- Aug 9, 2017 at 10:04 am #3483982
Long term lurker, first time poster. As a family of 4 hikers + dog we were very excited to add a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL4 to our arsenal this year. Size-wise we have plenty of options to fit everyone + gear and works out to under 2lbs. per person for a free-standing shelter, plus I got it $200 off since it was last year’s model, not bad! (anyone here not willing to sacrifice a little headroom to save $200?)
But, as the title spoiled for you, our 2 y/o Border Collie little angel on the trail (really, he’s a dream) is a monster when it comes to the tent. We’ve had this tent out once on the AT for a 5 mile in and out test overnight-er and the dog managed to put a massive tear in the rain fly, many small holes in the mesh, countless snags in the mesh, and ripped off a clip to the poles. Now he’s a well loved BC which means he’s obviously very trainable but I’m also realistic enough to know that it’s not going to be like flipping a light switch, especially with our starting point and next time we go out magically he’s going to stop trying to crash through mesh and scratching at rain-flies.
Anyone in this camp? Did I make a bad choice going for the Agnes? Do people with dogs find Cuben Fiber to be a more durable dog-friendly material? Is there a stronger mesh material I can reinforce my tent with as I look to patch up large portions that are damaged? Any other advice?
A part from wanting to explore while at camp which we’re working on, he’s really an amazing dog on the trail, even functional, you can’t accidentally go off trail with him as he will always be in front sniffing his way back to smells of a well traveled path. Just countless other dream behaviors, not the least of which, incredibly sweet and endearing to opposite-going hikers (even occasionally tries to change directions and lead them, nobo family, sobo dog!). The point being, this is a working dog who definitely treats the trail like his job and I need to find the easiest (cheapest!) way to get through this destructive phase.
Thanks for the tips in advance!
-JimAug 9, 2017 at 10:10 am #3483983
Jeffs ElevenBPL Member
Im lucky, as mine is ridiculously chilled out in the tent. Mine may lean on the sides more than i like, but i can tell her to move and she will.
I will be watching this thread though…Aug 9, 2017 at 10:36 am #3483990
Paul SBPL Member
Usually it’s th mesh that causes a problem since they don’t always see it.
in your case you might be better served with a floorless shelter like a MLD SuperMid. Trick is to keep them from going under the tarp.Aug 9, 2017 at 10:51 am #3483993
He’s a very active dog and we trim his nails before a trip even though they don’t generally need it. The floor has actually performed admirably (albeit in our 1, short trip).
It’s more a problem of, “oh hey look, this is my space I’m going to find access to it.”Aug 9, 2017 at 11:07 am #3483997
Kevin BabioneBPL Member
What about running to Walmart and buying one of their $22 “disposable” tents and using that to train him? Get him used to sitting outside the tent until you’ve opened it and then give a command (like crate-training a dog) for him to enter.Aug 9, 2017 at 11:23 am #3483999
Genius. This is happening. Any tips on materials?
Going to have to pick up this beauty.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/2-Person-Tent-Dome-Tents-for-Camping-with-Carry-Bag-by-Wakeman-Outdoors-Camping-Gear-for-Hiking-Backpacking-and-Traveling-GREEN/54265056?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=1172&adid=22222222227045954356&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=103588818977&wl4=aud-310687322322:pla-259839538292&wl5=9004436&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8453398&wl11=online&wl12=54265056&wl13=&veh=semAug 9, 2017 at 1:38 pm #3484034
Kevin BabioneBPL Member
That was the exact tent I saw, but I saw it in red. If it survives then it will be a fun play tent for the kids and if it doesn’t then you’re certainly not out much. Keep us posted on how it works.Aug 9, 2017 at 10:57 pm #3484118
James CahillBPL Member
@dmatbLocale: Norf Carl
Question (from someone proudly owned by a herding dog): is your dog new to camping? Our heeler is an amazing trail dog but absolutely terrible at sleeping in the woods. Every noise and smell needs to be investigated. We’ve noticed that he sleeps quite peacefully in the truck bed under the stars, but he can’t wait to get out of the tent at night. He’s a huge weirdo though.
I only mention it because we were hoping to have Jeff’s chill camp dog but ended up with a watch dog who chases noise. Who knows, maybe he’ll get better with practice, but for now we only bring him car camping and all share the truck bed. Training with a cheap tent sounds like a great idea – don’t forget to try it at night!Aug 10, 2017 at 3:48 am #3484125
This is his first year on the trails, last year he was under a year and a BC puppy I figured was a bad idea to expose to a steady stream of physically exhausted and tired people :)
But yes, it’s camp behavior we need to work on. The only other camp behavior that’s a problem though besides the tent is his tendency to wander. I mean, he has the typical herding dog instincts to never leave us, but 30 feet away over a small hill where he can smell us is close by to him, but terrifying for us. I’ve been looking at those GPS collars hunters use but that’s gotta be way overkill for people like us.Aug 12, 2017 at 6:12 pm #3484561
Michelle BBPL Member
My tip is more in the area of dog training than tent material. There are a lot of awesome dogs that are so smart that they require very little “formal” training. That said, a sensitive dog like a BC should respond very well to marker training. When he truly understand what no means that should be all it takes for him to understand and stop his mistake.
If you want to learn more about this type of training check out Michael Ellis’s video “training with marker”.
Good luck!Aug 12, 2017 at 6:39 pm #3484566
Thanks Michelle, that’s the method we use to train already. Truth be told we have a plethora of clickers around but I find it more effective to mark his attention with praise. It’s not a question of whether or not I can teach him how to act around the tent it’s that even a few mistakes equal destroyed gear along the way.
My wife, who apparently is the best one that ever existed just bought an HMG Echo II as a gift and said, “take me on an AT section hike for our 10 year anniversary” – just got it today – but now I got this fancy cuben fiber tent and don’t want to take my dog with me anymore when I’m out! 2017 is a good year for me and getting shelters! (you know, provided I can keep them intact)
I think the $20 Walmart tent is a winner of an idea for practice.Aug 13, 2017 at 2:37 pm #3484697
Michelle BBPL Member
That should work! I am car camping in Alaska with 2 big dogs. I am using my Wal-Mart tent as well.Aug 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm #3484701
Ryan TuckerBPL Member
I have used BA tents in the Copper Spur line with my dogs and they do fine. I would suggest working on training it at home.Nov 14, 2017 at 6:38 pm #3502102
Seth DBPL Member
First time we took our dog camping it was two nights of car camping. Then we needed a bigger tent so got a 3p tent. Set it up in the basement for 4 days and trained with him. In out down. First night out he did great. Just leans on the sides a little much. Keep his nails short. I’m not sure when he’ll be allowed in the duplex though. HahaNov 14, 2017 at 11:01 pm #3502147
@pastyj-2-2Locale: Fed up with BPL snark!
Bob Moulder camps with his dog in a Duplex. I bet he has developed an effective means of protecting the shelter…that and has a VERY well trained and calm dog I bet :)Nov 15, 2017 at 5:40 am #3502221
Bob MoulderBPL Member
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
Yes, I do hike with my cattle dog mix-mutt Cyrus but he is so well behaved that I have not needed to do anything special to dog-proof my Duplex. He waits until I tell him to come in and he lies down on his mat. He sometimes leans against the mesh a bit too much and I re-position him.
Early on he walked into the mesh a couple of times before he learned I must unzip it for him. When camping out was still new to him he also reacted to every little night sound by perking up and listening, although he hardly ever barks. He has learned to filter out what is okay and what is not, so he almost never snaps to attention for those small sounds any more. A couple of years ago there were some coyotes having a nasty fight no more that 30 yards from the tent and he didn’t even budge… snoozed right through it. Last time he even woke up was when there was something like a raccoon or porcupine outside the tent—I turned on my headlight and saw only the beady little eyes.
Well OK, he sometimes plops down on my sleep mat when I’m out for a pee. :^)Nov 20, 2017 at 12:46 am #3503005
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Hey James, you’re in luck. Border Collies, as a breed, are the smartest of all dogs. Train it.Jan 16, 2018 at 3:54 am #3512695
Brad GrovesBPL Member
Coming to this late, but will say that mesh does seem to confuse them, the “training tent” is a good idea… and I’d consider a tether in camp, instead of leaving them in the tent. My old trail buddies were rarely, if ever, in a tent without me. They were basically with me, wherever. But sometimes that isn’t convenient in camp, and sometimes you don’t want your dog to wander. I use a tether, generally around 30 feet, sometimes up to 50. “True” paracord is 550# (I noticed at the hardware store they had 550 paracord rated at 100#), and while heavier than UL, it’s cheap and stuffs easily into the dog pack. If you want to go techy, still way cheaper than a tent, I’ve used kevlar and technora “kite” line.Jan 16, 2018 at 10:56 am #3512718
Seth DBPL Member
I have a 17 month old ridgeback male. He’s intact and his father is a purebred right from South Africa. My dog is all nut all the time. He’s cocoo. But is very trainable. Before we ever camped with him we set the tent up in the basement for a good week I’d say. Every time we’d go outside we’d come in and do a few simple commands with him. Asking him to sit and wait outside. Or on his bed inside. The only thing he does now is sometimes lean against the mesh and he always try’s to steel my wife’s quilt and thermarest set up, but I can’t blame him. I think he’s excited to see the tent because he doesn’t always get a lunch nap and he knows we are going to settle down and be feeding him. Positive reinforcement. They do what you want, treat. If they don’t ignore it, let it pass and try again.Feb 27, 2018 at 9:41 pm #3521135
I don’t know much about BC or heelers though I have always admired them but I hope they are not like my Great Pyrenees, I have one now and had another and they were EXTREMELY DESTRUCTIVE until they passed 2 years old and then they just mellowed out like old men seemingly overnight. if you decide to go the tracking collar route let me know I have a top notch Garmin rig with the North America topo I bought extra and loaded onto it. I bought it for a treeing feist I didn’t know anything about and only used it one season so it is like new and on the rare occasion that I use a gps I prefer my old gray scale Garmin GPS 12, go figure….
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