Manners Matter - The Ins & Outs of Dog Etiquette at Campgrounds & RV Parks

By:  Lisa & Dan Brown

14th May, 19

Dog owners have been facing scrutiny at campground and RV parks all across the country – from breed, size, and number of dogs. Seemingly strict campground and RV park ruling on whether or not they allow dogs on their facility may be based on their hospitality-based insurance company’s permit. These 'rules' do not lie solely on the campground or RV park owners - other reasons could be local legislation or insurance.

Take a look at this helpful guide to keep you and your furry friend(s) feeling welcome and your visit less stressful.

Dog Tags and Immunization Records

Before trekking out with your fifth wheel or travel trailer, it's important to have identification on your dog's harness in the event that you are separated from your dog. You should also ensure your dog's immunizations are up to date - especially the rabies vaccine. It may be useful to bring a copy of immunization records with you.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Anytime the campground or RV park staff ask questions about your pet(s), honesty is the best policy. For example, they may ask what breed your dog is. The reasoning is most hospitality insurance companies curtail coverage of certain known ‘aggressive breeds.' If you lie, and your dog injures or kills another dog or guest, you will be held liable for all expenses and may be prosecuted in the court of law.

If the campground or RV park posts a dog limit, be honest if you have more than their specified number. When you are found violating the dog limit rule, the campground or RV park owner most likely will ask you to vacate the premise with no refund.

Lastly, you should never claim your dog(s) is/are Service Animals if not certified as such. This too, could land you in deep doo-doo. The penalties for violating these particular ADA laws vary. For instance, in California, it is a misdemeanor to falsely, and knowingly, claim that you are the owner or trainer of a service animal. The crime is punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. By claiming your untrained dog as a service dog puts certified ADA service dogs and the persons needing them at risk.

Pooper Scooper

This is probably the most violated rule of campgrounds and RV parks. Not only is it unsanitary, it could potentially be dangerous as well. Your dog(s) could be harboring a parasite that might be life-threatening to other dogs or even humans.

When in Doubt, Opt for the Harness

While dog collars are cute and fashionable, they could cause your dog to choke by getting caught on something. Not to mention, dog collars really offer no safe or humane control. Likewise, a dog can 'slip their collar.' By your dog wearing a harness properly, they won't incur neck injuries, suffocate or slip out of it.

Skip the Retractable Leashes

Not everyone loves and appreciates your dog(s) - and neither do other dogs. Nine out of 10 campgrounds require dog owners to keep their dogs on a 6' lead. This reasoning is three-fold. First, it’s for your own dog's safety to keep him close to you. Second, it's for others' dog’s safety as well as other campground guests. Lastly, some locations may be home to hidden or even obvious dangers that could hurt you or your dog(s) such as: snakes, toxic lizards and frogs, cacti, poisonous plants and flowers, contaminated water, etc.

We understand your dog wants to explore, but leashes serve a great purpose. Keeping your dog(s) close to you will lessen its, and your ability, to get into trouble - including paying fines.

Additionally, if your dogs becomes separated from the leash, or has too much leeway, it may eat or sniff something that may be harmful. If the dog(s) becomes ill or injured, you won't have seen what the dog has gotten into and won't be able to communicate with the vet in order to treat your furry friend accordingly.

Nobody Likes Being Alone

One of the campground rules we see most often is never leave dogs unattended outside - whether it’s in an enclosed pen or tied up.

Hush Down, Little Doggie

Last on our list may seem a little picky, but not everyone wants to hear your precious dog's voice. In today's society, we all should be mindful of unwarranted noise. There are families who ‘road school’ and need quiet, or a night-shift worker may be sleeping a couple RV doors down from you. Furthermore, your next-door neighbor surely won't appreciate the constant yapping every time another guest walks by your site. Train your dog(s) to only bark in the event of danger or discomfort.

We hope this list acts as a simple reminder of how not to be 'that guy' who allows your dog(s) to do whatever they want. Remember, campgrounds and RV parks host many guests – including other pets. By following these rules, everyone will enjoy a pleasant stay.

Lisa & Dan Brown

Lisa & Dan Brown

Dan & Lisa Brown are known as "Always On Liberty". They are two Coasties (30 years Retired & Veteran) who fought Mother Nature guarding our coasts and saving souls now travel between them with their two Maine Coon Cats. They have been full-time traveling since 2014 with their 2016 Heartland Landmark 365 Ashland (formerly '16 Heartland Cyclone 4100). They are avid hikers, ADV motorcycle riders, bloggers and travel enthusiasts. They enjoy visiting, hiking and riding our National Parks, Monuments, Historical Sites, Battlefields and strange places. 
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