Keeping your dog busy at camp has many benefits.
When your dog is entertained and mentally stimulated, they are less likely to become anxious, get underfoot, harass wildlife, bark excessively at other campers, or run away.
Of course, taking your dog for frequent walks and hikes will help keep them tired and relaxed but there are things you can do without leaving the campsite too.
Below are some suggestions.
Ways to Entertain Your Dog That Require Your Time and Attention
There are ways you can engage with your dog at camp to help provide mental stimulation and tire them out.
1) Playing fetch
Tossing a ball or frisbee for your dog to get and bring back to you is a fun way to exercise your dog.
If your dog is not trained to immediately come back when you call, use a long line to keep them from running away from the campsite.
2) Teaching your dog new tricks
Use your time at the campsite to teach your dog new tricks, such as sit, stay, or roll over.
This can be a fun and rewarding activity for both you and your dog and will help tire them out mentally.
3) Playing hide-and-seek
Hide-and-seek is a fun game that can help strengthen the bond with your dog and improve recall.
Start by having your dog stay in one place while you hide somewhere nearby.
Then, call your dog’s name and see if they can find you.
Once your dog finds you, reward them with a treat or toy and a happy dance.
4) Setting up an obstacle course
Set up a little agility or obstacle course using items found in nature, such as logs or rocks, and ask your dog to jump over them, crawl under then, weave through them, and balance on them.
This activity can provide exercise, improve your dog’s problem-solving skills, and improve their balance.
How to Help Your Dog Entertain Themselves at the Campsite
Sometimes, you need to keep your dog busy and entertained while you do something else like cook, visit with friends, or set up camp.
Here are some ways you can keep your dog busy that don’t require your constant interaction and attention.
5) Puzzle treat toys
Probably the simplest way you can entertain your dog at camp without having to be involved yourself is with a puzzle treat toy.
You can ask your dog to lay on their bed and then give them a puzzle toy, snuffle mat, lick mat, or stuffed treat toy.
These toys often require problem-solving skills and provide mental stimulation.
6) Treasure hunt
Dogs have a way stronger sense of smell than we do, and they love to use their nose.
When your dog isn’t looking, hide a few of their favorite toys or treats around camp and then turn your dog lose to sniff them out.
This game can provide both mental and physical exercise.
7) Reinforce relaxation
Whether you practice the “place” command, and reinforce relaxation, at home or not, you can use time around the campsite to reinforce or begin training on this.
Place a dog bed or elevated cot in an area of the campsite where your dog can see you.
Then ask your dog to lay on that spot and stay for longer and longer periods.
This exercise will teach your dog to self soothe and settle on their own.
Be sure to give breaks in between where your dog can burn off a little stress (asking them to stay in one place will take a lot of self-restraint) before asking your dog to do it again.
Keeping a dog occupied at a campsite can help prevent them from becoming bored or anxious, and it can also make your camping experience more enjoyable.
Hopefully, these suggestions provided the answer you’re looking for or helped you brainstorm and come up with your own ideas.
Remember to always supervise your dog and make sure they are safe and comfortable at all times.
Additionally, make sure to clean up after your dog and dispose of waste properly.