By Dr. Becker
If you're wondering where to go on vacation this year and you have a furry best friend of the canine persuasion, I have an idea you might want to consider … dog camp!
Now, camp isn't for everyone, so your dog should enjoy hanging out and playing with others of his species (and their owners).
He should also respond to basic obedience commands, including coming when called.
You'll also want to do some research and find a camp that best suits you and your pet, since there are different styles and overall themes to choose from.
Most camps seem to offer something for everyone, from the canine athlete to the lapdog – but you may want to contact the camp directly to get a sense of the intensity of activities.
Some camps attract overachievers, while others are geared more toward fun and relaxation.
If your pup is a youngster, he should be well socialized before he packs his bag for camp.
If your pet is older, he should be easygoing and agile enough to withstand a little rough play from younger dogs.
Large breeds should know how to treat smaller dogs, and the little ones shouldn't be overly fearful of dogs much bigger than they are.
Here are a few camps you might want to check into, starting on the east coast in Vermont, moving west all the way to Washington state.
Five Dog Camps from Coast to Coast
- Camp Gone to the Dogs. Camp Gone to the Dogs features a summer camp in Marlboro and two fall camping sessions in Stowe. The list of activities is impressive and includes obedience training, all kinds of canine sports, and even puppy kindergarten. You can attend a workshop on Tellington Touch (TTouch), a lecture on how to read your dog's body language, or you can take a guided off-lead nature walk.
Accommodations in Marlboro are either Marlboro College dorm rooms (the summer camp is held on the grounds of the college), cabins in the woods, a nearby inn, and off-site pet-friendly hotels. In Stowe, the camp and accommodations are at the Mountaineer Inn, an upscale property with home-cooked meals.
Lake George, New York
- Canine Camp Getaway. From their website: "From agility, Frisbee, hiking and swimming in the dog-friendly pool to lure coursing, scent detection, "Barks & Crafts" and classes in Canine CPR, dog nutrition and so much more, this resort vacation offers something for everyone!" And when you're finished with all those activities, you can enjoy "Yappy Hour" in the dog-friendly lounge!
The setting for this camp is the Roaring Brook Ranch, with a backdrop of the majestic Adirondack Mountains. Rooms at the ranch have all the comforts of home. Meals are included and feature big breakfasts, casual lunches, and gourmet dinners. If your dog has restaurant manners, she can join you in the dog-friendly section of the dining room.
- Camp Dogwood. Camp Dogwood runs spring, fall and winter camps that include a great selection of sports, training and recreation activities like agility, freestyle dance and dock diving. They also offer more leisurely pursuits – beach parties and relaxing around the campfire, for example. You can also attend any number of presentations and demonstrations on subjects as varied as canine nutrition to dog massage.
Accommodations include cabins, lodges, tent camping, and off-site dog-friendly hotels.
Lake Tahoe (south shore, Stateline, Nevada)
- Camp Winnaribbun. Camp Winnaribbun holds two summer sessions back-to-back starting in late August. Activities you and your dog can enjoy include tracking, off-leash nature walks, swimming, and flyball. You can also dabble in psycho-cybernetics and canine homeopathy and healing techniques.
Accommodations at the camp are dorm-style, rustic log cabins, complete with bunk beds. If you're not into bringing your own bedding and other supplies, there's plenty of off-site lodging in the area.
Lake Wenatchee, Washington
- Maian Meadows Dog Camp. Maian Meadows hosts a summer camp and one in the fall. Unlike the other camps listed here, this one is all about play. The structure is loose and free, intended for those who primarily want to enjoy time with their dog in an off-leash, rustic setting. There's a private dock and beach, hiking trails, a ropes and challenge course, organized games, seminars and contests.
Accommodations are very basic. Cabins sleep 8 to 12 in built-in bunks and have no electricity, heat or bathrooms (there are two separate buildings which house toilets and showers). Communal meals are eaten at a large dining hall.
A few other dog camp possibilities: