Tips I Used to Introduce Kaito to Hammocking.
Hello! I'm Veona. My dog Shiba and I love exploring the wilds of Arizona. Recently, we've gotten into hammock camping. It was a bit of an adjustment but here's what we've learned.
Introducing a dog to a hammock can be tricky, but it's not impossible. I used the following tips to make myself and my dog as comfortable as possible. If you are headed camping with your pet, make sure to introduce the hammock to them before you leave on your adventure so they get accustomed to it.
A big part of your training will come down to personality. If your dog is nervous in new situations, you may have more work to do. If your pup is excited about every new adventure, you should have no problem at all!
1. Always start low to the ground when starting a new introduction. Having your pet be able to jump freely into the hammock helps to develop confidence.
My Haven Tent made this easy as the air mattress holds the hammock body open. It moved around a bit, but jumping in wasn't too unlike hopping onto a low sofa. We started low the ground and Kaito was able to get right in and out. Make sure your pet doesn't get lost in your hammock. It is ultra-important that they always see an escape. This creates a sense of safety and will help them relax.
For your comfort, as well as your pet's, make sure you start with a hammock large enough for both of you. Are you camping with a German Shepard or a Chihuahua? Your size and the size of your companion will make a big difference in the type of hammock you should start with.
2. Make sure to check your pet's nails, and do necessary grooming to prevent any tears or injury to your pet.
Backpacking hammocks are generally made out of lightweight materials. A wrong move with a sharp paw can damage the hammock and weaken the integrity of the system. But the most vulnerable part of a hammock (or ground tent) is always the bug net.
I always recommend having a Repair Kit on hand just in case something unexpected does happen. Also, Haven Tents offers the Haven Safari which is made of more durable materials and offers more space than their backpacking tents.
3. Allow your pet to get comfortable with being in a hammock, especially with balancing.
When first introducing your pet to hammocking, bring a small blanket that will help with grip. This will also allow your furry friend to feel more comfortable with the balance. Let them get out if they want to so they know that they can. The Haven Tent is made for pets, but not all pets are made for the Haven Tent. Respect your pet's choice to be in or out. No one likes an anxious dog shaking all night.
4. Praise and bring tons of treats to associate the hammock with positive reinforcement.
Being den animals, most dogs like tight spaces. Especially if you are there with them. Having some kind of reward helps dogs relax and associate the hammock with comfort and safety.
At first, they may only want to be in the hammock when you are with them. They'll get in when you do and out with you as well. Eventually, they will identify the hammock as a den of sorts and jump in all on their own. Even when they are covered in mud or fresh from the lake, so watch out!
A fully-trained and hammock-ready pup can be a nice warm addition to your night in the woods. Keep your friends close and your furry friends closer 😉