Taking a dog camping

Now, more than ever, pets are well integrated parts of families, and for the most part, owners hate to leave their valued member of the family when they leave for vacation.  All across America especially during the heat of the summer months, families take advantage of the great state parks systems in this country.  Every summer people looking for relaxation and relief head to the various campgrounds to kick back and put the brakes on life for a few days.  Different parks have different regulations regarding our four legged friends ranging from very strict to out of control loose.  I write this because of my own experiences being in campgrounds with dogs has actually been quite negative.  Within the last five years, several of my family members have been bit or charged by seemingly harmless dogs in the campground.  The most recent being my mother, who was rushed and bit by a very docile looking black lab while walking back from the bathrooms.  My father was also rushed by a pit bull later that week.  Yes, it’s fun to bring your dogs, but regardless of the park you choose or the type of dog you own, there are basic guidelines and precautions every dog owner should understand before bringing their dog camping.  Here are some tips and basic guidelines that every dog owner should be thinking of when they decide to go camping. Here is what I have learned from what I have observed.

First, I think many people underestimate the closeness of proximity to other people.  Campsites are not real big, meaning; your dog can easily become a pest, or even a threat to other people.   Bringing me to my second point; dogs can quickly become defensive of your site.  Your dog knows what stuff is yours therefore, kicking in their defensive instincts. Anyone who owns a dog will understand that at home they keep a close eye for any infringers, being on a camp site can be even worse.  Given your close proximity to others your dog may be more tense and prone to aggressive behaviors.  My next point is aimed at the owners themselves.  Look, I love my dog, I really do, but that does not mean I will always trust him 100%.  I am always keeping my eye on him even when he thinks I’m not.   No matter how well you think you know your dog, we still don’t know what goes through their heads all the time.  This factor is responsible for why my mother was bit by a black lab, father rushed by a pit bull and my youngest brother bit in the face by a German Shepard all in the same park over the last few summers.  Finally, the noise factor.  I find this also a complication for campers with dogs.  Close proximity to people and   other dogs, a seemingly peaceful campground can quickly turn into the bark zone.  The older population around me when I camp gets all flustered when the bark show starts.

Solutions-

Since I have presented some of the issues that I have observed over the past few years, its time to quit complaining and lay out constructive solutions for campers with dogs.

  • Stake and extended tethers- still allow your dog to walk around yet in a controlled radius.
  • Camping away from others.  Ahead of time when you make your reservations, call the park office and ask if there are areas available with less people and traffic.
  • Shock collars, look, a dog knows when they have a shock collar on, they shape up really fast.
  • Muzzles
  • Travel crates
  • Pet hotels, host family or kennels

Remember when you are planning on brining your dog on vacation you need to constantly think of how everyone else around you could be affected.  The last thing you want to have happen is for others to complain about your dog resulting in a fine or even worse, getting you removed from the park.  There are different ways to keep your dog under control, finding the solution that works best for you is up to you.

The Murphy Report.

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