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Camping with Dogs Safely: 5 Commands Your Dog Must Know

This post was updated on December 18th, 2022

Training Your Dog to Heed Commands Is Important for Your Safety and Theirs

Whether you travel in an RV or just like going into nature, there’s nothing like getting outdoors during the summer. With the fresh air, relaxing greenery, and interesting trails to explore, there’s no wonder why some people find the experience a tranquil and relaxing one. Most people say it’s an experience best shared with your four-legged canine companion. However, before camping with dogs and hitting that trail through the forest, it’s important to ensure your dog is trained to respond to commands during the journey. 

But what commands are the most important ones to teach? Here are some tips for camping with your dog and five commands they must know before hitting the trails.

Woman with her arm around her dog as they enjoy nature.
Camping with dogs can increase the bond you already have with them.

Why Are Camping Trips so Important and How to Prepare

As creatures that typically thrive off physical and mental stimulation, camping is the perfect activity to undergo with your dog.

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It can prove to:

  • Strengthen your bond with your dog
  • encourage them to trust you more
  • Introduce them to physically and mentally healthy stimuli
  • Get their energy out
  • Prevent boredom
Two dogs sitting on a camping chair in the woods.
Many small dogs love hiking and camping too.

Camping and Hiking Isn’t Just for Big Dogs

The general public has typically associates camping, hiking, and backpacking with bigger dog breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dog. However, there are a ton of little dog breeds that love running, activity and a good old camping trip. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Jack Terrier Russel, and Beagle are the highest on this list of energetic thrill seekers who love a good run or jog. Due to their past roles of herding cattle, fox hunting, and rabbit hunting, their love of the outdoors and the chase is incredibly strong!

I would’ve never imagined that my late Yorkshire Terrier would be able to handle the journey, but oh, did she prove me wrong!

Prepare Your Dog for The Trip

The following is a lists of things you should do before you take your dog on a camping trip:

  • Pre-train before going out hiking or backpacking. You and your dog should physically be able to handle the journey.
  • Plan ahead and research dog-friendly trails and camping sites to ensure your dog is welcomed and will be safe.
  • Pack all necessities you may need on your trip (water, food, first aid kits, tent, etc.)
  • Always protect your dog’s paws (either with dog shoes or soothing topical creams or waxes).
  • Take breaks in between while you’re walking. You never want to tire out your dog. If you notice them breathing heavily or in discomfort, stop and give them some time to rest and get refreshed.
  • Leave no trace! Even though you’re in the great outdoors, you should still pick up your dog’s poop, responsibly put out any fires you start, and pick up any trash used throughout the day. Always leave nature the exact way you found it.
  • Always check up on your dog after the trip is completed. Make sure they don’t have any things such as injuries or ticks.

Now that we’ve gotten into some tips you should know befor camping, let’s look at five commands they need to know before you go on your trip.

Five Commands Every Dog Should Know Before Going Camping

Your dog needs to listen to you when you’re on a camping trip. The both of you will be in a foreign space. So, making sure you have the control to get your dog to listen to you can be something that will protect them from any danger that may befall them on the adventure. However, this isn’t anything to be concerned about. A couple of commands that your dog should know before going on a camping trip are incredibly simple.

Five of them are included in the beginner commands your dog will have to know in general.

These commands are:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Come
  • Leave it
  • Drop it

Fairly simple, right?

These commands will keep your dog from picking up anything or going anywhere they shouldn’t, preventing a life or death situation that may occur.


Going camping and hiking with your dog can be a calming, memory-filled experience that can strengthen your bond with your canine companion. Before you go camping, you should prepare and teach your dog the five essential commands: sit, stay, come, leave it, and drop it, so they can stay safe. Making sure your dog knows these five basic commands can protect them in many instances and will make your special trip go by smoothly. Now that you have some information on preparing for your camping trips and the commands your dog should know, get out there and explore the outdoors!

About the Author:

10 thoughts on “Camping with Dogs Safely: 5 Commands Your Dog Must Know”

  1. My little Dachshund is a great camping companion. Though I have to admit……stay is not easy for her, but “wait” works.
    She’s a lot of fun, rugged, loves to run and we keep her on an electronic leash/collar. She’s getting older, and slowing down some.
    Dachshunds are a fearless breed, and will try anything if they trust you.

  2. Good information when traveling with a dog. Our dog does respond to the commands mentioned. We also use the command of “Heel”. Another note, some dogs become aggressive when on leash. As owner of a dog, you need to know how your pet will react to other dogs or people when your pet is leashed. Our dog goes into “fight or flight” mentality, and it can escalate quickly.

  3. A well trained dog is so nice, for your life and the life of the dog. Once while camping in the Colorado forest the game warden stopped and was giving me a hard time because my German Shepherd was “off leash”. I called the dog and she came running, I put her in a down-stay at the game officers feet. Needless to say, the game warden was stunned! She stopped mid sentence and said have a nice day and left. Life is good with a well trained person that knows how to speak dog.

  4. Even if your dog is well trained they should still be on a leash if regulations state same. The best well trained dog can still have a negative interaction with wildlife if off leash.

  5. My Shorkies are house and lap babies, lol! I have a lot to teach in a very short time! We will hit the road in our new-to-us ClassA motor home in October and we are already worried about how it’s going to go over with them. Can older dogs learn new tricks? Not sure how much “camping” we’ll be doing, but they still have to know how to act in an RV park as well. The only outdoor walking they’ve ever done (besides being in their backyard ) is on a leash around the neighborhood!
    Any suggestions are welcome!

  6. Hi there, I love the article and shared it. I am a dog trainer, and I am sorry you didn’t include the “Quiet” command.
    Most griping I hear around the campground is about barking dogs.
    I would be happy to write something short for you about that.
    best, Clare Reece-Glore,

  7. @Kim Smyth – if you have an opportunity to work with a professional trainer the rest of this month into Sept., before you leave, you should grab it. The training is worth every penny and is actually for the human more than the dogs, as the lessons teach you how to be consistent and get the desired responses from your pets, so life is happy for everyone. The dogs are smart, and I believe they can learn at any age, in fact, knowing their boundaries actually eases any anxieties they might have. It’s us fur baby parents that need to understand how they think. They watch us and learn from our behavior, our body language, our use of short, consistent commands.
    One command that was not discussed here is “wait”, and that is very useful at the door. Your dogs should never go through an outside door before you, either in or out, but only after you, and then, only after you’ve released them from a “wait” to do so. Then you don’t ever have to worry about their rushing the door and slipping out in a strange environment and getting into trouble, hurt, or lost.
    Good luck with your traveling adventure!


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