Recommendations on Camping with Dogs

Discussion in 'Camping with Kids/Pets' started by smg_4hnds, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. smg_4hnds

    smg_4hnds New Member

    Jul 17, 2018
    UPDATE - To illustrate another challenge I hadn't considered. So, back in September, I rented a travel trailer (still haven't purchased a popup) and did some camping late September for a dog-related event near St. Louis, Missouri. Pretty decent campground and overall a nice trip.

    I brought my now three golden retrievers - used the portable fencing and essentially enclosed my campsite using the trailer and my truck as barriers. Overall, no issues until campers who brought their living rooms along with their kids set up in the space next to me.

    Ended up having words and a lot of hard feelings - principally, their kids kept coming into our campsite breaking limbs off the trees to burn and to see the dogs. Besides the obvious tree limb issue, the kids kept screwing around with the dogs - teasing them, etc. I finally had to tell the kids they were welcome to meet the dogs but otherwise they had to stop because the were encouraging my dogs to bark. Last thing I wanted were these kids to aggravate my dogs which would in turn aggravate the entire campground!

    This, in turn, pissed off the parental units. I ended up having to endure two days next to these chuckleheads when it finally ended with one of the kids running around after 11pm, tripping, and, apparently, the subsequent need to get to an urgent care facility. Sigh.

    I'm just getting back into the camping life - recently, rented a PUP and took 2 of 3 dogs, all golden retrievers. As I look to buy my first PUP and head out camping, I don't want to be THAT guy. For the record, I keep my dogs on a 6' leash, never walk without poop bags to curb my dogs. When I did my camping trip, I took along my X-Pens and kept my dogs "loose" in the enclosed area while I was at the campsite (cooking/tending the fire). Dogs were never left unattended except when I loaded them in my TV when I went to the shower/restroom to get cleaned up. Never had an issue and the camp hosts wandered over to talk to the dogs, visit, etc. Theoretically, I did everything right.

    That said, what am I missing? Of course I think my goldens are terrific. Two are therapy dogs/CGC certified; however, they are big (to some folks) and they will bark at something unusual - which is only one reason why they aren't left unattended.

    THAT dog owner frustrates me, you know the jerk that lets the dog bark incessantly, doesn't pick up poop, lets it run, etc., etc. I want to make sure I avoid even being considered like THAT guy.

    Don't want to start a war - just help me make sure I am as courteous as possible and perhaps even set a good example!

    Suggestions & recommendations to improve?
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
    Orchid and nineoaks2004 like this.
  2. bols2Dawall

    bols2Dawall S.W. Ontario

    May 19, 2010
    Lasalle Ontario
    Sounds like you'd make a great camping neighbor , much more considerate than some of the dog owners out there , do some people just don't notice their barking dogs ( so used to it ?) or is it they just don't care ?
  3. smg_4hnds

    smg_4hnds New Member

    Jul 17, 2018
    I don't know - I just always assume it's a lack of courtesy and folks just don't care. I'm always amazed at dog shows: dogs in x-pens yapping their brains out and people not picking up after their dogs.
  4. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

    Oct 3, 2007
    Waterford, Ct
    I guess I have been very lucky. 90 percent of the time our fellow campers have had very well behaved dogs.
    I for one am very guilty as charged because my Quincy to me is very behaved and I do take baggies and a leash with me. But my dog is very seldom on a leash. You give pet a lot of love and they usually love you that much back. Now that I said this. If my dog was not well behaved he would not go camping with me.
    kcsa75 likes this.
  5. Arlyn Aronson

    Arlyn Aronson Active Member

    Jun 11, 2014
    Houghton MI
    Well behaved dogs are the trained ones. We train ours to operate via lead or without one. That also means they must abide by whatever commands they are told to do, and of course that includes barking. We will reprimand them if they bark whenever we don't care to hear that, which is most of the time. No more then we want to hear kids screaming at 8am or 10pm, we also don't what you to listen to our mutts barking. Seems like that should be normal, common courtesy. Its much fun to be around polite kids and the same if in case your socialized dog happens wonder through our site. We love them all when they are well behaved.
    smg_4hnds likes this.
  6. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2018
    Sounds like you're doing everything right. I have found that it's not about doing things perfectly, it's about making the effort to be reasonable.

    My dogs are good but definitely not perfect. Bat-dog has people fear issues still. But people are always very positive about them when we go camping because I always make the effort and I explain Bat-dog's fear. It usually results in at least one person making an extra effort with Bat-dog which helps her learn that people are good.

    Last camping trip, Bat-dog kept barking at folks walking past our site. I would try to redirect her each time. At one point, the passing man said "don't worry, it's bothering you more than it's bothering anyone else".

    Perfection - not necessary; effort - absolutely necessary.

    I'll also add that if you have a dog who isn't "good" at camping, the best thing is to keep taking them camping so they do learn. Just let people know the dog is learning camping etiquette and show the effort in teaching the dog. In a year or two, you will have a dog who can behave when camping.
    smg_4hnds likes this.
  7. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    just go up to camp host or office and report it. i have a Service Dog (Signal dog for deaf) and he behaves exactly as expected. he does not bark at all and is always on leash. He does not run off at all but keep on leash as ADA guidelines require.
    smg_4hnds likes this.
  8. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2018
    Thought of this thread. This morning I heard the following at the campground:

    Mavis! Mavis! Come back here! Oh she's friendly! Oh she's going in that trailer. Mavis! Oh no, she's really friendly. I wouldn't let her off leash if she wasn't. She just loves everybody. And she's so great with other dogs. ... Oh yesterday there was someone with their dog and there were two dogs on leashes at the beach and this person wanted the dogs to meet. They got in a big fight. ... Oh no she's a good dog.

    I then saw a woman with her leashed dog come around the corner. My dogs barked a couple times and whined a bit as they passed. We said hello to each other.

    Please, it doesn't matter how nice, friendly, sweet, obedient your dog is - use a leash. Some people don't want to be approached by strange dogs. Some dogs have "weird" (to us) reactions when they meet multiple dogs (or if one dog is on a leash and the other isn't). Leashes let others enjoy their trip too.

    If you have to reassure people, apologize, etc., whenever someone passes by, then you need to rethink how you are handling your dog.
    tika56 and bols2Dawall like this.
  9. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida
    Sounds like you are doing everything correctly, there are quite a few that do not do things right, I travel with one 1/2 Chihuahua 1/2 feist ,(Pebbles) she is energetic and is on her leash when we are out and about, I pick up after her, she rarely barks and usually makes friends with everyone she meets. When the DW goes we bring the rest of the pack 3 chihuahuas and they are all usually quiet, when we bring the whole Rat Pack (my name for them) we bring the portable fencing and all but Pebbles stays inside, (Pebbles has to be with me everywhere)
    You should be commended for your dogs and the things you do. Good Luck and Happy camping
    smg_4hnds likes this.
  10. JunieB

    JunieB Active Member

    May 8, 2018
    Central Florida
    Not sure the reason for the original post. Did someone complain? Did something go wrong? It sounded like you did all responsible dog owners should do.
    However, in FL State park campgrounds, regulations say all dogs must be on 6 foot leash, when outside of the "camping unit" meaning your tent or RV. Not sure the portable pens technically meet that rule. Just review every single campground's rules before you enter, and you should be fine. Don't go into dog-forbidden areas such as beaches.
    My pups go into my TV whenever I leave campsite to shower, too. It's the easiest and safest way.
    smg_4hnds likes this.
  11. smg_4hnds

    smg_4hnds New Member

    Jul 17, 2018
    I've actually had good experiences up here in Michigan - trying to be courteous. You mentioned Florida. I lived on the west coast of FL from '93-'02 and I thought enforcement bordered on bullying to get people with dogs completely out. (Dunno if things have changed over time - I was thrown out having them loose in the pen around my tent at an Ocala campground; so, I never spent money at Florida parks after that.)

    All that said, really just wanted to get other opinions that I was being reasonable - really trying to avoid any future problems.

  12. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida
    I have used the portable pens in Fl State Parks for years, and quite a few people do the same and I have never hears nor heard of a Ranger saying anything about it, in fact on one park the host and two of the volunteer workers use them too.
    Orchid likes this.
  13. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    Golden Retrievers are wonderful dogs! Glad you are able to bring them along with you. I'm sure they love it!
  14. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    I would say 90% of the dogs I see in FL state parks are in portable pens. On our last trip, there were five littles in one pen with hammocks. And the camp host right next us also had a portable pen for their dog. It's obvious that as long as the dogs are contained, it's no problem.
  15. Ruby Jean

    Ruby Jean Member

    May 30, 2017
    Bellingham, WA
    Suggestions & recommendations to improve?[/QUOTE]
    Sometimes I wrap a tarp around part of our x-pen to block the dogs' view of things they might want to bark at.
    smg_4hnds, jmkay1 and bols2Dawall like this.
  16. JunieB

    JunieB Active Member

    May 8, 2018
    Central Florida
    Good to know!
  17. nineoaks2004

    nineoaks2004 Every meal is a picnic and every Day is a holiday

    Oct 15, 2006
    Graceville, Florida
    Things have changed in Fl State Parks over the years, pets are welcome at the parks, they must be on a 6' leash and naturally there are some places in the park that you cannot take them. The pens are welcomed as long as the dogs behave themselves.
    Here are the rules
    Florida State Parks Pet Policy
    Domestic pets are permitted in designated day-use areas at ALL Florida State Parks. They must be kept on a handheld leash that is six feet or shorter and be well-behaved at all times. Pet owners are required to pick up after their pets and properly dispose of their droppings. Pets are not permitted on beaches or playgrounds, or in bathing areas, cabins, park buildings or concession facilities. Individual parks may have specific areas prohibiting pets.

    Park areas will be evaluated, as to the suitability of pets, on a periodic basis as part of the unit management planning process. Areas of the park designated as prohibited for pets shall be determined based on park natural and cultural resources, primary recreational activities, camper and pet health and safety, geographical location and layout of camping areas, and the ability to provide a quality recreational experience for all visitors.

    Service Animal Policy
    Florida State Parks welcomes visitors with service animals. Service animals are “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities,” according to the Revised Americans with Disabilities Act Service Animal Requirements. Our Pet Policy applies to service animals with the following exemptions:

    1. Service animals in a working capacity are allowed in all public areas of the park when accompanied by a visitor with a disability; and,
    2. Service animals should be harnessed, leashed or tethered unless such devices interfere with the service animal’s work, or if the visitor’s disability prevents the use of these devices. In that case, the visitor must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective controls.
    We understand that service animals may need recreational breaks; therefore, if a service animal is not working (e.g., running around, playing fetch, etc.), it is only permitted at designated pet locations.

    Pet Camping Rules
    For everyone's enjoyment, including pets, please observe the following pet camping rules. Failure to abide by these rules may result in the camper being asked to board the pet outside the park or check out of the campground.

    Pets are not allowed in any state park cabins or cabin areas.

    • All pets must be confined, leashed, or otherwise under the physical control of a person at all times. Leashes may not exceed six feet in length. This rule does not apply to horses and pack animals brought in for equestrian trail use.
    • Pets must be well-behaved at all times.
    • In campgrounds, pets must be confined in the owner's camping unit during designated quiet time hours, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
    • At other times, pets may be left unattended on the owner's campsite for no more than 30 minutes and must be leashed.
    • Pet owners are required to pick up after their pets and properly dispose of all pet droppings in trash receptacles.
    • Pets that are noisy, vicious, dangerous, disturbing or intimidating to other persons or pets, or which damage park resources, are considered to be nuisances and will not be permitted to remain in the park.
    • Non-furbearing pets, such as reptiles, birds or fish, must be confined or under the physical control of the owner. Some animals may be prohibited on park property. Captive wild species, whether native or non-native and barnyard animals, except horses, are prohibited.
    • The number of pets allowed is variable by park depending on the campsite types and buffer zones available, but shall not exceed four.
    • Dogs, cats and other pets must be vaccinated as per Chapter 828, F.S. Florida Law. Owners do not need written proof of vaccination when registering to camp.
    • Equestrians are required, upon request, to provide proof of negative Coggins test (EIA test) for each horse on areas administered by the division in accordance with F.A.C. 5C-18.010, 5C-18.011. This policy also applies to miniature horses that are service animals.
    • Pets are not allowed at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Park because of the captive wildlife. The park provides complimentary kennels at the main entrance of the park on US 19 for those visitors traveling with pets. They are self-service and free. Service animals are welcome in all areas of the park where visitors are normally allowed.
    Pet Safety
    Use the tips below for healthier and happier travels with your pets.

    • Be sure to keep your pet cool. Florida weather varies year-round, but can always include high temperatures, even in the winter.
    • Be sure to have plenty of water available, especially when leaving the campsite with your pet.
    • Never leave your pets in a parked car, even if the windows are open or if you are parked in the shade.
    • It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation. Temperatures inside a car easily reach more than 160 degrees if parked in the Florida sun.
    • Even when the outside air temperature is in the 60s, temperatures inside some vehicles can reach dangerous temperatures on bright, sunny days. So many experts recommend not leaving pets in parked cars even for short periods if the temperature is in the 60s or higher.
    • Rolling down a window or parking in the shade does not guarantee protection either, since temperatures can still climb. And if the window is rolled down sufficiently, the pet can escape. Plus if a passer-by claims he or she was bitten through the car window, the pet owner may be liable.
    • Animals are not able to sweat like humans. Dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws. If they have only overheated air to breathe, animals can collapse, suffer brain damage and possibly die of heatstroke. Less than 15 minutes can be enough for an animal's body temperature to climb from a normal 102.5 to deadly levels that will damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.
    • Know about and prevent heat exhaustion.
    • If you see signs of heat exhaustion take the dog into the shade, an air conditioned area or to your veterinarian. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention.
    • Signs of heatstroke include: restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, dark tongue, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness or lack of coordination.
    • To lower body temperature, gradually give the animal water to drink, place a cold towel or ice pack on the head, neck and chest, and/or immerse the dog in cool (not cold) water.
    FWC'S Cats Indoors! Education Campaign
    Florida State Parks are managed to restore and maintain a delicate ecological balance between native Florida species. Non-native plants and animals often upset that balance. The growing list of non-native animals that harm native wildlife unfortunately includes free-ranging domestic cats. Recognizing that this is a matter of growing concern throughout the state, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has embarked on an education campaign in support of the national Cats Indoors! movement. Visit their website for excellent information about native wildlife and the impacts of domestic animals.
    smg_4hnds likes this.
  18. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    .This is so very true. I take in rescue dogs. Im currently fostering a dog who is perfect in every way except one. She is downright terrified of other dogs because she was hurt before. In her fear she may bark, growl, etc if a strange dog gets in her personal space. I keep her on leash at all times, not only for her protection but for other dogs as well. I would have no control over your dog if she comes over to say hi. Dogs don't know what personal boundries are. So you need to provide that boundry for them. if the other owner says fine then the dogs can say hi, but don't assume it's ok. On a regular walk and I was to walk by someone with a dog on leash I have no problem, Coco won't show any fear other than switch to the other side of me but we'll walk by as if we were like every other person taking a walk. It's only if her personal space is breached by the other dog that a problem could occure.

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