On a hot, balmy summer day many think back to attending summer camp. As a child, some long for this time of the year, filled with s’mores by the fire, ghost stories, and water-sports. Yet, summer camp usually meant pre-camp goodbyes to family, friends, and even the household pet. Imagine how much more fun summer camp would have been if your pup came along! Now, many summer camps are giving dog-owners that opportunity. These six camps offer warm days filled with everything from swimming to crafts to a classic game of fetch — all while your canine is by your side.
Canine Camp Getaway
Lake George, New York
Located in the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York, this camp hosts dogs and their owners June 23-June 27 and September 14-17. This outdoor estate includes activities such as agility, canine CPR, Rally, Obedience, and DOGA (dog yoga). Experience the 300-acre resort as you bond closer with your four-legged friend. Owners can “Ask the Trainer” or attend seminars hosted by skilled veterinarians.
Learn more: Canine Camp Getaway
Berkshires, Massachusetts and Blue Ridge, Georgia
This countryside four-day camp allows you and your canine to socialize in activities like arts and crafts, canine massages, and water-sports. The camp plans to host Camp Berkshires from August 30-September 2 and Camp Blue Ridge from October 17-20 of this year. Owners can teach their dogs freestyle tricks, lead them through agility courses, or even take them canoeing. After the fair share of outdoor activities, owners can choose to participate in dog portraits or attend nutrition classes.
Learn more: Camp Unleashed
Highland Park, Illinois
Founded in 2000 by two long-time friends, this camp offers more than just one session a year. Camp Dogwood has a spring, fall, and winter camp. This year’s next session is October 3-6 with an extended camp starting on October 2. The camp is located near the Wisconsin Dells and the Lake Delton area. “We make one guarantee after Spring & Fall Camp – a tired dog…and person,” the website notes. Owners and companions can look to participate in activities from canine core conditioning, agility courses, and night howl campfires — campfires that allow past alumni to welcome new guests.
Learn more: Camp Dogwood
Dog Scouts of America
St. Helen, Michigan
This camp prides itself on giving your canine a task, burning energy, and teaching them to earn merit badges. This year’s dates are in June and July and merit badges range from obedience to community service. Their mission explains that they aim to help dogs and owners socialize and train together.
Learn more: Dog Scouts of America
Maian Meadows Dog Camp
Lake Wenatchee, Washington
This rustic, off-leash experience is located deep in the Wenatchee National Forest. Owners and their canines will stay in bunked cabins while participating in activities like contests and hiking. “Camp philosophy: do as much or as little as you wish. You’re here to have fun and relax,” the website notes. Guests can also take a day trip to the nearby town of Leavenworth which celebrates Bavarian roots.
Learn more: Maian Meadows Dog Camp
Camp Gone to the Dogs
Located at the Mountaineer Inn within an eight-acre wooded area, this camp offers several different sessions. This year’s dates range from June until September 1-7 and September 8-14. With the scenery comes a five-mile walking path, gondola rides, and horseback riding. The camp is staffed with trainers to deliver on-site feedback while owners attend training lectures.
Learn more: Camp Gone to the Dogs
Preparing for Dog Camp
Thinking about booking your trip now? Most camps have safety and health rules to make certain that things run smoothly during your stay. Some of the general rules include health documents signed by your veterinarian, Canine Good Citizen (CGC) testing, and water safety rules. Some camp directors need a documented health certificate from your veterinarian stating that your canine is free of a contagious health problem and up-to-date on all vaccinations.
Since you’ll be around other canines and people, good behavior is imperative. Canine Good Citizen testing is a two-part program that influences responsible pet ownership and good manners for dogs. The program also lays the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events.
In addition, it’s important to note that if the camp has water-sports, your canine is comfortable around water. Water safety can include making sure your pooch knows how to enter and exit the water and ensuring that you can realize when your dog is tired to prevent drowning. Never force a dog into a pool or body of water.
After knowing the ins and outs of CGC and water safety, it’s important to be aware of sun exposure. Sunburn can lead to serious health implications or skin cancer. Dogs, like humans, need sunscreen. Make sure that the sunscreen is appropriate for dogs and take safety precautions by limiting sun exposure.
Packed and ready to go? Remember to have fun with your dog! Camp is a great way to bond with your pup and other dog-lovers.