The term dog camp makes most people think of a facility that is basically the next step up from a standard kennel, where you can take your dog for an extended stay while you go off on vacation by yourself. But the truth is there is much more to the term than meets the eye. In fact, there are quite a few different camp experiences that you can enjoy with your dog if that is something that interests you.
Much like summer camps for kids, these are places that offer organized schedules of events that can include agility training, canine sports or just fun outdoor activities for you and your four-legged friend. They can range from day camps to overnight camps that span a course of several days or even a couple of weeks, and they can include everything from training lessons to seminars to communal meals and other events that bring you together with like-minded dog lovers.
It can be difficult to plan a family vacation when you own a dog, as many traditional vacation venues are not dog friendly. A dog camp allows you to avoid this problem because it is designed specifically to include dogs. This can be a wonderful opportunity not only to socialize with other dog lovers but also to improve the bond between yourself and your dog by working on communication and trust through specialized activities.
Some camps are geared specifically for those who are into serious agility training and competition. They may feature demonstrations or seminars by agility professionals who can instruct you on how to develop the proper communication with your dog and improve your agility skills. There might be classes focusing on certain agility equipment or broader training that allows you to prepare for the rigors of competition.
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If you're interested in a more laid back, recreational vacation with your dog, then you might choose a dog camp that is less structured. These camps can include instruction in dog massage, open periods for swimming, hiking or just relaxing and mess hall style dining facilities that allow you to spend time with fellow campers.
Still other camps may include courses in clicker training and basic obedience. These can be particularly useful for owners who want to work on specific issues their dog may be having such as extreme shyness or overly aggressive behavior. You can sometimes work with your dog in both leashed and leash free settings to help him learn how to overcome his problems and get along with other dogs better.
Because there are such a variety of options available, it is important that you do your homework before choosing a camp. Consider what your objectives are and what various facilities have to offer in terms of activities as well staff. Is the staff well trained and are there veterinary services available? All of this can factor into your eventual decision.
Whether you want a quick getaway or are looking for an extended vacation opportunity that includes your dog, there is a dog camp that will fit the bill. So the next time you make vacation plans, don't assume that your four-legged friend can't come with you. See what camps are available and you just might have the experience of a lifetime for the whole family!