As dog owners, our dogs are our best friends. They are our world, a part of us, which is why we want them to go everywhere with us, including in our RVs. Unfortunately, not everyone is a dog lover or even a dog liker. As a result, it is important to follow some basic dog owner etiquette when taking our dogs on RV trips to ensure that our dogs only affect our own camping experiences and not those of others around us. In fact, not following these basic rules can result in campgrounds changing their dog policies to restrict dogs for future visitors.
Most campgrounds require you to keep your dog either in your specific campsite or with you at all times. The rules vary from campground to campground on how you contain your dog. Some RV resorts will allow you to use a portable fence or dog exercise pen. Others may permit a tie-out that is either staked into the ground or attached to a zipline. Many campgrounds will require your dog to be leashed at all times on a 6 foot or shorter leash any time he or she is outside of your rig.
Additionally, rules may vary on whether or not a specific campground allows you to leave your dog alone inside of your RV. Some campgrounds prohibit dog owners from leaving their dogs in the RV without a human. Be prepared and plan accordingly so that all of your plans for your trip are dog-friendly, including stopping at a grocery store or other business for supplies.
Laws Regarding Breed, Size, and Number of Dogs
Earlier this summer we talked about Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) and traveling with dogs who are typically on the banned breeds list. While many municipalities are reversing their stance on BSL, privately-owned campgrounds may still have their own rules on which breeds can stay on their property. Planning ahead will help you find places to stay in your RV that allow your specific purebred or mixed-breed dog.
Additionally, you may encounter size restrictions at some campgrounds as well as a limit to the number of dogs allowed at your campsite. The best practice is always to plan ahead and phone the campground to talk to an actual person to confirm that their policies listed online are still up to date. The last thing you don’t want to do is arrive at your destination and be turned away because you have too many dogs, dogs who are too large, or a restricted breed of dog.
Nuisance Barking, Leash Walking, & Good Behavior
Regardless of rules surrounding the breed, the size of your dog, or how many dogs you have with you, the most important thing to consider when RVing with your dog is your actual dog’s behavior. When your dog is trained, everybody wins. Your dog is happier and more relaxed, you are happier and more relaxed, and your neighbors at your campsite are happier and more relaxed.
Excessive barking is impolite and can result in you being asked to leave a campground. Of course, barking is a natural behavior and some dogs are more vocal than others. Training, along with patience and repetition, can help you teach your dog how to respond to people and other dogs passing by your campsite. We suggest working with a professional dog trainer or checking out reliable dog training sources online to learn humane ways to work with your dog to minimize barking.
Lunging at other dogs or humans and excessive pulling while on a leash are also behaviors that can make your camping experience stressful for you, your dog, and your neighbors. You might also give the impression that your otherwise friendly dog is a safety risk. If your dog reacts this way when you encounter other dogs or humans, there are training exercises that you can do to improve his leash walking skills. Just like with barking, you can practice this before you go out RVing together.
While you and your dog are working on manners, you can go on shorter, local trips for just one night or practice on your own property. You can gradually lengthen the duration of your trips as your dog becomes more comfortable around strangers and in a campground setting.
What Goes In Must Come Out: Potty Etiquette
Cleaning up after your dog’s solid waste each and every time they eliminate their bowels should be a common practice anywhere you go, whether it is on a long camping trip or a walk around the block at home. It is equally important to correctly dispose of the bags as it is to pick up after your dog in the first place. Nobody wants dog poop bags littering campsites or hiking trails.
When camping, remember that cleanup bags do not keep the odor in, and the politest practice is to dispose of your dog’s poop in official pet waste stations if your campground has them. Otherwise, try to throw your poop bags away in dumpsters or garbage cans away from the rest of the campsites. You can also purchase special pet waste trash cans to keep outside your RV unit like the PetGenie or the PawPail Pet Waste Station that help contain the odor from your individual baggies until you can dispose of them away from your fellow campers.
In addition to cleaning up your dog’s solid waste, some campgrounds also have rules on where your pet can urinate. Although it can be difficult to keep your dog from urinating when walking, it is polite to keep them away from decorative landscapes, other people’s campsites and possessions, and common eating/cooking areas with picnic tables or grills. In order to prevent your dog from peeing on someone else’s campsite or their things, make sure you take a path that is away from their area where your dog can relieve himself without marking someone else’s territory.