Taking your dog camping should be fun.
And most of the time it is.
Until it isn’t.
And that’s usually due to your dog misbehaving, or barking at every opportunity under the sun.
But why may a dog resort to barking and what can you do about it?
Well, having taken numerous dogs on camping holidays and getaways over the years, Id’ like to share with you my wisdom and top advice.
So whether you are anticipating barking or responding to your dog while away, you can help to nip it in the bud, or prevent it altogether.
What Can Cause A Dog To Bark While Camping?
Unfamiliar Sounds and Smells
Camping often exposes dogs to new environments with unfamiliar sounds, sights, and smells.
This might include other wildlife or the sounds of the wilderness itself (like rustling leaves or a distant owl hoot).
These unfamiliar experiences can make them anxious or excited, which can lead to barking.
If a dog perceives the campsite as their territory, they might bark to ward off potential intruders.
This could include people, other dogs, or wildlife.
Anxiety or Fear
Camping can be a stressful experience for some dogs, especially those that are not accustomed to being outside or in unfamiliar environments.
This can lead to fear-based barking.
Out of Boredom
If your dog is not getting enough physical or mental stimulation, they might bark out of boredom.
Be sure to bring along toys or engage them in activities during the camping trip.
Dogs have keen senses and might hear, smell, or see something you don’t.
Their barking could be a way of alerting you to potential dangers or interesting developments.
They Desire Attention
Dogs might bark to indicate that they need something, such as food, water, or a bathroom break.
Be sure to check for these needs if your dog starts barking.
They Have Health Issues
If your dog is barking more than usual and appears to be in discomfort, it could be a sign of a health problem.
It’s important to check for any signs of illness or injury.
How To Stop Dog Barking When Barking
Relocate If Possible
One of the simplest ways to stop your dog from barking when camping is to relocate.
If your dog is barking incessantly at a specific stimulus, moving your campsite could help alleviate the issue.
For example, if your dog is bothered by the proximity of other dogs or people, finding a more secluded spot might be the key.
However, remember to respect camping rules and ensure you’re allowed to relocate before doing so.
Ensure You Have Treats On Hand
Treats are not just delicious snacks for your dog; they’re also great training tools.
Whenever your dog stops barking on command, reward them with a treat.
This positive reinforcement can help your dog associate silence with rewards, thereby reducing barking incidents.
Tire Your Dog Out With Exercise
A tired dog is often a quiet dog.
Make sure to provide your dog with plenty of exercise during camping.
Long walks, swimming, fetch, or any other physical activity your dog enjoys can help expend their energy and keep them calm and quiet back at the campsite.
Reassure Your Dog When Possible
If anxiety or fear is the reason behind your dog’s barking, reassurance is critical.
Calmly petting your dog, speaking softly to them, and maintaining a serene environment can help them feel secure.
This is especially effective at night when the unfamiliar sounds and sights might cause distress.
Consider A Windbreak
A windbreak or a visual barrier can help reduce the stimuli that might be causing your dog to bark.
Whether it’s people passing by or other dogs in nearby campsites, out of sight often means out of mind for dogs.
You can use a tarp, your vehicle, or even dense vegetation as a windbreak.
Consider Getting A Crate
Crates can provide a sense of security for dogs, especially if they’re used to being crated at home.
Ensure the crate is large enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lay down comfortably.
Add a blanket or a dog bed to make it cozier.
Consider Calming Supplements
In some cases, calming supplements might be necessary.
These are typically made with natural ingredients known for their calming properties, like chamomile or valerian root.
Learn more: Zesty Paws Calming Bites Review [Do They Work?]
Train Ahead Of Time
If you are yet to leave, you can try to prioritize training your dog in a variety of environments.
This will help them learn to respond to your commands, regardless of distractions.
Gradually expose them to environments that simulate camping conditions to lessen their reactions to stimuli.
While it may be too late for this for your current camping getaway, it will be valuable for the next time you decide to go!
Limit Interactions Where Necessary
If other dogs/people trigger your pet, try to choose a camping spot/site that is a bit isolated, or manage their interactions with other dogs/people carefully.
Other Tips & Suggestions when Camping with a Dog Prone to Barking
Here are some additional tips and suggestions to help manage your camping trip with a dog that’s prone to barking:
- Prioritize Socialization: Regularly expose your dog to new people, animals, and environments to lessen their reactivity to novel stimuli.
- Maintain Routine: Stick to your dog’s regular feeding and exercise schedule as much as possible to provide a sense of normality.
- Provide a Safe Space: Make sure your dog has a comfortable, quiet place to retreat to if things become overwhelming. This could be a tent, a crate, or even your car.
- Use Noise-Canceling Dog Earmuffs: If your dog is highly sensitive to noises, consider using noise-canceling earmuffs for dogs. They can help to reduce the intensity of sounds. You can get them quite readily off Amazon.
- Consult a Professional: If your dog’s barking continues to be a problem, consider seeking the advice of a professional dog trainer or a behaviorist when you return.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.