Dear Joe and Vicki: We travel in our RV for two to three months at a time. Our last dog just happened to love RVing as much as we do. It's time to get another and I was wondering what size or type dog might be best for RVing.
Joe: There must be an unwritten rule that states the size of the dog should be inversely proportionate to the size of the RV. Next time you are in a campground, see if the St. Bernard doesn't belong to the owner of the van camper. And notice the size of the dog sitting in the pocket of the person that just got out of the 40-foot fifth-wheeler. Go figure!
It only make sense for RVers to consider the size of the dog that will share their traveling home. A pet, its bed, food and water bowls, leash, scooper, toys, grooming equipment, food and other paraphernalia is going to take up precious space.
An RVing dog is going to spend the majority of its time inside. It is going to have to sleep, eat and just "hang out" somewhere. So, yes, size of the dog is an important consideration.
But don't let size be the only factor. There are some high-energy breeds of small dogs whose activity level takes up considerably more space than their larger more laid-back cousins.
An animal's energy level is also going to dictate the amount of daily exercise it will require. And you know who is going to be on the other end of that leash.
Vicki: While you are walking that dog, how is it going to react when approached by strange dogs, people and children? Some breeds simply do not do well here.
Pay attention to the temperament and especially the reputation of the breed of dog you choose. Rotweilers and Pit Bulls, deservedly or not, are specifically prohibited from some otherwise pet-friendly RV parks.
Some breeds have a reputation for being sweet and lovable as long as you are present. When you leave without them, however, they become the dogs from Hades. They bark incessantly, tear up the furniture and forget all the pleasant hours you spent house breaking them.
Joe: Speaking of hot places, how will the dog tolerate temperature extremes? Many short haired varieties really suffer in cold weather.
What reaction will they have to going into strange places? We once had a dog that refused to go potty anywhere but her own back yard. One time she held back for a week before we finally broke down and returned home. I thought her eyes would never uncross.
Do they train easily? Golden Retrievers can't please you fast enough. Dachshunds believe that it is you who needs training. (We've had both.)
And then there are dogs with a constant puddle under their jaws, oily hair, bad breath, body odor, and who shed enough hair to stuff a pillow.
Vicki: The point is, some breeds of dogs will do better than others in an RVing environment. If you are about to add a dog to your family, research the different breeds at the library or on the internet (www.dogbreedinfo.com is a good start). You want to choose a dog that will enjoy RVing as much as you do.
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