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Discussion Starter #1
We are planning a camping trip in late Sep in a popular park with many wildlife such as bears and wolves, deciding whether to bring the dog along. We will follow the leash laws of course, though our gal will most likely get agitated and bark at a bear or a wolf when she sees one for the first time in her life. Can anyone experienced chime in on how much of a safety concern this is?

Also do your dogs sleep in the tent with you or leashed outside or in their own little tents during camping trips? And can their paws handle walking 3-4 hrs in rough terrain per day for several days? Other recommendations and tips are welcome too, thanks in advance!
 

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Where are you thinking of going? For the most part, bear and wolves will stay the heck out of your way (unless you're going somewhere with nuisance animals accustomed to eating trash or being fed by tourists).

I keep my dogs in my tent with me. I'm a light sleeper, and wake up if they stir or sit up.

Before you go, acclimate your dog to a tent. The tent is a place for sleep, only - not goofing around or digging or playing. I went camping with husky (friend's dog) who went THROUGH the tent wall because something outside caught her attention.... that basically ruined the tent, and made the rest of the trip a mosquito-plagued headache.

If you want to share where you're headed, there may be someone here with specific insight.

I tend to be more worried about ticks and snakes than bear and wolves, but every area is different.
 

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We don't camp in parks so I'm not sure how this works. From my understanding there are restrictions on bringing pets so research well before you go.

My dogs sleep in my tent with us humans. Some dogs can open zippers that are not zipped all the way closed and behind the flap that is located where the zipper ends. Found this out by mistake, luckily both dogs stayed in camp.

We bring a dog first aid kit, collapsable water dish and a comb or brush. One of mine is a coatie and anything and everything gets stuck to his hair. If your dog hikes locally on similar terrain you'll have some idea of how well his feet will hold up.Paw and claw damage does happen, styptic powder can be super helpful and mushers secret too. Keeping nails trimmed up can help reduce the risk of injury.

My female goes naked, no leash or collar, but there are times I'll put an ecollar on my male depending on the trails we use. We have bears, cougars, wolves, moose etc.. But they seldom reveal themselves. Plenty of indications that they're nearby so keep it mind if you decide to take the Leah off.
 

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Thanks for the great advice! Sounds like lots of fun taking the dog along.

We are thinking the La Cloche Silhouette Trail of the Killarney park, it is not as popular as most national parks but I heard the trail is pretty good and it is dog friendly too. That or Huron-Manistee National Forest.

Yeah I will probably stick to keepin mine on lead lol, I am sure my girl is the type who would chase a bear cub and then run back to me with an angry mom in pursuit.
 

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I only camped out once without my dog...and I didn't sleep well at all! Dog hear stuff you don't and their barking can help the wildlife to venture elsewhere. I've never been bothered by bears or wolves when a dog was with me, or on the one trip I made without the dog. But I know I sleep better knowing the dog is there to alert me!

As others said though, make sure you check ahead of time with the places you're going to. Some parks have very restrictive rules!

My dogs have always been in the tent with me at night...
 

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We backpack and camp all year.


When we're hiking in the Adirondacks, as an example, we put a small bell on our dogs collar. It's not obnoxious but we just want to make a little more noise than our footsteps. Wildlife for the most part want to stay the heck away from people.


Last Fall we did a 30 mile hike over several days. On day two, we finally passed another hiker who warned us there was a bear he heard down the trail. We thanked him for the heads up and was aware as we kept going. Having a dog that is obedience trained is very important.


Our dog sleeps in the tent with us. He knows it's time to sleep when we go in. He's so darn tired anyways that he's out. He does have his own sleep system (sleeping bag and sleeping pad. It's the same quality as ours). We have also slept in Lean-to's, in this case, he gets tied in and sleeps between my husband and I. We use the overhead beam to secure him. Practice sleeping in a tent in the back yard!


Paw care - we have had some hard lessons on this one. My husband firemen carried our 80# GSD .50 mile down a mountain because his paw pads were wrecked. Totally our fault. This is another tip - make sure your dog is use to being handled in a way that may make him uncomfortable in the event he is injured. We also carry a first aid kit.


We do paw pad checks on the trail. I prep pads with Tuf-Foot ahead of BIG hikes (lifesaving stuff for us!) and use Mushers Secret.


We don't do a lot of pavement walks and even with all the outdoor time and hikes his paw pads are not as tough as one would think. Some dogs are fine.


Water! Make sure you have a good water source. We always pack in with water but will run out on big hikes. We map everything and know our water sources. We do have to filter water.


We have a well seasoned excellent trail dog who is 8, knows the ropes. We also have a 5 month old pup that this will be a all new experience for him when he gets older. There is nothing I like more than hiking with my dogs :)
 

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A couple other things to consider. Some kind of dog safe repellent for mosquitos and biting flies. We rarely use anything as we don't have a "bugs" here like places back east, but this year was the exception, probably due to a wet spring. Single use Pawz (sp?) dog boots could come in handy as well in the event of a foot injury.

As Courtney mentioned in her post, packing your dog out of the woods due to injury is a possibility. Years ago someone posted a thread on training your dog to be carried over your shoulders. I liked the idea and trained my dog this way and it came in useful last year. There are other ways to get the job done, just be prepared for the possibility.
 

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Here is what I have learned. I have hiked and/or hitch hiked with various dogs over most of North America, my Dane was actually from Oceanside California and hitch hiked all through the western US before crossing the border with me at just a couple of months old. My husky Nahanni came from the Yukon and toured BC and the territories with me.
Wolves will almost certainly avoid human contact, bears? Maybe or maybe not, but do be aware that some bears respond poorly to barking dogs and have been known to attack because of them. I carry an airhorn when I hike, and yes absolutely bear bells on the dog are a great idea.

Do take water and be aware that changes in water can cause stomach issues. I discourage drinking from rivers or streams. Make sure you have a first aid kit for the dog, and it should include something to wrap feet if needed. I use baby socks and vet wrap. Vet wrap is your friend.

I don't actually sleep in my tent, I use it to store my belongings and I sleep in the truck. I wouldn't leave the dog outside and I have slept in tents with dogs with no issues but absolutely get the dog used to it first.


Do trust your dog! If the dog says lets get out of here, listen! I cannot tell you how many times my dogs self preservation instincts have saved my behind, even the dogs I thought were useless.

If you need to cross water at all tie the dog around your waist. Holding the leash, in my experience, impedes your balance and could cause a fall if the dog or you slip. Remember that a knee deep current could be sufficient to sweep your dog away even if it seems like not much to you, and while most dogs do ok having your dog half a mile away is not cool.
 

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So are we the only softies that use a camper and not a tent? Our dogs sleep in the camper, we tend to camp in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula more than anywhere else. Some trails aren't dog friendly so we leave them in the camper for those hikes. We also prefer rustic campgrounds and areas where we run into few people, the dogs are loose most of the time. We've seen bobcats, and wolves but never when hiking. Toughest creature on a trail has been a porcupine. Most animals don't want anything to do with people traipsing through their woods. Just because I'll share a picture of one of our favorite sites in the UP. The sites here are probably at least 75-100 feet wide, this one is pie shaped and we had access to the water in several places.
 

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