Thor is my brilliant, tenderhearted 2 year old Corgi. She has the stubborn personality of a “strong independent woman that don’t need no man,” the appetite of “Scooby-Doo” and the loyalty of a Hilton Diamond member. Basically, shes awesome. Every weekend, the opportunity to run around and chase the Frisbee at the dog park or find a squirrel leaping from tree to tree to harass her for a straight hour, is what she lives for. A few weeks ago I decided to change it up and let her embrace a new adventure, camping.
Friday afternoon my big strong man (BSM) and I loaded up the car with firewood, dog treats and the essential survival items needed for a night in wilderness. Considering this was Thor’s first camping adventure, the “fur mommy” embedded in my soul didn’t want to take a huge first time risk, so after a 20 minute drive we reached our not-so-primitive camp site.
BSM unloaded the car while I walked Thor around the area to give her a sense of direction and do what dogs do best, mark their territory. We made our way over to the campsite, set everything up and went for our first hike through the Government Canyon sticks.
During our first trek though the muddy trails, Thor was so excited to see what was coming next that she, for the first time in her life, didn’t think to stop and smell the roses. She waddled and trotted through the sticks and tall grass with pride and made it all the way back to the campsite without one complaint. To a lot of you that own dogs, you may find it strange that a dog excited to be outside could complain, but my question for you is, does your dog have short squatty legs and a belly that almost touches the ground? Thor is a unique canine. As much energy as she has, she wears out quick from her short legged stride. It is like taking a child for a walk, you really have to think about how fast your legs are moving because your brisk walk, could be a sprint to a four year old.
Now that we are back at the campsite, it is time to eat. While BSM does his manly duty and builds a fire, I take Thor off the leash (a big no-no in a state park) and let her eat her dinner. When I began training Thor, my largest focus was the command “come here.” Eight times out of ten, she listens very well. Let’s talk about the time she did not listen. As I mentioned before, your dog must be leashed at all times when visiting a Texas state park. I know, I know, I broke the rules and let her eat without her leash on, but it gets in the way and she already knocked over one bowl of water since our arrival. After Thor finished inhaling her food, she sat down for a minute, looked at me with her more than adorable face and burped. As she was ejecting the air she swallowed while in haling her food, she spotted her next cycle of entertainment, a butterfly. She took off into the trees chasing after this tiny, fluttering creature. I yell at her to “come here,” she turns around while running, looks at me and continues her quest towards her future punishment. Finally, the butterfly lands on a tree trunk to rest, and I am able to seize the now-in-trouble, too adventurous Corgi.
Back at the campsite, the now leashed dog of mine knows she is in trouble. This is the thing about Thor, she knows when she has outright ignored her command, and she hangs her head low to the outcome. A lot of dog-owners I know would have handled this situation with a swat on the rear or kenneled their pup. Not me. I am all about making her feel bad for the spike in my blood pressure. You may find me crazy once I tell you my discipline tactics, but it works for me and that is all that matters. I sat down on the rocky campsite face to face with Thor and had a talk. I told her in my firm, “I’m disappointed in your actions” voice how sad I was that she did not listen to me and how disappointing it was that she looked at me and made the decision to keep running. After every talk we have, she feels awful and wants to crawl in my lap for consoling and an apology. This is the hard part. I have to get up and walk away while she sits there until I tell her to “come here” (Usually 5-10 minutes is all I can handle). When I told her to come, she came over to me, gave me a look with her forgiving eyes and sat at my feet. Now we are on good terms and can continue to enjoy our adventure.
The hiking and butterfly chase were the most exciting events of the night. BSM and I cooked dinner, sat around the fire with Thor and chatted through the night until the darkness weighed down my eyes and I fell asleep.
The next morning, our little adventure came to an end. Thor woke up at the crack of dawn to another dog making sure every living thing in the area was aware the sun is up. We went on another quick hike before the Texas weather set in for the day, packed up the car and headed home.
I will admit, I was fairly nervous taking my dog camping. There are so many things she can get into. There are plants, nuts, six-legged devils and animals that can really harm a dog. If you are considering taking your pet on a camping experience, I will give you one piece of advice; make sure your dog is well trained to “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “back up.” If Thor had the opportunity to rummage around at night, even with a leash on, she could have found something that despite her belief, did not want to be her best friend. With that being said, don’t let that scare you away from trying new things with your pup.
All in all this quick overnight-er was well worth the satisfied look on Thor’s face throughout this adventure.