If you are going on a tent trip for the first time with your dog this summer, we have some good advice you can take with you on the road! Text and photo: Therese N. Andersen
Tent with dog
Hammock? Under open sky? Tent? All the options are equally nice and each has its own charm. But if the dog is not used to taking part in overnight trips outdoors, it is often easiest to sleep in a tent. Then you have walls around you when you go to sleep, the dog does not have as many things to follow as when you sleep in the open air, and it may be easier for it to calm down.
A little luxury?
The first tent trips can be taken out when good weather has been announced. Later you will be able to appreciate all types of weather, but the first tent trips are about building good experiences and not least the joy and desire to sleep outside. Then it is allowed to realize that you are not Lars Monsen on the first trip, but rather plan that it will be comfortable and a little luxurious for both two- and four-legged.
Test the equipment
A lot of unforeseen things can happen if you are going on a long trip. It’s boring to be far to the mountains without phone coverage and realize that you actually do not know how to set up the tent or light a primus for the first time. The first tent trips are often best to go in the local area. Pack the equipment you need for a longer trip, practice and you will have good experiences! Maybe you had something totally useless with you on the trip? Or maybe you were missing something absolutely essential?
Equipment that can withstand dog claws
If you are going to take the dog with you into the tent, you may want to not cut your nails right before the trip. Then the claws become extra sharp. You may also want to buy a robust version of equipment (not the lightest) for a little more resistance to, for example, holes in the inflatable sleeping pad or sleeping bag with dog claws in mind. If you have a calm and obedient dog this is no problem. Just ask the dog to lie down in the designated place. However, if you have a wild and more unpredictable dog, you should take precautions, possibly cover things that can be punctured inside the tent.
It is often significantly colder in the mountains than in the lowlands. In the lowlands, mosquito nets and mosquito spray for the dog may be the most important thing you take with you, but in the mountains a short-haired dog may actually need a blanket even if it is summer. What you need to pack for the dog (and yourself) depends entirely on where you are going to camp, the robustness / fur quality of your dog and of course the season. If a lot of wind has been reported, for example, there are not as many mosquitoes.
Make the dog happy
If the dog is tired, full and satisfied, it is often easier to get him to calm down in the tent site. If it is hot, let the dog have a cooling bath, if it is cool, feel free to give it a blanket and something to lie on to find peace.
Food and liquid
A tent camp that is close to the water source makes camp life much easier. Then you and the dog can take a cooling bath, it will be easier to cook, do the dishes and the dog will drink when it needs it. If you are going on a trip in the summer heat for several days, the easiest way may be to bring dry food or freeze-dried dog food. This weighs little, takes up little space and is durable regardless of temperature. If you are going to walk very far and the dog is going to pull or carry a hoof, it should get a little extra fat in its food. Dried dog food such as rumen strips, dried meat or natural chews such as pork ears or beef muscle contain a lot of protein and can be good supplements to give as a snack or when the dog is to be calm at camp.
Stable – teach the dog to relax while working
– Regardless of hiking ambitions, it will be very practical to teach the dog to be stabled. For longer trips, the dog will recover better when it gets a good rest and it can be practical not to get “help” from the dog when the tent canvas is set up or the fire is to be lit.
Most often, the dog can be involved in most of what we do, but sometimes it is practical to have a dog that relaxes even if they are not involved in everything we do outdoors. It is easiest to start this training if your dog is tired after a long walk. The procedure is a bit like alone-at-home training of a puppy:
It’s about letting the dog be tied up for such a short time at a time that it does not start protesting or panicking for not being with you. Then gradually increase the time. In the beginning, you can also give the dog a chewing bone when you tie it. Find a place where the dog can see you and where it can lie comfortably. If there are several other dogs with you, it may be a good idea to let them get some distance from each other the first few times so they do not try to play with each other, then it is difficult to calm down. You can also ask the dog to “lie down”, and give it a treat every now and then to be calm.
You can advantageously practice this otherwise in everyday life as well. Tie your dog within reach while doing other things outdoors. It is very comfortable with a dog that relaxes instead of standing to complain or gear up because it is not allowed to join. If you have a dog that gnaws on the leash, you can go for the purchase of a light chain or wire so it does not get gnawed over its leash. This can be purchased at a car theme or at dog sled shops.
Enjoy the ride
The most important thing about tent trips is to enjoy yourself! It does not require any equipment or knowledge! Enjoy the chirping of birds and the sound of the water from the stream. Sit down with your dog and look out over the water and feel the sun warm in your cheeks. Enjoy the silence and the moments. This is what makes hiking and sleeping outdoors something very special.
Packing list for the trip
- Foldable bowl
- The blanket or sleeping pad
- Mosquito spray for dogs (Centura)
- Chain / wire for housing
- Energy boost for dog for longer walks
- Freeze-dried food
- Chewing bone
- Harness for safety on steep trips
- Paw socks (If damage occurs or preventive in demanding terrain)
- First aid equipment for you and the dog