Keeping Dogs Contained When Camping

Going on holiday as a family is something that creates memories to treasure for many years to come. When you think back to childhood, many of the best times are likely to be getting away with your parents, where you got their attention as they escaped from work for a few days. For those of us with pets, taking holidays either creates a headache in making sure they’re looked after, or means taking them with you!

Man with dog sitting by tentIf you’re camping, taking the family dog might leave you feeling wary, as they’ll be in a place they don’t know, and on a campsite, there’s rarely a physical boundary like your garden fence to rely on. So, what to do?

Last year, we found the answer while we were staying in the south of France, when a neighbouring pitch was home to a family from Norwich who’d brought along their dog Buster. They’d invested in a wireless fence, an invisible containment zone controlled by a wireless emitter that worked with a collar the gave him a light shock if he strayed too far from the tent. Although we did see him recoil on one occasion, that was the only time we saw it kick in, and he didn’t seem particularly upset by it – just wandered back towards ‘home’. I’d seen these devices before and wondered how cruel they were, but having now seen them in action we were impressed enough to get one ourselves. To put it bluntly, I’d prefer our family pet Chuck to get an electric shock over getting run over.

This year, we stayed in the UK – heading down to the Cornish coast. We bought it from Amazon after seeing a Petsafe wireless fence review on a dog containment system website. It seems that they’re really popular in America – probably due to the vast amounts of land people tend to have – it’s not something I can see catching on for the average new build owner in the UK! For camping though, it’s perfect. You will need a site where you can get an electric hookup on your pitch though, as this model needs to be plugged in (at the receiver end).

Unsurprisingly, at first, Chuck wasn’t too keen on the collar, especially after he got his first shock – literally a few seconds after putting it on. He learned surprisingly quickly though, and by the end of the first day, he’d got the hang of how far he could go (unlike the kids). There is one slight downside that we’d not considered – when we were going out walking he definitely got a little nervous as we left – presumably was expecting the collar to jump into life as we moved away from the tent. Of course it had been disabled, but how do you explain that to a dog? Again, it’s something they seem to get the hang of in time, but it does make you wonder if you’re being cruel!

By the end of our time on site, we’d actually removed the collar altogether – Chuck seemed to get the idea he needed to stay close and avoid wandering off. We don’t know yet whether in future we’ll need to use it again or the sight of the collar will be enough of a reminder to stay close by! All in all, it’s not something we’d want to use in an ideal world, but it has meant we can take Chuck with us on holiday. I’m not sure how that would work going abroad – especially with the immunisations and potential quarantine issues to consider – but that’s one for thinking about in the future.