Camping is 100 percent possible with blind dogs. In fact, it may be what they are best at.
Just as with all dogs though, it is important to be prepared and make the adventure as enjoyable for humans and dogs alike. Below is a picture of Opal after a little adventure.
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This is Opal’s happy face!! She’s happiest when shes with her dad. It makes me sooo jealous but I’m glad shes happy. He took her for an adventure just the two of them tonight and they had a wonderful time, clearly. #meetopal #opalthedoublemerle #dogs #instadog #rescue #blindanddeaf #dogstagrams #gooddogs #happyface #spoiled #adventures #thesmallthings #happydogs #animalllovers #animals
Here’s what I’ve learned from hiking and camping with Opal.
1. Familiarize your blind dog with any new space
First thing we did when we arrived to the camp site was walked her around. Let the pup explore the new smells, people, and landscape.
Super easy, yet super important. Understandably, blind dogs can get overwhelmed easily, so make it fun as well as useful to explore the area.
2. Stay consistent
If your blind dog is anything like mine, she prefers comfort and consistency.
With a change of location, we try to keep her routine and smells the same.
3. Go for a hike, but take it easy
Feel free to take your pup on all your hiking and camping adventures just like normal. But remember: Blind dogs wear out faster because they are over stimulated with smells.
If your dog is not used to hiking miles a day, start small and take lots of breaks. My blind dog needs about 2 or 3 good naps on normal days, when hiking and camping she needs even more rest.
Keep in mind, they may need extra food as well if doing extra activities.
4. Night routines are extra important
At night, we follow our home routine of pee, dinner, and then bed.
Sleep areas can vary dog to dog and owner to owner. We let ours sleep in the tent with us, but she would also do fine in her kennel outside if it was good weather.
As long as she has her bed she’s pretty happy. But she knew immediately it was bedtime and slept all night in the tent with us just fine.
Remember it should be enjoyable for you as well as the pup. If your pup is not into camping that is okay. It’s not for every dog.
Also, keep in mind your dog cannot defend itself as well as a seeing dog. I don’t recommend ever letting it off leash or sleeping unsupervised.
5. Practice walking BEFORE going
When taking your blind dog for an easy walk, practice telling it when stairs or curbs are approaching. We use a little tug up on the leash and she knows that means to lift her feet up and go up.
You can also teach your dog a command like tapping a back leg. This will come in handy when hiking up hills or rocky areas.
6. Start with smaller day trips
Also, if your dog is anxious in new places, take it to new dog parks, new hiking areas, or even stores that allow dogs. Let it smell new things, meet people, and play with other dogs.
Why camping with your blind dog is important: I truly believe that blind dogs can do most anything seeing dogs can do. It make take more work and patience, but if your blind dog is truly family, they should be welcome on all the fun adventures as well.