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I would like to adopt a puppy in the next year or so, and am starting to do a little research. I intend to make full use of the resources available in my community to ensure my new friend has the right start, training, socialization, and so on.

Down the road, I would like to take my new friend on some adventures, and this will involve tent camping in somewhat remote locations. I have this vision in my head of sleeping soundly in my bag, when some innocent woodland creature wanders by. Suddenly the dog has gone beside itself, ripped through the tent fabric with its claws, only to subsequently be scratched, bitten, sprayed, invenomated, or otherwise messed up by the critter who was only making its rounds.

What sort of experiences and training should I expose the puppy to early on, in order to acclimate it to these situations and ensure at most a warning bark to whatever lies outside the canvas?

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Your question can't really be answered canonically, but there are a few things you might do:

  1. Train respect for barriers like crates, baby gates, and especially tent fabric.
  2. Train a reliable recall that's strong enough that you can count on it in an emergency situation.
  3. Bring a soft-sided dog crate with you into your tent, and ensure the dog sleeps there.
  4. Keep your dog on a hands-free leash outside the tent while you're camping.

If your dog has a very strong prey drive, safety management is simply more pragmatic than desensitization training, especially when you don't have all the required stimuli handy to train with. Your mileage will of course vary.

  • "Train a bomb-proof recall" may be less than clear to most readers, and arguably beyond the skills of anyone for whom this Q&A would be valuable to. – James Jenkins Oct 12 '14 at 9:29
  • @JamesJenkins Please see the related meta discussion. – CodeGnome Oct 12 '14 at 15:50

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