What do you do when your canine camping companion goes on a barking binge, disrupting your desire for some well-deserved peace and quiet?
First of all, you should keep in mind that you can’t ever stop your dog from vocalizing their thoughts and feelings. While dogs don’t vocalize nearly as much as humans do, they are bound to let slip a “woof” or two to communicate with you. For them, barking is completely normal behavior.
However, excessive barking can become a huge problem, especially if you’ve set up on a campsite surrounded by other campers.
Reasons Why Dogs Bark
Before you and your pooch can work towards preventing excessive barking while camping, you need to know why the lively tyke may be barking in the first place.
- Alarm barking is when dogs bark because they perceive a nearby threat. Unfortunately, territorial, fearful, or anxious dogs are constantly on edge and will start barking bloody murder when someone or something enters their territory (in this case, your campsite).
- Dogs also like to bark for attention when they need or want something from you, such as food, water, or playtime. Furthermore, dogs can start barking for attention when they are extremely bored.
- Distress barking happens when dogs, who are innately social animals, are left alone for long periods. For example, you might tether your dog to a pole, leave them locked in your RV, and go off on your own adventures. Distress barking is especially pronounced in dogs with separation anxiety.
- Playful barking is akin to a child throwing tantrums when their parents take away their toys. For example, if you suddenly stop throwing their ball or tugging their rope, your dog might hit you with a woof as if to say, “what gives?!”
- Some senior dogs may bark at nothing for no apparent reason, such as barking at an empty wall. This “reasonless barking” is due to cognitive dysfunction that appears with age.
Besides this list, countless other reasons might drive your dog into a barking frenzy while camping. Hence, you need to be able to recognize your dog’s barks and what they mean.
Your job as a responsible dog owner and a good camping samaritan is to address these reasons.
5 Tips to Stop Your Dog From Barking While Camping
If you want a peaceful and trouble-free retreat with your furry friend, you need to ensure that they don’t raise a ruckus. Here’s how.
1.Train your dog to stop barking
Before the camping season approaches, you need to train your dog to stop barking. The goal isn’t to condition your dog to stop barking altogether but to listen to you when you tell them to stop.
Admittedly, training your dog to stop barking is way more complicated than training them to sit or roll over. Barking is often an emotional response rather than just a physical act. So, you’re really training your dog to momentarily dissociate from their emotions and prioritize your command instead.
2.Choose an appropriate campsite.
In the great outdoors, your pup’s sensitive nose and radar-like ears are constantly bombarded with stimulus, which might overwhelm them.
What little you can control is secluding yourself from other campers, especially if you have an antisocial canine. You can do this by choosing a campsite with trees and bushes between each site to minimize your dog’s perceived territory and keep others out of view.
3.Choose an appropriate camping season.
An appropriate camping season can mean two things.
First, you can choose a less busy camping season, so there are as few people on the campsite as possible. Second, you want to ensure that the weather agrees with your dog’s coat type. If you have a thick-coated dog, taking them camping in the pelting sun is a recipe for disaster as they will keep barking from the discomfort.
4.Don’t tether your dog by the neck.
If you must tether your dog, don’t tie them by the neck. Once your dog starts barking, the pressure around their neck can agitate them further. Thus, your dog will enter into an endless cycle of distress barking.
Hence, you should utilize a body harness instead.
5.Exercise your dog daily
Your dog can be the most active barker in the world. But, if they’re mentally and physically exhausted, they won’t so much as perk their ears at the sight of trouble.
So, let your dog tag along on hikes and runs, or give them their fair share of playtime to dissipate their energy.
If your four-legged friends want to tag along with you on your camping trips, they must learn how to conduct themselves properly. Training them not to bark is the ideal solution but difficult to attain.
The next best thing is minimizing external stimulus, especially other campers.
If it comes down to it, simply leave your dog at home, especially if they’re older or prone to anxiety. As much as you love them, you’ll only put them in more distress by taking them camping with you.