Lots of folks travel with their dogs. Many RV campgrounds have taken note and are busily making pet accommodations, like dog parks. It’s proving to be a great investment because dog owners love letting their dogs safely run off-leash. Happy dogs mean happy campers.
Dog park etiquette
If you are lucky enough to camp in a park offering this amenity, there are rules to follow. These rules might not always be posted, but for your pet’s safety (as well as your own) it’s important to know and follow some basic dog park etiquette guidelines. Here are some things to consider:
- Make sure your dog is up to date with all her immunizations. (Always take proof of vaccinations with you when you travel with your pets.)
- Tell your vet about the area of the country where you plan to visit. He may advise additional shots (like animal influenza vaccines) or advise you about potential health risks in the area. For example, some areas of the country are prone to tick or lice infestations. It’s good to know about these potential risks so that you can take appropriate precautions.
- Find out the hours when the dog park is available. Many campgrounds post these days/times so that they can perform maintenance chores (e.g., mowing, cleaning) when the dog park is closed.
- If the park has areas separated according to the size of dog, follow the guidelines. Small dogs should never be released inside the “Large Dog Area” and vice versa.
- When entering the dog park, keep your dog close to your side on his leash. Make sure the gate is securely closed after you and your pet pass through. Only then unleash your dog.
- Watch your pet closely, especially if other dogs are in the dog park. Aggressive dogs should be quickly leashed and removed from the dog park.
- The dog park is not a boarding service. Never leave your pup unattended inside the dog park.
- Always clean up after your pooch! Yes, it’s a dog park, but you are still responsible for cleaning up your dog’s messes. This isn’t just proper etiquette; it will help prevent the spread of parasites.
Never bring these into the dog park:
- Puppies. Very young pups should not enter the dog park until they have received all their vaccinations – as a rule of thumb, 12 to 16 weeks.
- Antisocial dogs. If your dog just does not play well with other dogs, the dog park is not for your pet. Well, unless there are no other dogs present.
- Unaltered dogs. Female dogs in heat can cause aggression among male dogs in the dog park. In addition, you probably don’t want the potential puppies that may result from accidental mating.
- Young children and babies. Large, playful dogs can unintentionally bump and/or harm a small child. Other dogs may see a child as a threat and become aggressive.
- Your pet’s playthings. If your furry friend is possessive about her things, it’s best to leave them back in the RV.
- An overexcited dog. Take your pooch for a nice, long walk before going to the dog park. This is especially important if your dog is naturally excitable. An over-exuberant pup can be seen as a threat by a more docile dog. Better to wear the excitable dog down a bit before hitting the dog park.
- Your cell phone, or anything else that will distract you from closely monitoring your dog. If you must bring your phone, keep it inside your pocket. Keep your full attention on your dog.
Go with your gut
You are the one who knows your dog best. If you sense that she’s uneasy in the dog park, cut your stay short. Gradually increase the time you spend in the dog park until she is more comfortable.
If you notice a dog becoming aggressive toward your pup, leash your dog immediately and leave. Come back when the aggressive dog is not present.
Thank the RV park owners/managers for making the dog park available. Tell them how much it means to you (and your dog)!