Summer Camp for Dogs: 7 Unforgettable Camps to Take Your Dog this Summer
Many of us have fond memories of summer camp: swimming in the lake, hiking along woodland trails, munching on s’mores by the bonfire. The only thing that could improve those idyllic summer nights? Your dog, of course!
Much to our delight, more and more dog-centric camps are springing up across the U.S. These camps have it all: swimming, agility, training, crafts, and campfire howl sessions. Guests make lifelong memories, learn new skills, and deepen the bonds they share with their pups.
Soak up the dog days of summer at one of these paw-some summer camps for dogs.
1. Camp Dogwood—Highland Park, Illinois
Camp Dogwood was the brainchild of two long-time friends who found it increasingly hard to find dog-friendly spaces in the Chicago area. By combining their shared love of the outdoors, camping, and spending time with their precious pooches, the founders set out to create a special retreat for dogs and their owners.
Camp Dogwood seeks to promote human-canine bonding through educational programs and fun activities. The camp offers agility courses, core conditioning, group hikes and swims, and dog yoga. Guests can also participate in dog treat-making and the camp’s “Night Howl Campfires.”
Sessions are offered in the spring, fall, and winter. Schedules vary from session to session, so check their website to plan your stay.
2. Camp Gone to the Dogs—Front Royale, Virginia
Operating since the ‘90s, Camp Gone to the Dogs is considered the “Original Dog Camp.” This groundbreaking site is located in the lush countryside of Front Royale, Virginia, and it’s a great place to meet other dog-lovers.
The folks at Camp Gone to the Dogs are pretty clear about their love for all things canine: “Our camps are a celebration of dogs and all the ways they bring joy into our lives.” As such, the camp offers a range of activities and seminars for attendees—from agility and “scent fun” to barn hunts and lure coursing.
Need to work on your dog’s manners? The camp includes obedience and behavior classes led by professional trainers who stick with positive training techniques. They can also help your pup get into agility, even if he’s a first-timer.
3. Canine Camp Getaway—Gettysburg, PA & East Durham, NY
Canine Camp Getaway is the ultimate dog-lover’s retreat. With a June session hosted at their Pennsylvania site and a September session set in the Adirondacks of NY, this unique dog camp really pulls out all the stops for their canine (and human) guests.
The motel-like accommodations feature basic amenities such as air conditioning, private baths, cable, and mini fridges. Meals are included, and well-behaved dogs can even join their owners at the camp’s outdoor dining area.
Guests of the camp have their pick of enriching activities. Choose from doga (dog yoga), hiking, agility training, and yes, even freestyle doggy dancing. Lounging poolside is another a popular favorite. Oh, and don’t fret if your dog has never tried agility before—at Canine Camp Getaway, all experience levels are welcome.
Channel your crafty side at the camp’s “Barks & Crafts,” or give Fido’s sniffer a workout at a scent detection workshop. The camp also hosts costume contests, movie nights under the stars, and a fun-filled yappy hour.
4. Dog Scouts of America—St. Helen, Michigan
With agility courses, water sports, and obedience training, there’s something for everyone at the Dog Scouts of America Camp. This camp is on a mission “to improve the lives of dogs, their owners, and society through humane education, positive training, and community involvement.” To that end, we think they’re absolutely crushing it.
One of the most unique features of this camp is their use of canine merit badges. Designed to encourage canine socialization, this goal-oriented aspect of the camp is a fun way to work on your dog’s skills in things like obedience and community service. Show off your hard work by displaying your badges on your dog’s backpack, crate, or travel carrier.
At the Dog Scouts of America, you won’t find breed discrimination of any kind. All dogs are welcome, provided they pass a test (along with their owner) to demonstrate their responsibility and good manners.
Please note: due to Covid restrictions, the Dog Scouts of America is postponing their summer 2021 camp.
5. Camp Unleashed—Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, & Georgia
At Camp Unleashed you can spend four lovely days with your pup in the picturesque countryside. As a guest at one of the camp’s three stunning locations, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in an array of dog-approved activities while meeting like-minded dog-people.
Camp Unleashed caters to every type of dog personality, from high-octane puppies to more leisurely senior dogs. As their website puts it: “There’s a lot to do or nothing to do—it’s completely your choice.”
And they’re not kidding when they say “there’s a lot to do.” This camp boasts a plethora of outdoor activities for Fido, including water sports, canoeing, flyball, scent-tracking games, and dock diving. You can brush up on your dog’s freestylin’ moves with musical freestyle training or try out agility courses with expert trainers as your guide. Blow off steam solo or in a group by exploring the camp’s miles of scenic hiking trails.
Itching for something new? Attend a nutrition class, or try your hand at dog portraits (non-artists are just as welcome to participate!) The camp also offers arts-and-crafts, canine massage, and daily wine and cheese hour (ok, we’re in!)
6. Yellowstone Dog Sports—Roberts, Montana
Featured in TIME and Modern Dog magazine, Yellowstone Dog Sports is one getaway you and your dog won’t forget. Set in the gorgeous wilderness of Montana, the camp spans 90-acres and boasts scenic hiking trails and tranquil swimming ponds.
What can you expect to do on your stay?
For starters, you can get in some cardio and experience the majestic Montana landscape on a dog-friendly nature walk. Then take your pick of canine nutrition seminars, agility courses, freestyle lessons, and obedience classes—all with experienced instructors. Your dog can also brush up on his tracking skills or participate in flyball or dock diving.
Interested in something a little different? How about sheep herding practice. That’s right—the camp provides sheep just for that purpose. And if you’re looking for something completely out of the box, Yellowstone Dog Camp even offers reiki energy work and homeobotanical healing.
Please note: Yellowstone Dog Camp is booked for 2021. Check out their website for future camp dates.
7. Wild Blue Dogs—Lake Tahoe, California
Wild Blue Dogs is the ultimate interactive camping experience for dogs and their owners. At this all-inclusive camp on Lake Tahoe your dog can go kayaking or paddleboarding, practice his nose-work skills, or participate in dog therapy training. Wild Blue Dogs also offers courses in pet photography, grooming, nutrition, positive training, and animal massage.
And bonus: all profits go towards canine cancer treatment and research—something we’re happy to support.
The benefits of attending summer camp with your dog are many. Plus, it’s just plain fun! For more tips on vacationing with your dog, check out our posts on planning a roadtrip with your dog and flying with your dog.