Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

Camps for Dogs and Owners

By Julee Meltzer



When I was seven years old, I went away for two weeks to summer camp on a pristine lake near Brooks, Maine. Like many camps, the girls were on one side of the lake and the boys were on the other. I still remember almost every little detail about those two weeks. I remember our overnight hike when the counselors forgot to bring any water, so we scavenged for wild blueberries. Trust me, wild blueberries are great, but they don’t do much for your thirst. I also remember the swimming and canoeing, and all the fun. Like many adults, I always wanted to go back to summer camp.

Well, I think I just found the perfect excuse for all of us to go back to summer camp: our dogs. If you long for the simple days of summer camp, you can now take your canine companion to summer camp. There are many different options, but at most of them, you get food, lodging, and lots of fun with your dog. I already did the research for you. Here are a few of the more popular dog camps and their details.

My No. 1 choice for a great doggie camp is Camp Unleashed in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The thing I liked the most about their philosophy is the first statement on their activities page: “No stupid pet tricks or best-of-show prizes—that's a promise.”

I agree, sometimes you don’t want to treat your dog like a dress-up Barbie. However, in place of the dress-up they have a serious roster of activities as follows:
  • Agility
  • A Natural Foods Approach to Preparing Meals for Your Dog
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Canine Aromatherapy
  • Canine Good Citizenship (CGC)
  • Canine Massage How-to
  • Clicker Training
  • Canine Water Sports
  • Canoeing with your Dog
  • Collecting Antique Dog Photographs
  • Disc Throwing or Frisbee™
  • Dock Diving
  • Dogs in Art History
  • Emergency First Aid for Dogs
  • Exploring Dog-Human Relationship
  • Flyball
  • Freestyle
  • Gentle Yoga
  • Healing for Animals with Reiki
  • Intensive Recall
  • Living with dogs: Creating Dog-friendly homes
  • Natural Health and Nutrition
  • Nature Hikes
  • Positive Approaches to Behavior Challenges
  • Rally-O
  • Swimming
  • Therapy Dogs
  • Tracking
  • Campfires
And, if you have never been to Western Massachusetts, you are in for a treat. We lived there for a few years. And, even today, we always stop there on our way in and out for the winter. Contact Information: Phone/Fax: 518-781-0446 Email: annie@campunleashed.com.

Farther down the coast is Barking Hills Country Club in the Delaware River Valley area near Frenchtown, New Jersey, less than 90 minutes from New York City. Their slogan: “Barking Hills Country Club—Where Every Human Must be Accompanied by a Dog.”

This is not an overnight camp, but a day country club, with certified dog trainers and instructors. They have a seven-acre piece of land with four acres actually fenced in so your dog can run to his heart’s content. They also provide classes and programs in agility, carting, flyball, and lure coursing. The surrounding Delaware River Valley is the perfect place for boating, hot air ballooning, antiquating, hiking and biking. Contact Information: Phone/Fax 908-996-9911 Email:barking@eclipse.net.

Next, we move way out west to Stateline, Nevada, on the shores of Lake Tahoe to Camp Winnaribbun, where “Dogs and their people are invited to come together for action-packed and fun-filled weeks of canine celebration. Every summer thirty-three acres of pine forest and private beach go to the dogs in the magnificent setting of Lake Tahoe.”

Here is a list of some of the great activities listed on their website:
  • Pet Obedience - Play-train your dog to better manners.
  • Competitive Obedience - Working clinics. Private lessons by arrangement.
  • Psychocybernetics - Achieve your goals using positive mind power.
  • Agility - Fun for you and your dog at beginner and advanced levels.
  • Lure Coursing - Exciting chase sport where dogs try to catch the lure.
  • Crafts - Incredible artistic creations for both you and your dog.
  • Flyball - Instruction and demonstration of this exciting dog sport!
  • Health - Canine homeopathy and healing techniques.
  • Tracking - Through the scenic Lake Tahoe forest.
  • Herding - Bring out the working instinct in your herding dog.
  • Hiking - Off-leash nature walks for well-socialized dogs.
  • Photography - Photo shoots with professional photographers.
  • Plus - Swimming, Frisbee Fun, Breed Handling, Carting, and more!
Contact Information: Phone (775)348-8412,website: www.campW.com.

The last camp on my list is actually not a physical camp. The Dogs Camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a camp that meets in a certain location and people stay at local lodging, including some rustic cabins. The thing I like about this camp is that they have a few places specifically for RV's (but no hookups).

Here is an excerpt from their website “Join us September 20-25, 2009 in the Blue Ridge Mountains for a week devoted to the joy of training and competing in canine sports. We've brought together top instructors to coach you in all aspects of working with your dog. Learn the skills that will help draw you and your dog together as a winning team; develop the know how to train, communicate, and compete effectively.” Contact Information: Phone: 828-649-3691: Email:catherine@thedogscamp.com

So whether you decide to stay overnight, stay nearby, or go for the day; think about it, the joy of summer camp for both you and your dog. See you at summer camp!