo copyright Carrie Boyko 2009

Alan and Tanner Lead the Way

Before you read this post, you may wish to check out Part I and Part II, to get the story and my tips in the order they were intended.

Never before sleeping in such tight quarters with hubby and 3 dogs, our first night had me a bit on edge. The gang had enjoyed a nice walk around the town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and another at the campground. Nothing like some vigorous exercise to make for a tired and hungry dog that will be ready to rest after a good meal.


Dinner was put off till later than usual, due to our delayed arrival and subsequent set up of the RV. While both of us are experienced campers, we are inexperienced at RV life. We quickly learned that tent and VW buses don’t transfer all of the same lessons. Fortunately, we quickly and smoothly made all the hookups for the RV.


With the hookup complete, our son arrived with a delicious barbeque dinner, Southern sweet tea, and homemade brownies (Yes! My son made them). My organic eating vow went down the toilet for that night.


The pups were happy to be served their well-earned dinner and take a final walk before bedtime. Since darkness had descended we had to deny their plead to explore, but morning brought light to a beautiful campground and an enjoyable exploration of the lakefront.


Darkness helped, but eliminating their visibility sent the message: sleep time is here. By closing all the privacy curtains, the dogs had little outdoor stimuli that had had been present when we first arrived around dusk.


Exhausted, we were all asleep within minutes of settling on our best-suited sleeping locations. We offered Xena a spot hat mimicked her favorite bedtime spot at home. Tanner spent the night on the comfy, child-sized bed. He wisely knew he might be stepped on if he slept on the floor.


Oliver’s crate was placed in the bed with the door open, and he spent most of the night inside of it. He did snuggle up to me in the wee hours when the chill was more noticeable, but returned to the crate each time I adjusted my position. Weighing in at about 9 lbs., he knew he better steer clear when there was a possibility of getting rolled over on.




I’ll wrap this up quickly now. Before our return home, we enjoyed:


  1. a lakeside hike where we saw a family of ducks enjoying a swim with mom
  2. a visit to Barker Field, an off-leash park in Richmond, Virginia, that features a pile of finely ground mulch for digging, climbing and jumping, as just a few of the fun activities. Imagine a dirt pile and a group of boys—same concept!
  3. a 2 hour hike around the beautiful, historic Richmond area called The Fan. This city certainly knows how to do parks. Florida needs to take some lessons from them.
  4. a beautiful nature trail hike through the woods at Pocahontas State Park, south of Richmond, was the highlight for all of us. A gorgeous, cool day for hiking through the woods in fully shaded, heavily treed areas is a winter night’s dream for a Floridian. For us, winter is defined as January 1-February 15….maybe. 
  5. Miscellaneous short walks around campgrounds and the towns we visited made for a nice exploration for all, particularly the dogs, who enjoyed the smorgasbord of new sights and smells.
So, what's my message? I'm guess I'm pulling a Cesar Millan again. There is nothing like exercise to assure a calm, happy dog, and it seems to have had the same effect on me and hubby. Great stuff!





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1 comments:



Eric said...

Sounds like an awesome trip with your pups! I am intrigued about barker field. It sounds like a perfect place for dogs to blow off some steam. I am going to look it up right now. My sister lives in that area, so it may be worth a trip. Thanks for the post!

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