An off leash dog sprinting through the woods.

Your Off-Leash Dogs Are Ruining Boondocking

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you and your off-leash canine may be ruining boondocking for everyone. You may think your dog is the cutest on the planet, but others might disagree.

More RVers are bringing their dogs to some of the best boondocking spots. While some dogs are easy to love, that’s not always the case.

Today, we’re looking at how off-leash dogs ruin the boondocking experience. Let’s dive in!

What Is Boondocking?

Boondocking is an RVing style involving camping on public lands. This unique camping style requires the camper to provide everything they need for power, water, and waste disposal. While the lack of amenities may sound unappealing, it has many benefits.

Many boondocking spots allow campers to enjoy much more space and privacy while in nature. They don’t have to worry nearly as much about an obnoxiously loud or nosy neighbor. In addition, not cramming their RV into a crowded campground is a blessing.

One of the most significant reasons many RVers choose boondocking is the cost. While some sites may require an inexpensive permit, most are free and allow guests to stay for 14 days. When you do it right, you can save a tremendous amount of money.

Don’t Blame Us; 7 Awful Boondocking Spots in California

Are Off-Leash Dogs Ruining Boondocking?

A certified canine behavior consultant discusses the six things RV dog owners screw up.

Unfortunately, not all dog owners are good dog owners. Off-leash dogs are ruining the boondocking experience for many RVers who either don’t like dogs or fear them.

Some people have had extremely negative experiences with dogs. Seeing a dog running loose could trigger anxiety or a stressful reaction for an individual.

In addition, some dog owners don’t do an adequate job cleaning up after their dogs. Staying on public land doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean up after your pet.

This is especially true if your dog does their business at the campsite. The next camper doesn’t want to deal with a mess that you, as the dog’s owner, should have cleaned.

Finally, dogs often scare wildlife and other animals, which can send them running. Public lands are home to many wild animals. These animals have every right to enjoy and wander the land without facing harassment from a pet.

How Do You Boondock With Dogs? 

Fortunately, people can boondock responsibly with dogs. Here are a few things you should remember when boondocking with your dog. Let’s get started!

Ep. 86: RV Camping with Dogs | RV travel tips tricks how-to

Keep Your Dog on a Leash

While leash laws can be challenging for law enforcement to enforce in many boondocking locations, they still apply. There’s nothing wrong with allowing your dog to run and play as long as no one else is around. If other people are camping in the area, you want to keep your dog on a leash to avoid potential conflicts.

Keeping your dog on a leash allows you to monitor them closely. You won’t have to worry about them running into an aggressive dog or an angry camping neighbor.

A woman walking her dog on a leash along a path through a field.

If you’re hiking on a trail, you never know when you’ll encounter others. You don’t want your dog or other hikers to be caught off guard in these situations. Keeping your dog on a leash helps ensure their safety and the safety of others on the trail. 

Pick Up Your Dog’s Poop

Not picking up after your dog when they use the restroom is a sign of a careless dog owner. If your dog ventures into the woods and does its business, that’s one thing. However, letting your dog freely use the restroom at the campsite for the duration of your stay and not picking it up is unacceptable.

The boondocker who comes to the site after you does not want to clean up a mess that doesn’t belong to them. You should do your best to leave no trace at the campsite, including cleaning up after your dog.

Don’t Allow Your Dog to Chase Wild Animals or Privately Owned Animals

Some dogs are highly protective of their owner and their space. They like to show dominance by chasing other animals away from the area. However, wild animals have every right to the site. You’re camping in their home, not the other way around.

Chasing wild animals can negatively impact their behaviors. However, in some cases, wild animals might call your dog’s bluff and offer resistance. This can quickly become dangerous for you and your pet, especially if the animal can take out you and your dog.

Keep Your Dog From Running Over to Other Campsites

Your dog is your responsibility, not those camping nearby. If your pet is off-leash, their curiosity could lead them to wander quickly and quietly to a neighboring site. While some boondockers might be understanding, that’s not always the case. 

If your dog runs over to another site, you could find yourself in a heated discussion with an angry fellow boondocker. This could cause the remainder of your boondocking stay to be awkward.

Respect All Signs and Pet Policies

To have a smooth boondocking experience with your pet, you must respect all the signs and follow the pet policies. If your pet is on a leash and you keep an eye on them, you’ll likely not experience any issues. However, some dogs can behave unpredictably, and things can change in the blink of an eye.

Why Is It Important to Leash Your Dog When Boondocking?

Keeping your dog on a leash when boondocking is for safety. It helps keep them, wild animals, and other boondockers safe.

While boondocking can provide freedom, it doesn’t exempt you from following the rules. If a ranger or other official sees you breaking the rules, you could receive a citation.

Many boondocking sites are remote, away from the hustle and bustle of cities. This means there is often plenty of wildlife living in the area. Your furry friend could come across dangerous nature by accident. They could be in danger, whether with snakes, bears, or wild animals.

Are Larger Dogs Off-Leash Attacking Smaller Dogs While Boondocking?

There have been incidents of larger dogs attacking smaller dogs in campgrounds and boondocking spots. No matter your dog type, you don’t want your pet to be either dog in this situation.

If you’re the owner of a larger dog and it attacks a smaller dog, you could be in serious legal trouble. If a dog feels another dog is a threat, it will attack to protect itself or its owner. So keep your dog close and ensure you’re aware of any dogs camping in the area.

Have you run across off-leash dogs while camping or hiking? 

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