With the exception of service dogs, many campgrounds are banning dogs all together. But why are even responsible dog owners who have well-behaved dogs being told, ‘your dog is not welcome here’. Is it because of liability, legal issues or is it something else?
The biggest complaint in campgrounds are dogs lack of manners or shall I say, dog owners not minding their dog’s manners. Seriously, it wouldn’t surprise me if campgrounds started banning dogs all together. While most dog owners take extra care into making their dogs behave, there’s always that handful of campers who think the campground rules don’t apply to them.
Unfortunately, that may eventually have campground owners rolling up the welcome mat; making camping with dogs a thing of the past. While you may still be allowed to camp, your mutts may be told “no room at the inn”. Honestly, Having been a camp host myself, I can totally see their point of frustration from the constant complaints about misbehaving dogs…errrrr, dog owners.
But, there are also other reasons why some dogs may not be allowed to camp with you and your family. It may not even be due to a dog’s misbehavior. Logistical issues, legislative actions, and/or insurance requirements also come into play.
So, we all can be better pet parents, let’s see why park owners may start banning all dogs at campgrounds. But more so, how we can stop them from telling us we can’t camp with our dogs.
Camping with Dogs? How to NOT Get Kicked Out of Campgrounds!
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Restricted dog breeds
Mark Twain said it best, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” There’s much to be said about that. Some dog breeds, large and small, have bad blood. There are certain breeds of dogs are known aggressors and attackers. Some dog breeds having a bad history of dog bites, dog attacks and fighting.
But, before pointing the finger at the campgrounds banning dog breeds, know that they’re not discriminating just for the sake of not liking your dog or dog breed. It’s because local legislation forces the campground or business to comply. Also, campground’s liability insurance may require park owners to not permit certain dog breeds. If they don’t comply and a restricted dog breed bites or attacks either a person or pet, the campground AND the dog owner will be on the hook for damages.
Don’t know if your dog is on the banned dog breeds list? Why Restricted Dog Breeds are Banned in Campgrounds
While a dog may not be on the restricted dog breeds list, should that dog act in a threatening manner, chase, bite or attack another camper or pet, I guarantee the dog and dog owner will be shown the gate with no refund.
Further, we’ve heard from some campground owners that the violating camper’s name will have a big red checkmark should they try to make a another reservation. And, if the dog’s inappropriate behavior occurs at a campground chain or franchise (KOA, Jellystone, Thousand Trails, etc.), it may even be noted in the company’s database. (A little birdie told me)
Size of dog
Now that we got the “size of the fight in the dog”, let’s now talk about the actual “size of the dog in the fight”. This is where it gets a little sticky. A lot of campgrounds place an unfair stigma on larger dogs. I’m guessing they assume that only big dogs bite or attack. Understandably, big dogs may appear intimidating; especially some of restricted dog breeds. But that doesn’t necessarily mean bigger dogs are the problem children.
So, when a campground tells guests and visitors that only dogs up to a certain size are welcome, there’s one or two things that guest can do. One is to choose a different campground. And two, politely ask what their reasoning behind only allowing dogs up to a certain size or weight. It very well could be because they fear that bigger dogs are prone to biting or attacking. Or, it could just very well be they’re tired of cleaning up bigger piles of dog poop.
Excessive dog barking
One of the biggest complaints, at least on social media, is dog owners allowing their dogs to bark incessantly. And frankly, I tend to agree. It’s extremely disruptive and can ruin others’ camping experiences in less than 5 minutes.
Most campers, including myself, aren’t bothered by a dog occasionally barking. I mean, that’s what dogs do to protect their family or person and territory.
However, ignoring a dog’s ear-piercing, constant yapping is just downright disrespectful to the neighbors. Equally, dog owners constantly yelling at their precious little Fido, ‘stop, stop, stop!’ or shaking a can of pennies will grate on other campers’ nerves as well. Either of those may likely get reported and you and your dog will be told to leave the campground (without a refund!).
To those aforementioned, campers who’s pups don’t behave need to leave their dog at home. Or, they need to find positive corrective measures to keep their dog from barking. Personally, I recommend looking into hiring a professional dog behavioral trainer. But also, there’s effective anti-barking products that helps deter unnecessary barking. Products I’m speaking of are clickers, dog whistles, citronella collars, calming doggie treats, anti-barking remote devices.
As mentioned above, professional dog training works but the dog owner has to be committed to continue the training and behavior enforcement. I found a great video: Zak George’s How to Train Your Dog to STOP BARKING at EVERYTHING That Moves! (video below)
Another huge violator of campground rules is dog owners not leashing their mutts. First, by not leashing a dog, the dog owner is putting other campers and guests, especially young children, in an uncomfortable situation. They may fear dogs or a specific dog breed, size or type due to being attacked or bitten in the past.
But for a minute, let’s talk about local and state jurisdictions that have required leash laws. If a camper’s dog is caught without its’ leash the dog owner could face a stiff fine. Even if the dog reacts to trained voice command, the leash law still applies.
Even so, if dog owners and dog walkers continuously violate the leash requirement on the campground property, the campground owners have every right to kick the dog and dog owner to the curb for not complying to the campground rules.
Not cleaning up after dogs
Every campground and RV park requires dog owners to clean up after their dog. In fact, it’s always stated in the campground rules. It doesn’t matter if the dog squeezes out a penny-sized turd or a glob as big as Texas. By accepting a campsite reservation, guests and visitors acknowledge and agree abide to the campground rules.
And don’t think for a moment that others aren’t noticing dog owners not cleaning up after thier dog. Even I’ve seen plenty of dog owners turn a blind eye while their dog is taking a steamy dump. However, it’s not the dog that gets the finger wag. It’s the dog owner’s responsibility to clean up after their dog; not the Camp Host’s, campground worker’s or another dog owner’s. And, depending on the Camp Host or campground owner, you may be told to vacate the campground immediately if you’re caught walking away without cleaning up your dog’s poop.
But I digress, leaving dog poop is unsanitary and could pose threat to wildlife or other pets in the campground. Lastly, this goes against the whole Leave No Trace mantra. The dog brought in, it’s your job to take it out.
Dog is left alone for long periods of time
Most dog owners typically leave their pups alone in the RV while they go out exploring or a planned event. However, it can be very stressful for dogs who aren’t accustomed to being cooped up in a small camper or enclosed kennel. Add in boredom and unfamiliar noises outside may have them destroying the inside of their RV.
So, if a camper knows their dog reacts negatively to their owner’s absence, they should not leave them until they can get them trained. Trust me, having parked right next to an RV or two, it’s practically unbearable to hear a dog suffer anxiety like that.
Should a dog owner need to leave their dog for any length of time, I suggest asking a neighbor to please report back if Fido doesn’t sound happy. Leaving a phone number so they can contact the dog owner directly instead of getting the campground management involved.
10 tips to help alleviate a dog from anxiety while their owners are absent from their RV
- Take the dog for a long walk; giving them time to relieve relieve themselves.
- Turn on the radio, television or sound machine to drown out the external sounds.
- Close the shades or curtains and darken the room to create a calming environment.
- Make sure they have fresh water and food, a anxiety-relief chew toy.
- Provide a comfy and quiet place to nap.
- Try diffusing a pet calming essential oils.
- Give them a prescribed number of calming dog treats in a dog treat puzzle to keep them occupied.
- Try administering Rescue Remedy.
- Turn on a small fan for noise and air circulation.
- Make sure the temperature in your camper is comfortable. Invest in a temperature monitor to alert you if it gets too hot or too cold in your RV while you’re away.
Sometimes dogs get uncomfortable inside their RV on hot summer days. Here’s some helpful tips on Keeping Your Pets Cool During Your RV
Dog is not licensed or immunized
Personally, I think all campgrounds should verify all pet immunizations at check-in; cats included. Because we, collectively speaking, can’t have pets running around who’ve not been inoculated for Rabies, DHLPP (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, and parainfluenza) and even Bordetella; especially if the dog is going to be in social situations with other dogs. Vaccinations are necessary to prevent the spread of diseases to wildlife, other camper’s pets and people.
According to MediVet, “Annual booster vaccinations are needed throughout your dog’s life to maintain their protection from harmful disease. Some boosters are required every year, while others are needed every three years. This is because the protection they offer becomes less effective over time.”
As far as dog licenses, each state is different. If a dog owner is living full-time in a municipality that mandates dog licensing, that dog owner could be fined for not licensing their dog.
However, if traveling with a dog on the road, it’s still wise to license your dog for several reasons. First, a current dog license proves they’ve been properly vaccinated. Second, should your dog get loose, his dog tag is a way of locating the owner.
It’s one thing when a dog misbehaves or acts inappropriately one or two times. We all can appreciate a new environment or different surroundings can cause them anxiety or poor behavior. But when dogs (really the owners) repeatedly get reported for breaking pet etiquette rules, again, the campground may ban your dog from their property.
Before taking pets camping, we encourage you to read Campground Pet Etiquette: Camping Rules for Dogs and Cats
Final thoughts on campgrounds banning dogs and why
Camping with your dogs is a great way for you to bond and experience the outdoors together. There’s nothing like taking your dog where he can be in his glory of sniffing everything rock, log, tree and trail. But taking your dog camping also comes with responsibility and respect towards other campers and their pets too.
So, by being a good respectful dog owner, your fellow campers will appreciate it. And, you and your dog will have a much more pleasant camping experience not having to worry about getting kicked out or being banned from the campground all together.
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