Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Camps for Dogs

By Julia Williams

Every year, millions of parents send their kids off to summer camp for the fun and adventure this unique experience provides. And now, it seems that scores of pet owners are following in their footsteps. Summer camps for canines have sprung up all over North America and Canada. Not only that, but they’ve become immensely popular and loved by humans and dogs alike. There are special summer camps just for canines, and there are also camps where owners can go with their dogs to enjoy all sorts of activities, or just kick back and relax together in a peaceful, carefree setting. Yes, people do love their dogs, and most treat them like family. But to be a dog nowadays can really be quite the life, can’t it? Who would’ve thought thirty years ago there’d be summer camps for dogs? Not I!

Canine summer camps welcome dogs of every breed and size, and people of every age. Accommodations at the camps range from rustic cabins and tents to upscale inns and luxurious vacation resorts that treat its two- and four-legged guests like royalty. These summer camps for dogs are not cheap, either. They can cost $650 to as much as $1,500 for a week of summer recreation with your dog.

Why Use a Canine Camp?

Off the top of my head, I can think of five good reasons why you might want to take your dog to a summer camp.

1. Dogs who live in cities and suburbs often don’t get many opportunities to do the things that dogs love – like romping in a beautiful woodsy setting, sniffing all sorts of interesting smells, swimming, and digging until they’re good and dirty. Camp facilities let their doggie guests do these exciting things, and so many more.

2. Going to a summer camp with your best doggie pal can be a great vacation for both of you. You’ll get to spend quality together in a beautiful, carefree setting, away from all of the stress of daily life.

3. Summer camps can facilitate bonding and deeper, more meaningful relationships between dogs and their families.

4. Many people want to travel with their dogs, and although pet-friendly lodging is easier to find nowadays, dogs aren’t always welcome at every facility or tourist attraction. If there is a summer camp for dogs nearby, you can leave your dog in good hands while you go sightseeing for a day or two. Fido still gets to travel with you, and enjoys the added adventure of a little mini vacation while you’re off doing tourist-y things.

5. There may be certain times in your life when boarding your dog is necessary, such as when you’re going out of town, or recuperating from an illness. Instead of taking them to a sterile kennel, you can send them to summer camp where the fun never ends.

Activities at Summer Camps for Dogs

When you go to a summer camp with your dog, there are dozens upon dozens of activities you can do together. Dogs and humans that love sports and “active” pursuits might choose to participate in activities like flyball, agility, lure coursing, tracking, herding, disc dog or dock diving. More laid-back canines and humans might enjoy a leisurely stroll along a nature trail, attending classes in obedience or therapy dog certification, or relaxing together in the shade of a tree. Some canine camps offer storytelling around the campfire and classes for owners interested in writing stories about their dogs.

Believe it or not, there are even arts and crafts workshops for the creative minded. You can make paw or nose prints of your dog, or participate in a doggie version of a camp classic – making paw sand castings. What you decide to do at summer camp (or not do) is really up to you. Your summer camp experience can be tailored to fit both you and your dog’s personalities and interests.

Whether you choose to join Fido at summer camp or send him off alone so he can romp with four-legged friends, one thing is certain: it will be doggone fun for one and all!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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