Camping + Dog = ?
May 23, 2013 1:05 AM   Subscribe

Although a relatively straight forward question, I feel the need to preface it with a quick bit of background information. I have previously camped with a a well-trained chocolate lab/german shepard, family dog for well over a decade. Now, camping with my own, gentle giant / mini horse.

The giant goes by Cargo. He's probably around 115 lbs at the age of 2. Chocolate lab/Great Dane/Hound - big dog - extremely curious and friendly. Cargo would never hurt another dog and I'd doubt it if he would hurt a small critter.

He's camped once. It was a total fiasco attempting to control him both on and off the leash. It did not help that our neighbors were an old couple accompanied by two old dogs. Didn't work. Cargo would tear off towards the other dogs only to be jerked backwards by the neck. Once unleashed, he'd trample into the camp, greet the humans, then turns to play time with the dogs who don't want to play.

Now to the question(s). Do I attempt to allow him be off-leash, meet the neighbors, only to reprimand him for going back over? Should I reprimand him initially? By reprimand: "Cargo, NO. Bad. Cargo, NO." Hearing "no" will get his attention, however, Cargo seemingly has a mind of his own when he wants to meet another dog. He's a very smart dog. I could always work on training him to stay in the zone of our campsite. But he loves to explore. Leading to my next question.

Should I allow him to roam free while camping? With my family dog would, she would always stay near the campsite. Cargo would like to do the opposite. He wants smells, sounds, more smells. All too boring around camp.

Take home question. Bring Cargo, tie him up to a 15ft leash, leave him unleashed (find a new camping spot, suggestions?), unleash but tie up at night / in tent (he sleeps in compartment of tent)??
Leave him home. :(.

Thanks, campers!
posted by Wynkoop to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (33 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The size of your dog does not matter, there are leash laws and rules in most places for Good Reasons, and it sounds like you are keen to ignore them all. This endangers your dog and others.

Why would you want to bring your curious high-energy dog someplace he will either be under-stimulated or get into trouble?

Leave Cargo with friends or relatives who can care for him appropriately while you are away.

Your question reminds me of my neighbor and one of his dogs. The larger one is super sweet, but the neighbor hasn't trained his dogs (admits to it, just like you) and during an unfortunate incident, the larger dog bit his other dog and it had to get stitches.

No animal is fully domesticated, nor is its behavior fully predictable. Proper training helps (get on that!) as does not putting your pet into situations that are overly challenging.
posted by jbenben at 1:19 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Never allow a dog off leash in a public campground, especially one who is not highly trained, completely reliable and 100% under voice command. He may not hurt anyone but there are people who truly fear dogs, particularly of the horse variety. And his size won't necessarily protect him when he enters another dog's camp site. YOU will be entirely responsible for anything that happens, whether or not you happen to be nearby. Not fair to horse-dog.

It's not too late to really train your dog to be the perfect camping dog. Gift him the gift of serious dedicated training. You'll both be so much happier and better off.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 1:19 AM on May 23, 2013 [18 favorites]

I camp with my dog. He is never off leash for a variety of reasons. Mostly because it is the law in the campgrounds I use, but also because he will chase critters, other dogs and one time he nipped a jogger. My dog can't be trusted so I take him and leash him. We still have a good time. The difference between ours dogs is probably about a 100 pounds which of course means my dog is easier to control.
posted by cairnoflore at 1:28 AM on May 23, 2013

I think it's pretty clear from your description that you don't expect to keep your dog from bothering others-- not to mention other wildlife? (Depends where you are camping I suppose). I really think that although it might be disappointing, this is a clear cut case of leave him at home if you can, and leash him if you can't. The former is preferable out of consideration for the dog. The latter is the minimum of good manners to other campers. Disappointing but if I went camping and horse-dog was roaming, i would be pretty shocked at the owners' lack of consideration for the majority.
posted by jojobobo at 1:49 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cargo would tear off towards the other dogs only to be jerked backwards by the neck.

Since he's a very smart dog, that's how he'd learn to stop doing that, if you'd only give him the time to do so. If you think he'll be bored when he's confined to your camping spot, take him walking... you'll have to do that anyway, for toilet purposes.

As a camper, I've had to deal with other people's friendly but curious and unrestrained dogs. It annoys me to no end if they come trampling over my cooking area (possibly knocking my food over, or trying to eat it! Ugh!), slobber in my face because camping chairs are low, and then there's always the possibility that they'll pee against my tent or poop in the area where I was planning to live for the rest of the week.

You say he's friendly and I believe you. I still don't want to be greeted by your horsedog. Please keep him on a leash.

If you're looking for suggestions for good places to go camping, some sort of indication of your preferred location might help. I have no idea on which continent you'd like to set up camp.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:28 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Should I reprimand him initially? By reprimand: "Cargo, NO. Bad. Cargo, NO."

This is very unlikely to work. Even if Cargo understands "no" and "bad" as indicators that he's doing something he shouldn't (which is highly questionable to begin with), he won't know which of the many things he's doing (breathing, slobbering, walking on a bed of pine needles, etc.) is upsetting you. It's much easier to train your dog to *do* things (come, sit, stay, leave it) than to *avoid doing* things, because you can't positively reinforce the absence of a particular behavior. (It may be possible to effectively punish some behaviors, but it tends to be both difficult and destructive of your relationship with the animal.) One excellent book offers a rule of thumb that says, more or less, that if your pet rock can do a particular thing, that's not a behavior that an animal can be trained to do, e.g. your pet rock doesn't trample other people's campsites, so you can't train Cargro not to trample other people's campsites.

You should read some training books or take a class with your dog so you understand how training works, and then you should work with your dog to establish this sort of control. Until you do, you have absolutely no business letting him off leash near others in a campground.
posted by jon1270 at 2:53 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

I have no idea where you are camping that dogs are even allowed off-leash. Every place I've ever camped with dogs has required them to be leashed or confined at all times. I don't recall seeing other owners breaking the rules by allowing their dogs off-leash in the camping area (deep into the trails is another matter), and I have never had anyone bring their camping dog around to "meet the neighbors." I would frankly be appalled and extremely pissed off if you let your dog approach or enter my campsite unleashed. And if you tried to "meet the neighbors" with your dog on leash, I would firmly tell you to keep your distance, because I don't care HOW friendly your dog is, my dog is NOT friendly to other dogs when she's on her territory or on leash. She's defensive, reactive, and territorial (and WOULD be leashed because those are the rules). She very easily might get into a fight with your dog unless your dog is very respectful of other dogs' BACK OFF signals.

Do you walk Cargo on leash a lot? Because it sounds like he doesn't have a lot of respect for you and/or is not familiar with being in situations where it's not OK to run around and do as he pleases and act like a big doofus. Also, the time for your dog to move around and sniff and explore is when you take him hiking, which should be pretty easy to do for hours and hours and hours when you're camping, right? So, if you ever want to take your dog camping, I think you need to do a few things:

1) Work on basic obedience. You especially need a much better "recall" if you hope for your dog to be a good canine citizen when working off-leash, anywhere. If you can't stop your dog from rushing up and greeting other dogs, then your recall/obedience isn't strong enough. You say that you don't think your dog would hurt another dog: would you be so certain of that if your dog rushed up on a leashed, reactive dog and got his face bit?
2) Keep your dog on leash or on a short tie-out when in the campsite. If he runs into the end of the line trying to go play with other dogs--well, that's why the line is there.
3) Stimulate your dog plenty while your camping. Because you've worked a lot on obedience first, you can walk your dog around the camping area plenty to see the sights and sounds and sniff all the sniffs without him lunging and pulling like an idiot at other people's campsites, because you've trained your dog to walk on leash without acting like an idiot around other people/dogs already.
4) If you are able to instill a solid recall in your dog and you really want some off-leash time, either to play with other dogs or to explore, do so away from the camping area, and only with dogs/owners that you have arranged to play with.
posted by drlith at 3:38 AM on May 23, 2013 [5 favorites]

He's a young dog, he'll need some time. You should probably keep him on a longish leash and take him for extra hikes and wear him out as much as possible on the hikes. You can probably have him off leash in the woods if he can reliably not roam off so far he gets lost.

Always reward him for coming back or responding to 'leave it'. For a long time we carried around dog treats in our pockets for just this thing. I mean for years.

Dogs, like people, change as they get older and your dog will probably mellow out. It'll just take patience, positive reinforcement, and maybe not having things as perfectly as you'd want them sometimes--I didn't like having our dog on a leash at our campsite, I felt like that might ruin things for her. And she was probably a little bored. But we went for long walks and she ate some hot dogs and slept in the tent with us, and ultimately I think she had a better time than if we left her behind.

Not everybody is cool with dogs, especially big dogs like yours (Ours is medium-small. When she barks at people they *laugh*.)

I bet your dog is great, seriously. You just have to help him through the big doofus stage.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 3:39 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

I guess I should temper my "never been camping where dogs are allowed off leash" comment by noting that I've done dispersed and backwoods camping in national forests and other similar, undeveloped camping areas where it's ok to have a dog off-leash, but by definition you're going to have few/no neighbors in those situations (and obviously no toilets, showers, picnic tables, tent pads, etc). That may be an option if you live near someplace with dispersed camping and you are just are dying to get your dog out in the woods for some romps but haven't quite mastered the "don't be an idjit" thing yet.
posted by drlith at 3:59 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

We hike and camp frequently with our large dog. She's leashed and under our control 100% of the time. She still has fun. If she could not tolerate that, was miserable and/or was making us miserable, I'd probably leave her with friends.

It's a new situation for your dog and you, so it's an opportunity for training. Some training is very contextual for dogs, and a new environment offers the chance to broaden the context in which your dog understands and follows through on your guidance.

Places I've camped near other people, it would be a large violation of etiquette (and the rules) for anyone to allow their dog to roam free. I wouldn't even like someone to bring their dog into my campsite uninvited, because my dog won't like that and it doesn't give me the chance to make the introduction in a way that will skip the dog-drama.
posted by itstheclamsname at 4:09 AM on May 23, 2013

We camp often with a medium size dog and a Great Dane. They are always leashed on a 20ft rope anchored to a tree when at the campsite. Make sure the rope doesn't allow them to get into the fire pit. Control their barking. Cleanup their poop. Those are the rules.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:46 AM on May 23, 2013

Imagine you're camping and you're out cooking some nice steaks over the fire. Now a bear wanders over and starts sniffing around: how would you feel? Now imagine a fellow camper comes by and says sorry smokey is just so friendly he wouldn't hurt anyone.

That is how I feel when someone lets their dog wander around. I know people like dogs, and that they normally are so friendly, but I've been menaced by enough dogs out on walks in the woods now that I always carry a stout stick. If a dog gets close I put myself into a defensive reactive stance and if it keeps on coming I yell out that the owner should control their dog. If it gets within range of the stick I poke it and failing that it would get hit hard and harder if it keeps on coming closer. I would not hesitate to kill a dog if it weren't on a leash and was acting in a threatening manner. I don't understand how dog owners can always say that their dog is always so nice and wouldn't hurt anyone. Of course they are nice to you, you are in their pack. I am not in their pack so they don't have to be nice to me.
posted by koolkat at 5:04 AM on May 23, 2013

Best answer: Expecting a young dog to behave perfectly when they are going to a spot where there is likely a ton of visual stimulus and even more hey-somebody-peed-here-three-years-ago stimulus is probably an unfair expectation. That doesn't mean it needs to be miserable.

I have a 3' screw with a ring attachment I can put a lead on and if that isn't a good fit, I've also got a line with a pulley which I can use. In either case, it is the first thing I set up when I get to go camping. I get the dog setup first - even before kids... That gives him time to pee, time to drink, time to sniff and get himself comfy. That buys me some time to get the tent set up. Then it is his walk time - and that's where you want to introduce your dog to your immediate neighbors - especially if your dog might impede their enjoyment. Occasionally I need to unfurl my dog from a bunch of trees. Toys, water, treats, food, tent - those are the most important things that I need to bring for my dog to help keep him occupied. Kongs with soft dog food work wonders.

I don't leave my dog alone at the site unattended - there is always - 100% of the time someone there with him, whether it be me or my wife (kids don't count). This limits our travel away from the campsite to only dog-friendly locations... but hey, if you came camping with your dog, expect to only go to dog friendly locations.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:27 AM on May 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

IF you are using words like "trample," "tear," and "fiasco" I don't see how you might think having him off leash, and therefore under less control, is a possible option. And (as others noted) it's against the rules anyway for a variety of good reasons.

Cargo would never hurt another dog and I'd doubt it if he would hurt a small critter.

I doubt my dog would hurt another critter on purpose, but she would certainly try to chase one to say hello (or try and herd it somewhere). Imagine your giant dog running through the woods and other campsites.

When I was a neophyte dog owner, with my previous dog, we arrived at a secluded cabin area. Taking dogs off leash was allowed and our dog was good about not wandering off so we took her off leash. She ambled around sniffing things and the only other wildlife in sight were some birds. I thought to myself, "well it's not like she can catch a bird". A minute later I hear some frantic chirping and turn to see my dog with a paw on a bird looking over at me as if to say "now what do I do?" I only saw this expression for a moment because I charged over and body-checked the dog off the bird, who thankfully flew away seemingly no worse for wear.

Cargo would tear off towards the other dogs only to be jerked backwards by the neck.

Ouch. Consider getting a harness instead if your dog is always pulling.

I could always work on training him to stay in the zone of our campsite.

If you haven't trained him yet, you are unlikely to be successful training him in an unfamiliar (and exciting to dogs) environment. Get him trained first, THEN try to take him camping — on-leash of course.
posted by mikepop at 6:38 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you are a dog owner, you have the responsibility to make sure your dog is well-trained and under control. This especially goes for the owners of horsedogs, no matter how friendly they feel the horsedogs are. Your dog doesn't come when you call and you don't keep him on a leash? That doesn't seem irresponsible? You know he's friendly. The neighbor who sees a horsedog come bounding out of the woods does not. I love Big Ol' Dawgs and love dog parks and playing with dogs, but even I'm a little panicked when I see a giant, unleashed, unknown dog come running towards me.

This isn't just about being polite and showing concern for your fellow man. It's for your dog's safety, too. There are plenty of gun owners who take handguns on not-hunting camping trips for perceived safety. All it takes is for one person carrying a gun to get freaked out about your unleashed dog and that's it.

Have you thought about a harness or something like a Gentle Leader? It might make him easier to control on a leash.
posted by schroedinger at 6:40 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

"and then there's always the possibility that they'll pee against my tent..."

This has happened to me, and reading this comment brought back the rage. People consider their campsite to be an extension of their home, you are setting yourself (and/or your dog) up for some serious retribution by letting your dog run loose.
posted by 445supermag at 6:52 AM on May 23, 2013

Post a picture of Cargo! All pet questions should be accompanied by a photo.

Do more obedience training with Cargo. Keep in mind that large breeds mature more slowly than little dogs, physically and behavior-wise. I have a big dog too, 125 pounds. My third trainer, after working with him, said, he's immature and has poor impulse control. He was around two at the time. He's five now and is definitely more mature. Keep working on obedience and keep him leashed in uncertain situations. When you have a giant dog, you have to maintain more control and you have to have obedience.

No dog is 100% obedient and mine still drives me crazy when he wants to run off and meet EVERY single dog he sees. However, he knows "leave it" means no, we are not going over there to meet that cute poodle. My recall is pretty solid and I know what circumstances are most challenging. When he was a puppy, we took obedience classes at a local pet training place and later at PetsMart. He learned his commands well and performed them beautifully. In my house. Outside of my house, it was like we'd never met. Then I found a third trainer, who was expensive, and it made all the difference in the world. So shop around for the right person and make sure they have experience with big dogs.

When in doubt, leash. Work on obedience consistently in a wide variety of places and take your dog to lots of different places.
posted by shoesietart at 7:04 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Since we already live out in the middle of nowhere, it's feels like a step backward to camp in a campground where we will have neighbors closer than at home. So we normally camp on either National Forest or BLM land where you can basically camp anywhere (don't start a new fire ring, there are plenty of existing ones). You can find beautiful isolated campsites just off of or at the end of forest access roads. Do a scouting trip and identify several likely sites. You can use these as training runs, with the goal of taking the edge off the excitement of the newness of camping.
posted by 445supermag at 7:35 AM on May 23, 2013

I think you should find a dog-friendly campground where there are off-leash areas.

If you are anywhere near North Carolina, there's a place called 4 Paws Kingdom that might meet your needs.
posted by JuliaKM at 7:40 AM on May 23, 2013

Is Cargo your first dog which wasn't a childhood/family pet? It sounds like you're mostly used to dogs who are already fairly well-trained, and that you and Cargo would both benefit from taking a basic obedience class together. These classes aren't just for the dog - they're also for you as the owner, to give you a better sense of how to communicate effectively with your pooch, what you can realistically expect of them, etc. They'll also give you a lot of great tools for getting and keeping your dog's attention, beyond just reprimands (which often don't work NEARLY as well as rewards and positive reinforcement).

At the campsite, I would definitely echo everyone else here saying that you need to keep Cargo on-leash - not just for the benefit of other campers, but also for his own safety. I'm sure I'm not the only one who knows someone whose beloved dog was lost because she wandered off on a camping trip even though they were sure she would NEVER leave their sight. And from my own experience, I once had a fox come right up to our campsite; my dog at the time couldn't care less, but my current dog would have charged off after it in a heartbeat (new friends, oh boy!). All it takes is a few seconds of distraction on your part, or something too interesting for your dog to resist.

If you're concerned about they way your dog is getting jerked back by the neck when he's tied up, one thing that might help (in addition to, not in lieu of training) is a harness that makes it more difficult for your dog to pull. We have one of these Easy Walk Harnesses and it works wonders. I'd definitely test it out on walks before hand, but this might make being tied up a bit less unpleasant for your dog.

(Finally, "Cargo" is a marvelous name for a giant dog! And I'd love to see pictures if you're up for sharing ...)
posted by DingoMutt at 8:12 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think this is pretty straightforward - some initial basic training, and tether/long leash to something strong. If you're worried about him hurting his neck by jerking to the end of the leash, consider a strong, well-fitted harness. It is definitely better to bring your dog to a fun camping trip and leash him than to leave him at boring home, but it doesn't sound like he's ready to be off-leash even if that were okay in a campground.

If you haven't already, before you take him, work intensively on recall and focus. Call his name and reward him for responding, in increasingly distracting environments. "Cargo!" Good boy! Cookie party. "Cargo!" Cookie party. Rinse and repeat. Reward eye contact and attention so he'll be more responsive at the campground. Bring hot dogs or his absolutely omg omg favorite treats to the campground to encourage him to listen to you. Try to tire him out with hikes etc. before returning to the campground.

I'd definitely bring your boy camping - that's one of the joys of having a dog! He sounds like a sweetie. Good luck!
posted by walla at 8:16 AM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I personally feel it's very disrespectful to the other campers (and, frankly, neighbors at home, etc.) to let your dog roam free. Not everyone loves dogs. Many years ago I was relaxing at the campground when a new camper arrived, and their loose dog immediately bounced happily into the site and proceeded to pee on my cooler. I was not a happy camper. (Heh.)

I'll be the first to admit I'm not a dog person, but I realize how much people consider their dogs a part of the family, just as I do our cats. Yet they are not children; they are animals. I would not appreciate your dog trampling (your word) uninvited into my camp and making themselves at home, any more than you probably wouldn't appreciate me trampling uninvited into your camp and planting myself in my camp chair next to your campfire. Anyone who really wants to meet your dog will probably introduce themselves and ask.

As was mentioned, most campgrounds have a leash rule. Those who willfully ignore it are, IMHO, selfish and careless. If your dog can be happy and calm being tied up and doesn't bark excessively - remember, a lot of people go camping for the peace and quiet! - by all means being him along but leash him from the second you get out of the car until the second you get back in. Otherwise, your fellow campers will appreciate you leaving him with a neighbor or relative. Based on your description of your first experience, I would strongly urge you to consider this option, or else check out this link for a guide to dog-friendly campgrounds.
posted by SquidLips at 8:26 AM on May 23, 2013

This has "disaster" written all over it. Why don't you take option #3 and delay camping with Cargo until he passes beginning and intermediate obedience at your local SPCA.
posted by zug at 8:36 AM on May 23, 2013

I camp with my dog (a 24-pound probably-Border-Collie mutt) all the time, though we usually camp in the backcountry and not in public campgrounds. There are a handful of public campgrounds in my area that do not have leash rules. Perhaps OP has found one like this so I'll work on that assumption.

I do not think your dog is ready to be off-leash in a highly stimulative environment like a public campground. My camping buddy, who is never leashed in the backcountry, would probably be leashed in the environment you describe. Even though she is highly trained and socialized (she's a shop dog during the workweek) and reliable with recall, there are too many uncontrollable variables in a public campsite. Elderly people with fragile skin? What if she jumps up and hurts them? What if she gets a wild hair and steals some food, or worse yet MAKES food of a wild hare, which would probably freak some people out? An unleashed dog will get out of your sight: what happens when some well-meaning kid feeds her chocolate?

You should also consider the fact that some dogs will never, ever, despite perfect training, be reliable off-leash. This tendency runs strongest in hounds, who follow their noses to the exclusion of all else, but Huskies are notorious runners too. My little collie is flawless off leash; I do not EVER let my hound off-leash, even to walk from the house to the car while waving treats in her face.

You need to train your dog and learn more about what to expect when he's loose. A public campground is not the place for that. Add into the mix that he's only 2 and most dogs are hot messes until somewhere around 4 years old, and my answer is NO, you should not let your dog off-leash in a public campground.

As for the choking-on-his-collar problem, this at least has an easy solution. Pick up an Easy Walk Harness from any PetSmart. It's a harness that connects in the front of the chest. It will hugely reduce leash pulling and completely eliminates choking at the neck.
posted by workerant at 9:04 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

Leave him home.

This is the best choice.

People always over-estimate their dog's appeal to others and under-estimate the damage dogs do to a campsite.

Leave him at home or find a specifically dog-friendly camping area.
posted by madajb at 10:17 AM on May 23, 2013

Hi there. I camp with my young dog, who I keep on-leash. I also had an awesome, awesome older dog growing up who would follow me around and not go running off after things even if he wasn't on leash.

I find it useful to not try to mentally expect that I should be able to treat Current Dog like Good Old Dog. I recommend you work with your dog to be well-mannered on a leash, and keep him on one. If you can't control him on a leash, don't take him camping yet. But help him get there. If you do, I think you'll find that plus another year of growing up will make a big difference.

Also, nthing the requests for pictures of Cargo; he sounds like a great big-hearted dude.
posted by deludingmyself at 10:44 AM on May 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

I would not camp with the dog this summer, and would instead spend the year at dog training classes with an eye to a better camping experience for everyone next year. I say this because a dog who does not have flawless recall ("Cargo, COME") and the ability to drop to the ground ("Cargo, DOWN") on command is a danger to other people and to himself. You do not want the agony of your dog sprinting into an SUV or squaring off with a bear while you yell utterly unheeded commands at your companion. The dog relies on you to provide this safety through training.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:56 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

He's camped once. It was a total fiasco attempting to control him both on and off the leash.

I could always work on training him to stay in the zone of our campsite. But he loves to explore.

What DarlingBri said. I think the best course of action would be to leave Cargo behind this time and spend the rest of the year getting him ready for next year's camping trip. You'll have a better time not worrying about Cargo, and when Cargo has perfect recall, it'll be so much less stressful for humans and dog.
posted by peripathetic at 1:14 PM on May 23, 2013

There really is no question here. Your dog is controlling you. If you can't train your big dog that looks like a scary monster to other people, and is destructive and unwelcome in public places, then for heaven's sake hire a professional trainer. Perhaps you could board him with a trainer at a kennel while you camp this year.
posted by Cranberry at 1:45 PM on May 23, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all the helpful replies! Everyone has their own understanding of dog owning, training, and all things similar, providing this variety of useful advice. The insight I most appreciate are those who bring their dog to remote, less populated, back-trail camping locations.

During Cargo's first camping trip in Colorado, I quickly realized this was the wrong campsite. Again, as the first trip, I didn't know how Cargo would handle himself. He'll react to my recall. Throw in another dog, well, that'll take a few more years and a session or two of obedience class.

As a teenager, our family would travel deep into the wilderness to find prime, remote camping. It was pure bliss to roam with my two brothers around the mountains of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming accompanied by the family dog, Junebug, unwavering by our sides. I accept that Cargo cannot be compared or expected to have Junebug's mannerisms, however, with the right training, I'm confident Cargo will be our loyal camping companion. I hope to figure out a proper leash method, though, I would much rather find adequate remote camping in my native Colorado territory.

Rest assured, I have utmost respect for other campers, their space, dogs, and campsite etiquette. Cargo's mess is always picked up. He won't continuously bark. He's rewarded for doing good. I try to use positive commands while avoiding negative. Most importantly, I want to have a relaxing time without infringing on anyone else. Cargo will be taught on-leash while camping until his maturity and obedience level is on par.

Any suggestions on a high-tension, max-force outdoor leash? Cargo's a big guy.

Now, the pictures!


posted by Wynkoop at 1:46 PM on May 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

Lupine products have a 100% money-back guarantee, even if chewed.
posted by workerant at 2:26 PM on May 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Aw, he's such a beautiful boy!

As far as a great leash, I'm seconding the recommendation for Lupine products. I have a two year-old Boxer/Husky/Shepherd mix and a one year-old APBT. They are super strong pups, but I have no fear of leash failure, Lupines are apparently built for taking your elephant for a walk.

In addition to some intensive leash training, have you considered a wireless containment fence? My brother is an avid camper, and he takes his dopey moose of a 2 year-old Shepherd camping all the time. He has this portable system, and he likes it very well. It's spendy, yes, but allows them both a bit of freedom.
posted by MissySedai at 3:24 PM on May 23, 2013

I'll personally attest to anything from lupine. They claim anti-chew/anti-fray and no-dog-gone-on-it they stand by their word. When Nanuk's lead started to fray a year in to ownership, I went back to the place I bought it from and traded it in for a new one - really - no questions asked (equal or lesser value).
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:44 PM on May 23, 2013

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