Saturday, 10 August 2013

A Lab and a Vizsla go Camping

We have just returned from a wonderful two week vacation of camping with the dogs.  We love to include the dogs in our travels and everyone enjoys it but I find it interesting how taking the dogs out of our normal daytime routine highlights the differences in their personalities.

Both dogs are pretty good travelers but it is odd that the two year old "high energy breed" is actually easier to travel with than the seven year old labrador.   Stella goes into the vehicle and basically just settles down and goes to sleep for the duration.  Riley usually needs a walk before a long driving time otherwise he is convinced that we are driving somewhere good to go for a walk.  Every time we slow down somewhere he gets all excited and is sure that the party is about to start.  We manage this but there are times that it can be frustrating to have a big black dog panting in my ear from the back seat.  Even days that he is walked if we drive for a long time he tends to get bored and restless. The dogs wear seatbelts so that helps keep everyone safe and under control.

Riley is a total pain in the the butt if he doesn't get a daily walk but we could skip a day of exercise with Stella if necessary and she would be fine.

Life in the campground usually highlights the princess factor for Stella.  She likes her "creature comforts" and opts to use the dog beds almost always compared to Riley who often prefers the dirt.  She gets cold easily as a single coat dog so loves the sunny spots, sleeps under the covers and often wears a light fleece in the evenings.   When the evening gets cool she makes it pretty clear that she would like to go in the trailer.  Riley is almost always warm so seeks out cool spots and likes the air conditioning.  In the vehicle I always aim the air conditioning vents all away from Stella and towards Riley.

We did lots of swimming on our trip and Stella is an amazingly efficient swimmer.   She easily speeds by Riley to steal the ball much to his dismay but gets chilled easily when swimming for long periods of time.  The lake at the final spot we camped was quite chilly so she opted mostly to splash in the shallows.  Riley is over the top intense when swimming for a ball but luckily there is never a conflict between the dogs and we always have an extra ball to throw so they each get to bring one back to shore.  Riley would swim for a ball until he fell over from exhaustion so we have to watch him to make sure he doesn't do to much.  We also have started to only throw the ball once he is standing deep enough into the lake to need to swim right away.  If we throw from shore he leaps through all the shallows and that tweaks his back and hips.

Both dogs are wonderfully sociable and are always happy to meet other people which is good in a busy campground.  Stella can sometimes be a bit barky at things when we are hanging out in the campsite.  She tends to be suspicious of people standing off alone.   Sometimes they want to bark at other dogs walking by but we always keep a bunch of treats and usually work "look at that" in those situations so now mostly they are conditioned to see other dogs and then look at us waiting for their rewards.

Camping is the perfect "family" activity for us and is the main reason we purchased our own little trailer.  It is much easier to bring our own house along on vacation then to find suitable dog friendly accommodations!

Hubby with the dogs

Stella stalking some ducks

Happy Girl

Can we swim yet?

Hiking the trail


  1. Sounds like you had a great time. I read your descriptions of the differences in the two dogs, and I am amazed at how much it sounds like the differences between Toby and Medi. Especially this:

    "Riley is a total pain in the the butt if he doesn't get a daily walk but we could skip a day of exercise with Stella if necessary and she would be fine."

    It's funny...the coordinator of our local Vizsla rescue was chatting with me the other day and mentioned how many times she talked people OUT of adopting a Vizsla and talked them in to getting a Lab instead. She said this was due to the exercise needs of the Vs...

    I told her while I only have limited experience, Toby (as much as I love him) is by FAR a bigger P.I.T.A. when he doesn't get enough of it, compared to Meadow. She takes each day as it comes, and had no problem settling if we take a day to do nothing. Seems I'm not the only one experiencing this difference.

    1. Yup, you aren't the only one! Lucy was much easier going and less intense than Riley but I would say Riley has much more of a field intensity for breeding.

  2. Riley sounds like Boo in the car. Part of the reason we rarely go anywhere... If you ever get fed up with him and get him meds for a long car ride, make sure you test them beforehand. :D (Boo reacts oppositely to the meds, of course.)

    Sounds like pretty awesome company for camping though. :)

    1. He really isn't all that bad unless I compare him to Stella. He does have times that he makes me nuts but we just stop and walk him around for a bit then he will settle back down again. I gave him Melatonin for the days that were lots of driving and I think that helped. The dogs go with us all the time in the car in our regular life and he is fine there unless we get close to a spot that we walk.

  3. We just went camping last weekend too!
    Your spots look so beautiful. I love watching my dog swim, one of my very favorite things to do, so cool that both your dogs do! I wish Rye would.
    Amber was on the lower end of the Vizsla energy scale too, she was almost lazy sometimes! She loved her hikes but could settle down very nicely without exercise for a few days on long work days. Indi is not quite like that yet but getting better with regular exercise. She still needs her daily workouts for the most part!

  4. Your camping adventures always look so wonderful. Almost makes me want to take up camping just to get closer to nature. Notice I said 'almost' - ha, ha!

  5. Sounds like fun! I have wanted to go camping with the pups forever, but have not gotten around to it. I may end up going by myself as i don't know if the Mr. will ever get to it. I can relate to many of the descriptions you wrote having a lab and Vizsla too. But i must admit I think Wyatt is converting to the vizsla ways a bit. I find him sleeping in high places and on beds too.