Is there anything better than RVing with your dogs? Days spent enjoying the outdoors, evenings around a fire roasting hot dogs, and snuggling up together under the stars – it’s in our DNA! But including our pets in those activities comes with a responsibility.
It only takes few bad experiences for campground and RV park managers to stop welcoming pets, so we all have to do our part to ensure that we’re being considerate guests. Follow these camping etiquette tips, and you’ll always leave a great impression!
Brush Up on Training – Before you leave on a camping trip it’s a good idea to spend some time working with your dog on his basic obedience. Practicing commands like come, sit, and leave it not only help your pup mind his p’s and q’s, but also help him stay safe in a new environment.
Respect the Rules – It’s important to ask for the pet policy of the campground or RV park when making your reservations. Many limit the size and number of pets per campsite, and some won’t allow dogs of particular breeds to stay. In addition, beaches and pool areas will likely be off limits, pets will probably need to be kept leashed at all times, and there may be restrictions on leaving your pets unattended (sometimes even inside your motorhome or camper).
Know what you’re signing up for before putting down a deposit, and then follow the stated rules once you arrive.
Give Others Space – The chance to relax and get away from it all is exactly what camping is all about! For you, that includes spending time with your dog, but not everyone feels the same way. Your neighbors and their pets may be uncomfortable around other dogs so, unless you’re invited, give your fellow campers a wide berth.
Never Abandon Your Pet’s Waste – Inconsiderate owners not picking up after their pets is the primary reason campgrounds, parks, beaches, and other locations choose not to allow dogs. Always keep a few plastic waste bags in your pocket, and once filled, place them in a proper receptacle.
This rule applies not just in campgrounds, but everywhere you walk your dog. No one wants to have their day ruined by stepping in what your dog left behind, and worse – it can make other animals sick!
Keep It Down – There’s nothing like the persistent barking of a dog to disturb the peace and quite of a campground. Most of this commotion can be avoided by not leaving your pet alone in an unfamiliar environment. But, if the sight of every squirrel, bird, and passing pooch incites a barking jag for your dog, bring some stuffed toys, food puzzles, or long-lasting chews that he can work on while you’re lounging outside together.
Take Care When Tethering – Dogs often get tied to trees or picnic tables to keep them from wandering off, but that can be dangerous. Pets left tethered can become prey for wild predators, may be surprised by stray children, or could get tangled up in their lead and hurt. Never leave your dog unattended outside, and be sure he’s far enough away from roads and walking paths to keep him from surprising people passing by. Finally, a DIY doggy zip line is often a better solution than a tether for keeping your pooch safe and happy.
Where to Walk – Campgrounds will sometimes create a “pet walk” area, where dogs are meant to relieve themselves. If carrying your dog isn’t feasible, getting to the designated spot in time isn’t always possible, but do your best.
Dogs should never be allowed to explore someone else’s campsite, or relieve themselves on someone else’s tires, chairs, or other belongings. Retractable leashes seem to contribute significantly to this situation, so if you use that type of leash, be sure to pay close attention to your dog’s whereabouts while you’re walking together.
Know When It’s Time To Go – All dogs have bad days, or perhaps your pup just isn’t ready for his first big camping trip. This is meant to be fun, and if things aren’t working out, pack up and try it again another day.
It only takes a bit of effort for pet travelers to set a great example and leave behind a wonderful impression, and to show all businesses that we’re considerate, responsible guests. Thank you for helping to ensure that we’ll all have plenty of places to go camping with our pets in the future!