I’ve always loved camping. There is just something about sleeping outside, among the bugs, creeping nighttime creatures, and the occasional excitement (like that time a bear poked me when I was hammocking in Kentucky!).
When I adopted Galley, I had a pretty good feeling she’d be a great camping dog. She spent her first months in the woods, so she is a happy girl when she’s able to just be outside. When I first took her camping, she loved it, and seemed to love that her person was inside this nice spacious (to her…it is a two person tent!) crate-like-spot.
Pinot on the other hand, is a whiney little dude. Hence the name. Wine-y? Get it? He gets frustrated easily, and while he is pretty good off leash, I don’t trust him 100% yet, so there would be tethering (umbilical cord!) involved in any camping we do.
As anyone who’s worked with dogs before knows, tethering/leashes/boundaries can create or enhance frustration and tension. Something that I have been focusing on with Pinot is relaxing. I’ve been approaching it almost like mindfulness. Instead of blindly reacting to things we find uncomfortable, why not make peace with it first and then analyze it to see if we can change it? I’ve found that dogs trained using shaping and capturing — thinking dogs — have an easier time with this, since they are already used to problem solving.
Anyway, I’m writing this from my campsite. Both dogs are sitting calmly, one on my lap, one between my knees, looking out over a wide open field. We’ve seen a herd of deer…yes, we barked! And then we settled. I just realized I haven’t said a single word to them since we woke up. Haven’t needed to. Now, I’m sipping coffee as the sun warms us up, and frankly, there is not much that could be better than this.