Image via Budimir Jevtic/Shutterstock
By Elizabeth Xu
For many people, summer means travel. For many dogs, that means days or weeks staying in a dog boarding facility or in a family memberâs home. But it doesnât have to be that way. What if you and your pup could go away together?
If going off to camp was something you looked forward to when you were a kid, youâll be happy to know that it doesnât have to end just because youâre, well, an adult.
Camps for adults are definitely a thing, and some of them let you take your dog along, too. Donât fret if your summer is already planned; these camps also offer fall sessions that you can sign up for now.
Dog Camp Basics
Forget your preconceived notion of dog campsâthese arenât the camps where you leave your dog while you go on vacation. While your pup no doubt enjoys interacting with other canines at doggy camp, these camps are more about you and your pup having fun while training and bonding.
At these camps for adults, youâll do activities and bunk together with your pup. Youâll also meet plenty of other campers and their dogs.
âPeople come to dog camps for many reasons, from bonding with their dogs, learning new ways to train, refreshing their training skills or spending time with other âcrazy dog people,ââ says Mare Potts, camp director at Camp Gone to the Dogs.
Will your dog enjoy a camp experience? Only you can answer that, but Kayla Fratt, an associate certified dog behavior consultant and owner of Journey Dog Training in Colorado, says that many do.
âMost dogs that are excited about life and confident will probably enjoy a summer camp-esque experience,â she says. âHowever, if your dog has behavior concerns, is shy, or is easily stressed, summer camp might not be a good option. Ensure that you pick the right summer camp option for your dog.â
Are you and your pup ready to enjoy some fun at a dog camp? Here are three dog camp options in the United States that you and your pup can attend.
Image provided by Camp Unleashed
If you have a 9 to 5 office job and feel that both you and your pup could benefit from more time outdoors, Camp Unleashed might be just what youâre seeking. This dog camp has locations in Becket, Massachusetts and Cleveland, Georgia. They both offer activities on land and on the water. Hiking, dock diving, swimming, canoeing and scent games are just a few of the things you can enjoy together. When your dog needs to rest, you can check out activities like arts and craft sessions or classes on dog nutrition.
Eileen Brown, logistic director and Camp Unleashed co-owner, says that many of the sessions focus on helping humans âlook at the world through their dogâs eyes.â As such, this camp is big on positive reinforcement.
âThe dogs choose if and when they are ready to try something new,â Brown says. âIf canoeing, for example, is not their thing, they are not forced into it. We hope to train the humans to read the dog's language and understand their comfort level and how confident/comfortable they are.â
She says that their Massachusetts camp, in particular, sees a lot of city dogs that simply enjoy âthe freedom of being out in nature.â
To learn more check out Camp Unleashedâs website.
Canine Camp Getaway of NY
Image provided by Canine Camp Getaway
Janice Costa, owner and founder of Canine Camp Getaway of NY, says dog camps help humans escape the technology and multitasking of everyday life. âA dog camp like Canine Camp Getaway is a chance to escape from all of that, to enjoy life like a kid againâand our dogs show us how, since theyâre so great at being in the moment.â
Canine Camp Getaway of NY is located in Lake George at the Roaring Brook Ranch. This dog camp offers a variety of dog and human activities, from dog yoga and nose work classes to âask the trainerâ sessions and karaoke.
They also offer educational seminars led by veterinarians and professional dog trainers, and a variety of other dog training and activity workshops, including a prep and testing course for the Canine Good Citizen or therapy dog exams. For added fun, thereâs also a nightly âyappy hourâ and a âcasino nightâ that benefits animal charities.
Costa says that pool time is always enjoyed by the dogs and their humans.
âSwimming in the dog-friendly pool is always a popular activity, and itâs great fun to see the leaping Labs and Goldens who just never want to leave,â she says. âOf course, we have separate pool sessions for the small dogs so they donât have to worry about being knocked over by an overly exuberant Lab.â
To learn more, check out Canine Camp Getaway of NYâs website.
Camp Gone to the Dogs
Image provided by Camp Gone to the Dogs
Vermont-based Camp Gone to the Dogs offers two campsâa summer camp in Marlboro and a fall camp in Stowe. Both locations offer a myriad of activities that are fun and educational for both dogs and people.
Potts says some favorite activities are herding, agility, hiking and canine freestyle dance. This dog camp not only offers activity classes for the dogs, but also educational classes for dog owners. You can take a class on âReading a Dogâs Body Languageâ or attend a lecture held by dog training professionals Sue Sternberg or Tim Lewis.
âThe dogs love training with positive trainers who help their humans improve their understanding of dog behavior,â says Potts. âThe dogs enjoy learning a new activity and being positively rewarded. Itâs awesome to see the light turn on for a dog in an activity that the camper never thought they would like, and then to see them continue to have success and return the next year showing how much theyâve learned.â
To learn more, check out Camp Gone to the Dogsâ website.
Is Dog Camp for You?
You know yourself (and your pup) best, so if youâre both outgoing, active and up for new experiences, chances are you and your pup will enjoy attending one of these camps for adults and dogs. In addition to learning new tricks and training ideas, you and your dog will strengthen your bond, too.
âSpending more time training your dog is a great way to deepen your relationship,â Fratt says. âYou donât often get to just spend a whole weekend focusing on training your dog and learning about how to care for her.â