Wag N Swag Contest

August 11, 2015

Our wonderful friends at Kurgo have put together an awesome Summer Gear Pack featuring a Camping With Dogs shirt, Surf n Turf Life Jacket, Ruff Guide Travel Book, Wood Chuck & Ball, Planet Dog Chew Toys, Quantum Leash and a Zippy Bowl. All you have to do is enter below!

Wag'n'Swag Summer Giveaway

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When is my dog ready to hike off-leash?

July 23, 2015 8 Comments

Meet John Imler! John is the owner and lead trainer of Top Dog Training.  He’s a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and International Association of Canine Professionals. He is a graduate of National K9, a nationally recognized school that has been in operation for over 30 years. He has worked with trainers and clients from all over the US and as far away as Greece. We’re excited to start sharing John and others expertise with you.

Getting out with our dogs is one of the most rewarding activities we can do with our dogs. It takes us back tens of thousands of years to the same activities our ancestors did with their canine companions.

Before we fall to the allure of cutting our dogs off leash and going into the woods, we have to be realistic in our skills and the capabilities of our dog.  The risks are substantial and could result in best-case, our dogs running off chasing an animal for a few hours and worst-case our dogs getting lost and being struck by a vehicle.

Regardless, here are 3 key commands/behaviors your dog needs to understand.

The dog’s name: I tell clients the 2 most important things to teach your dog is their name and a recall. I want the dog to know their name because when we say it, it is imperative that they look at us. They need focus on us rather than the object that held their attention a moment ago. Too often we call our dog and we end up repeating the dog’s name over and over and basically pleading with them for attention. When you call your dog and they look at you, make it worth their while. Reward them with a treat or praise!


A solid recall: that has both a verbal cue/command as well as a hand signal.  As I mentioned above, a solid recall is one of the most important things your dog needs to have in the real world. We need to call the dog once and the dog responds by moving directly to us. Provide the dog with a high value reward and/or substantial praise EVERY time they come to you. Let them think that the greatest thing in the world is getting to you when you call them!

And finally, an off leash command: Recalls, casual walk commands, and heels are all commands that allow the dog to manage distance. When we teach a simple “walk” command we are teaching the dog to match our pace, on our left or right side within 4 feet.  When we teach “heel” the dog learns to walk in VERY close proximity to our left and maintain focus on us. When we teach a “Hike” or “Let’s Go” command we are teaching the dog to stay within 20-30 feet and maintain contact with us by checking in with us.  We can manage this by using a long line.  

Using these commands, we can teach our dog to explore with us and stay within close proximity off leash WHILE checking in with us. We have the confidence to know that when we call our dog’s name they will immediately turn their attention to us. Finally, if we need to get a leash on our dog we are confident in our recall that we can get the dog to us as soon as possible.

 So work on these with your dog… and when you are ready, unleash and go!

John Imler left a successful career with a Fortune 500 company to spend his days with wagging tails and covered in dog slobber. He is the owner and lead trainer of Top Dog Training in Louisville, KY. He is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and International Association of Canine Professionals. He has worked with trainers and clients from all over the US and as far away as Greece.

Connect with John for more tips and tricks!

Facebook- Top Dog Training, LLC

Twitter - @johnimlerTDT


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Tips for Hiking with a Dachshund (Or any small dog!)

July 15, 2015

With National Camping with Dogs Day just around the corner (9.5.15), we thought it would be fun to ask some of our more avid hikers, there top tips for hiking. We’d like to introduce you to Marjorie Clark and her adorable dachshund Ellie. Hiking with smaller dogs can be a challenge. Here are Marjorie’s top 3 tips for hiking with a small dog: 

Ellie has been my constant outdoor companion for the past four years. She goes camping and hiking, rain or shine, and she’s only 10 inches tall. My little 6-year-old dachshund is my most constant companion.

I admit that it’s pretty fun to see the look on hikers’ faces when they realize there’s a short little dog with me. The idea of a dachshund making it to the end of a five-mile hike with incline and creek crossings is the ultimate underdog story. The real story is little dogs need exercise and adventure and an opportunity to explore (and chase squirrels) as much as big dogs.


1. Be aware of distance and intensity. Ellie can easily go five miles, but if the trail has a significant vertical climb, she’s done at four. It took me a few adventures to discover her limit, two of which ended with her 13 pounds riding comfortably in my arms back to the car. If you’re unsure of your pup’s limit, start with shorter hikes and work up the miles and they become conditioned to the distance and terrain. Watch for signs of exhaustion, including panting and slow, low-energy steps, and be ready to pack your friend out.

2. Be aware of obstacles. My pup is surprisingly limber and spry; her 4-inch legs handle stairs, logs, and creek crossings like a champ. But she certainly can’t handle a five-foot leap up a slippery boulder. I let her navigate finding an alternate route, and she’s pretty good at it, but that time we came across an old-growth tree blocking the trail? She needed a lift. Better safe than sorry in giving your pup an extra hand navigating tricky terrain.

3. Be aware that your small pup is working really hard. Ellie works many times harder than long-legged dogs to travel the same distance. She’s also closer to the ground, so puddles and snow piles are within range of her chest and belly and can be shocking to her system. If the weather is particularly chilly or wet, I make sure to bring her jacket or a towel to keep her warm during the lunch break. I also pack extra snacks for her, and make sure we frequently pause to rehydrate.

It’s rewarding to take Ellie out and reach the top of the mountain or secluded lake where the big dogs play. It’s especially rewarding when she sees her harness and knows we’re in for an adventure. She loves it as much as I do.

Marjorie Clark is a writer and editor living near Seattle. When she's not working, she's reading, exploring the woods, and catching up on 30 Rock. On her bucket list is rafting through the Grand Canyon and a months-long road trip across the U.S. with her dachshund Ellie, who enjoys romping in the woods, exploring the beach, and sleeping in a tent as much as her human.

Twitter: @marjiebc  Instagram: @marjiebc

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What a $5.63 Jamba Juice Drink Taught Me About Being a Dog Owner

June 19, 2015

By Christine Brewer of Camping With Dogs

I learned a very invaluable lesson today and this time I only paid $5.63 for it. I’m here visiting Phoenix, Arizona where temps right now are about 116 degrees. Basically miserable. I felt no guilt as I made a much needed stop to my favorite smoothie chain, Jamba Juice

As I was patiently waiting for my Pink Star, a women and her daughter popped their heads in the door and asked if anyone owned a gold pick-up truck. A young man responded that he did and turned back around.

The women then said,

“You have a dog inside of your car and it’s 113 degrees outside meaning it 130 degrees inside your car and he’s barking like crazy.”


The man said, “I’ll only be a few more minutes” and again turned back around. The women then said something so simple yet so profound:  

“You do realize that you have left your dog helpless in the car. That wasn’t his choice. It was yours. Now I’m going to make a choice. If you’re not out here in 2 minutes, I’m calling the police”.

This summer as you are out and about taking your furry little friend on all sorts of adventures, be sure to remember one thing: Your choices don’t just affect your life but also that of your fellow dog.  Adventure responsibly so that your days together may be long and prosperous! (Yes, we did just throw a little E.T. into this) We’ve even blogged about the top 5 most important things to remember when taking your dog camping.  Your dogs life is in YOUR hands. 


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#StopYulin2015: What you can do right now

June 19, 2015

This is a rather heavy subject but here at CWD, we have the opportunity to use our voice for good. I'm sure most of you have heard about #StopYulin2015. If you're squeamish, don't click on the hashtag if you're scrolling through Instagram or Twitter. There is a Change.org petition to end this horrific day in south China and I recommend you sign this one. While there's not a whole lot you can do to stop the unethical treatment of dogs in China, there are 2 things you can do right now in your home or where you live to make a positive difference with dogs.

1. Volunteer or donate to a shelter 

Each year almost 4 million dogs go into shelters and over 1 million have to be euthanized. They need your help. It can be as simple as taking the shelter dogs for a walk on your lunch break. You can also be an advocate for #adoptdontshop. Here are 6 reasons why you should adopt from a shelter. You can also give to organizations like The Pedigree Foundation where 100% of donations go directly towards helping dogs in need.



2. Give your dog the best life ever

Take your dog on lots of hiking trips.



Take your dog camping.

@acoloradogal @twomillstones

@acoloradogal @twomillstones

Play fetch.



Go kayaking. Canoeing. Or even SUP'ing.



And most importantly, give your dog a hug.



Like #stopyulin2015 and all the dogs that have to be euthanized each year, these dogs will never know what it's like to be loved. The least you can do is give your own dog that satisfaction. 

Please share this post with someone who needs to know about #stopyulin2015. 

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5 Things to Remember When Hiking With Your Dog

June 16, 2015

By: Laura Van Zonneveld

There are countless things to remember when taking your dog hiking but these are the top 5 you need to remember from Laura Van Zonneveld- animal behaviour biologist and canine psychologist from Sweden. 

Enough water to cover the length of the trip, for both you and your dog! A collapsible bowl is definitely recommended, since dogs drinking from a bottle normally waste quite a lot. A collapsible bowl will easily fit in your bag and is light.  If the weather is warmer you are obviously going to need more water. If you are walking past a river or a lake, make sure that the water is clean if you want to let your dog drink from it. During summer, springs or lakes can be contaminated with cyanobacteria (blue-algea), which can make your dog very sick and can even be fatal. Information if the lake you are visiting is contaminated can usually be found on the internet or at a local tourist information office, however, to avoid possible intoxication it’s best to provide your dog with tap or bottled water. 

Dry food and a lot of treats! Make sure that the food you bring doesn’t go off over time or in warmer climates, take it with you in an air tight bag or container to keep it fresh. Because your dog is exercising more than usual, they will require more food to keep in shape. The treats you can use for recall or to distract your dog when you come across some exciting smells or sights. I normally carry treats in a treat bag around my waste. This keeps my dog close at my side most of the time. 

Normal leash and a longline. Even if your dog is good off lead, you might come across hikers who don’t particularly like dogs or you could encounter a busy road where you have to keep your dog close. I like to use a bungee leash which is loosely attached around my waist. The bungee  is a buffer for sudden pulls, making walking more comfortable for both you and your dog. The waist attachment is something I really like, I can keep my hands free to take nice pictures of the surroundings, hold my bag or sweep annoying insects out of my face. Also when my dogs is sniffing around me, the line will move with her and won’t get tangled up around my legs or trees and bushes. The longline we use on our camping spot, we attach it to a tree in a clearing so our dog can walk around, not get stuck on trees too often and is not able to disappear into the forest. 

First aid package. You never know what you might come across. Your dog can step in something sharp, get bitten or stung by an animal or trip and hurt a leg. You can buy a pet first aid kit at the veterinary clinic, pet store and sometimes even at a chemist. They typically come with an antiseptic, gauze rolls, tape, tweezers and some other useful stuff. They are usually equipped with a booklet on how to perform first aid for your pet. Reading in to this or even taking a course before you go on a trip is highly recommended.

Make sure that you know what to do and who to contact if something more serious happens and where an first aid kid is just not enough. Be up to date about possible poisonous snakes that you can come across, and ask your veterinarian what to do if you or your dog gets bitten.
Another handy thing for the first aid kid is paw wax. We normally bring homemade paw wax with us as well. After a long walk on rough terrain her paw pads can get a bit dry and sore, and in the worst case even cracked. The paw wax prevents the cracks, but also keeps the pads soft and protected against heat, cold and salt. 

Clothing or other gear. This of course depends on the weather conditions, the terrain that you are walking in and the physical appearance of the dog. My own dog has a very short one layered coat, so in winter she can’t keep warm herself. In cold or wet weather we always bring a coat with us in case she gets cold or uncomfortable.

When you are walking in warm weather, it is a good idea to bring something to cool your dog down, overheating is a serious case which you want to prevent at all costs. There are special cooling vests and collars for dogs on the market, which can keep your pet from overheating. For a cheaper alternative you can also put a wet cotton white shirt or towel on your dog. The white colour reflects the sunlight away and by making it wet it will cool down your dog even more.
If you are walking in rough terrain you can use dog boots to prevent injuries, or use them after your dog injured their paw during a hike, this will make the walk back more comfortable for your dog and it keeps the wound clean. 

What are some of your tips for hiking with your dog?

Laura Van Zonneveld was born and raised in a small town in the Netherlands and is currently living, working and studying animal behaviour biology and canine psychology in Sweden.

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