RV Park PETiquette

Amy & Rod Burkert Amy & Rod Burkert  |  02.15.2017

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!

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  1. Danne Posted on 04.05.2017

    We’ve had great success last summer with our new pup. Hoping for a great summer ahead. Some campgrounds do not allow for the zipline setup around tree trunks so be sure to ask the host if it is allowed. Question for you. What brand of harness and leash on the German Shepard? Thanks!

  2. HELEN Posted on 02.25.2017

    I travel all the time with my Sheltland Sheepdog Sunshine. She is very obedient. She does like to bark, as Shelties do, but I am very aware of this and watchful so that she doesn’t disturb anyone. She is very quiet when left alone and as long as she gets her treat before I leave, she is fine. She is very anxious while we are driving until we get on a freeway. I’ve trained her not to sit on my lap. I’ve found that a little cube between the driver seat and the passenger seat keeps her happy.

  3. Sharon Owenson Posted on 02.18.2017

    I agree that disrespectful dog owners are a problem. We have a small dog with us because we spend the winter in warm areas. We cannot leave our dog and wouldn’t as he is a part of our family. We try not to leave our dog alone in our motor home but have to some of the time. We are among the responsible owners who try to be good neighbors to everyone. Please be tolerant if possible or kindly speak to the owner if things are bad. We camped when raising 3 children and were tolerant of all kinds of unpleasant situations as children’s parents are not always respectful either. I find most campers good people who are all trying to enjoy life and would do anything to help us if we needed it.

  4. Dave Chess Posted on 02.18.2017

    Well Dick, glad I don’t camp where you do as I don’t want to deal with any of that either. Not all dog owners are irresponsible. We have a small dog that is quiet and we pick up after him. And we don’t allow him on other people’s sites. Hope your travels are all good.

  5. Dick Beery Posted on 02.16.2017

    It seems like there are more dogs than people in RV Parks. Very disturbing trend. Barking at all hours. Very rude. I would appreciate it if people would leave their dogs at home. People do not obey the rules and stepping in dog poop is revolting.

  6. Barbara Brightbill Posted on 02.16.2017

    We will be traveling with 2 cats, any suggestion on where to put the cat litter box?