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Campground pet etiquette: Should you bark back?

By Kate Doherty
As campgrounds become more and more crowded, are new RVers less likely to practice social etiquette with their neighbors when they own incessantly barking dogs? Perhaps they were remiss and have not trained their dog(s), believing the portable pen outside their RV is adequate.

Meeting unfriendly pets

Many of us walk for exercise but also enjoy meeting new faces as we meander around the park or campground. How many of us have met dogs that bark with every motion or person walking by and the owner ignores the dog completely or yells at the dog(s) to shut up?

Just last week my spouse and I were walking around the RV park. We usually stop to become acquainted with a new furry friend or their owner(s). We stopped to chat with a work camper whose large dog barked incessantly, baring his teeth as we stood outside the fence. Rather than politely moving the dog inside, both owners yelled at the dog to “shut up,” which fell on deaf ears. This situation is not isolated. I’ve experienced this incident where you can’t speak over the cacophonous barking. One doesn’t have to be a lip reader to understand the body language of passersby who are thinking the very same.

Pet etiquette

I am a pet lover and really enjoy meeting new dogs, more so if well-behaved. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’d bet the majority of you have experienced noisy pets that have disturbed one’s quiet sanctuary. I’ve witnessed couples reading on a quiet afternoon, leave their lounge chairs and go inside their RV when pet commotion disturbs their silence nearby. Or dogs running from side to side in the pen while the owner(s) are nowhere to be seen.

I’ve seen signs and variations of these in many campgrounds and RV parks.

#1 Pet peeve:

According to the owners of Mountain View RV Park & Campground, a pet friendly, immaculate park we stayed three weeks last year, two major complaints they hear are, “I stepped in dog poop at my site and don’t own a dog! . . . And, folks aren’t picking up their dog’s poop in the dog park!” Not cool. Apparently, some folks simply ignore their park’s leash policy allowing their dog(s) to wander off-leash, pooping wherever. And, what’s worse, the park’s owners are left to clean up the forgotten poop bombs. Social etiquette notwithstanding.

Algonquin, Ontario Pet Rules

Social etiquette for everyone

Pet etiquette is important to folks who do not own pets any longer or have never owned pets. Their personal space and enjoyment is just as important as RVers’ personal space and enjoyment with pets. There are many parks we stayed at where they have a dog park, as well as restricted areas to walk your dog(s). And, of course, picking up their poo afterward is expected everywhere, but sometimes overlooked. So, what do you say about pets who disturb your personal space?

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Mike Sherman
4 months ago

Just last week, called the park office regarding 3 dogs, one owner, who left at 5:00 a.m. to go to work. The park employee said “Well what do you expect ME to do about it?” Unbelievable. Ended up calling the sheriff. Problem solved.

Louie
4 months ago

We have two Corgi’s. While walking them leashed on a recent camping trip, a woman and her fluff ball dog ran up to us. I told this lady to keep her dog away from us. “Karen” insisted our dogs weren’t “socially adjusted” and they should be fine with other dogs running up to them. She went on to say we need to train them better! Our dogs are actually very social as they routinely go to doggie day care at the Vet, running around and playing all day with 20 other dogs. And I don’t appreciate anyone or any dog running up to us. Some people out there just amaze me.

Marion
4 months ago

Even good dog owners sometimes forget that a large, friendly, lab running towards a small toddler can be terrifying! We have had so many experiences with bad dogs (irresponsible owners) that I would be happy to see dogs banned from beaches, parks and campgrounds. I know that isn’t fair but neither is having to always take your walking stick so you can defend yourself and your grandchildren.

Wolfe
4 months ago

I literally don’t understand untrained dog owners. Why would YOU want a barking dog tugging on a leash and charging? People are shocked when my dogs sit offleash roadside and wag silently when they walk by, or sit inside the RV door until called out and sit again outside, or auto sit/stay whenever a car approaches without being told. Dogs LOVE to please, so this training is easy if you just repeat it consistently. If you don’t tell your pets what you expect, don’t blame them for doing unwanted things you said were ok. And yes, like the showdogger above, responsible owners are the strictest critics…

Wolfe
4 months ago

I agree! The dog barking is saying “Help me! I’ve been held hostage by an owner too dumb to understand what i’m saying! Please tranq my human and I’ll show you where the valuables are in the RV. And the steaks.” At least that’s what i hear. Except dogs speak in german.

Jesse W Crouse
4 months ago

Our venue is dog trials,aka dog shows. Everything at the trial is outside. This means the trial site is usually a horse farm,park or town/county fair ground. We limit our drive distance to 8 hours so we don’t have to find an overnight stop. Believe me when I say exhibtor’s don’t put up with other people not policing their area, rude behavior from other people, and incessant barking. It is not uncommon for 2 to 3 hundred dogs to be on site for a 2 day trial When we leave the site is cleaner and more orderly than when we arrived if not you won’t be asked back. Rules are rules for everyone. So why can’t campground management or ownership run a tight ship. Break the rules you get a warning. 2nd time you are GONE= NOW! And call the police if needed and put that jerks name on a banned list.

Charlie
4 months ago
Reply to  Jesse W Crouse

Unfortunately the same can not be said for all kennel clubs. We were onsite before and after the Virginia Kennel Club show in 2019 at Doswell, VA. The main building looked like a doggy waste storm inside. They have some work to do to get to Jesse’s standard.

Wayne
4 months ago

8 out of 10 of our dog owner observations reflect badly on the owners.
Leave your dogs at home or some other arrangement. You will enjoy the freedom.
And the bad behaviour won’t reflect badly on the whole RV community.

Linda
4 months ago

As the owner of rescue dogs I can tell you on good authority that not all dogs are other dog or kid friendly. My biggest pet peeve (pun intended) is folks with the extendable leashes. My dog is on a 6’ leash, 1” wide. Yours comes up on the end of a 15 or 20’ leash because you ignored the fact that he was running our way and you get upset with me because my dog isn’t all warm and friendly. And pick up your dog’s poop! If you can’t be a responsible pet owner, you shouldn’t be allowed to own a pet.

Richard Hughes
4 months ago

I said,”Go to management because with today’s societal breakdown, you never know what or who you are dealing with.”

Gary Stone
4 months ago

I love well-mannered, well-behaved dogs. I can’t tolerate incessant barking mutts. For some dog owners, their fur babies can do no wrong. It’s the responsibility of dog owners to control their pets and be considerate of everyone.

JimB
4 months ago

There have been a few times when I’ve actually offered a poop pickup bag to someone who didn’t attempt to pick up their dogs poop. Usually they have accepted my offer. When they don’t, I pick it up and deliver it to them with a smile and an “I think you and your dog left this behind.”

chris
4 months ago

Who picks up dog pee? That’s everywhere, and virtually every camper has a dog.

Last edited 4 months ago by chris
WEB
4 months ago
Reply to  chris

Amen! You can see it on every post, rock, bush, tree, tire and all the dead grass spots.

Ellen
4 months ago
Reply to  chris

Good point. We once watched an unleashed dog scramble from its RV site (and owners, who were sitting outside) to pee all over a water spigot at another site. Eww!

Sheryl
4 months ago

We camp with our labradoodle who loves to bark at people and other dogs, so several years ago we bought a bark collar. It has 3 settings-a beep, a vibration and a shock. We have never had to use the vibration or shock settings. In fact we don’t even have to turn it on anymore, we just put the collar on her and she has no idea that it is turned off. She is a nice, calm, friendly dog as long as she has her collar on.

Terry
4 months ago

If my Yorkie pooped and barked all day it’s still not as annoying as the campers with 15 kids running amok. Camp ground etiquette applies to people too

Sue
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry

Oh yes it is.

chris
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry

and those with generators

Donald N Wright
4 months ago

I have considered a silent dog whistle to get dog owners attention. I have sprinkled red & black pepper on trees and bushes near my rig. However, if fido poops in my site, and the owner doesn’t clean it up, I have taken it to their camper. Leave it on the steps or picnic table.

Anonymous
4 months ago

I hate to admit it but I will pick up poop when I see the owner leave it, see where they’re camped and later leave it back on their site. Every time…

Ron
4 months ago

I agree that people are sometimes more annoying than pets. But some pet owners believe their pet doesn’t need to obey the rules – leash, poop pick up, barking. We travel with 3 medium sized dogs & for the most part they are great courteous campers, but they are dogs. We pick up after them. Always on leash even in camp site. & try to limit their barking, but like I said they are dogs.

Deborah Mason
4 months ago

We’re about to head out on a trip with 3 humans & 2 dogs. Since my SIL has never been to Grand Canyon & it’s her “Bucket List” trip, I have volunteered stay at the RV with the dogs if necessary, so they don’t disturb others and she gets to really enjoy seeing the sights.

Steve
4 months ago

When campers pay to stay at a campground, it is with the assumption that the stay will be a reasonably peaceful one. It is up to management to provide what is expected, unless they advertise otherwise. Unruly animals AND campers need to stay home.

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