Is your dog or your neighbor's dog barking while camping? Here's how to stop your dog barking and how to deal with camping neighbors whose dogs won't shut up…
One of the most common complaints at campgrounds is barking dogs. And, no, we're not talking about a bark here and there. We're talking about dogs that incessantly bark, especially when their owners are away from the campsite.
It's very frustrating to camping neighbors because it disrupts the peace, and they feel bad for the dogs. But it's stressful for the dogs, too.
We know many RVers who travel with their dogs struggle to keep their dogs calm while they're away from the RV. So, this article will help you to understand why your dog is barking and what you can do to stop it. Plus, how to deal with camping neighbors with barking dogs…
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4 Main Reasons Dogs Bark
Understanding the reasons dogs bark is the first step to addressing the problem. By analyzing the triggers, you can determine if you have an anxious dog or a reactive dog and devise a plan accordingly.
We'll take a look at the main reasons dogs bark and then move on to the tips to help prevent it. Bark Types #3 and #4 are typically the most problematic while camping.
1. Demand Barking
Demand barking occurs when dogs want something from their owners, such as food, attention, or to go outside. It's their way of vocalizing their desires.
Demand barking is often identifiable by being done in your presence and being directed at you. If your dog is focused on you while barking, that's most likely a demand bark.
2. Play Barking
Play barking is a common behavior in dogs. It's how they show excitement and enjoyment while playing.
While camping, it's important to provide your dog with appropriate outlets for their energy through playtime and plenty of exercise to reduce excessive play barking. Most campers won't mind if your dog barks temporarily while you're playing.
3. Alarm Barking
Alarm barking is an instinctive reaction to potential threats or something unusual in the environment. Dogs use their barks to warn and protect their owners.
However, in a camping setting, it can become a nuisance because the dog may find a new “potential threat” everywhere it looks. Squirrels, anyone?
Alarm barking can often be identified by the dog focusing their attention on the threat and then quickly looking back at you and then back at the threat. It's their way of saying, “Do you see what I'm seeing?! Hey you, look! Do you see it?!”
4. Distress Barking
Distress barking is often caused by separation anxiety or being overwhelmed by a new environment. Dogs, being social animals, can feel anxious when separated from their pack (i.e., their human family), especially if they're in a new environment.
Without proper training, they may instinctively resort to incessant barking in an attempt to locate their pack.
Some campers don't even realize how much their dogs bark when they're away until a camping neighbor tells them. You may only be able to identify this by walking far enough from your RV to be out of sight and out of earshot and waiting to see if your dog doesn't stop barking after an acceptable time.
How to Stop Your Dog Barking While Camping
Play barking is usually short-lived since you're not playing for hours on end. And most campers won't mind a dog that's simply expressing how much fun he's having while he's playing with you. Plus, most play barking decreases after the initial excitement and is eventually replaced with happy panting.
Demand barking is also often short-lived as your dog successfully communicates what it wants. However, it can be a problem if, for instance, your dog is demanding to be let out of its crate, but he needs to stay in there.
The two most problematic types of barking while camping are alarm and distress barking. Those are the types of barks that easily turn into incessant barking. No matter the type of barking, though, these following tips can help…
1. Create a Designated Dog Safe Space
Set up a designated area for your dog inside the RV or the campsite where they feel safe and comfortable. Provide them with a camping dog bed, favorite toys, and access to water.
It's a good idea to keep this safe space away from windows to minimize visual stimuli that may trigger barking. Sometimes, this safe space needs to be inside a crate, but some dogs are okay with a designated spot inside the RV.
2. Practice Camping at Home with Your Dog
If your dog doesn't bark much at home, it's because it's a familiar place. By gradually introducing them to the RV and simulating camping experiences at home (e.g., backyard campouts), you can make the camping environment more familiar and less stressful.
When you practice, leave your dog inside the RV for progressively longer intervals. The key is to try to return to the RV when your dog is not barking. So, you may have to start with only leaving for a few seconds and then slowly work up to longer intervals.
The next tip can help lengthen your intervals, too…
3. Put a Pet Monitor in Your RV
Invest in a pet monitor that allows you to monitor your dog's behavior while you're away from the campsite. This will help you identify any triggers or patterns that contribute to excessive barking.
Some pet monitors even allow you to speak to your dog or dispense treats remotely, helping to calm them down. You can use this to distract your dog as you work to lengthen the intervals from the previous tip.
4. Consider a Humane Bark Training Collar
Incessant barking is as stressful for your dog as it is for your camping neighbors. Training them not to bark is not only beneficial for others but also for your dog's well-being.
Humane bark training collars, such as those that emit a gentle spray, beep, or vibration, can help speed up the training process. However, it's important to choose a collar that you are comfortable using and ensure that it is used correctly and ethically.
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5. Watch YouTube Training Videos on Barking
Search YouTube for dog training videos on the specific type of barking your dog struggles with, such as separation anxiety barking.
Look for reliable sources and positive reinforcement techniques that promote good behavior rather than punishment. These training videos are excellent resources that often have simple solutions that just require consistent practice.
6. Dog Training Classes
If you don't have time for DIY training, consider enrolling your dog in professional dog training classes. Trainers have experience working with various breeds and behavioral issues and can provide tailored guidance to address your dog's barking problems.
Dogs are highly trainable, and with proper guidance, they can learn new behaviors and reduce excessive barking. No matter their age!
7. Look for Extra Dog-Friendly Campgrounds
Many campgrounds are dog-friendly, but some campgrounds cater specifically to dog owners. Going to extra dog-friendly campgrounds is a great way to introduce your furry best friend to camping for the first time.
They usually have dog play areas to ensure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Plus, fellow dog enthusiasts are likely to be more patient as neighbors while your dog learns how to camp.
Although, keep in mind that a surplus of dogs could excite your dog even more. So, you'll have to decide if an extra dog friendly park would be beneficial or detrimental depending on your particular dog.
How to Deal with Camping Neighbors with Barking Dogs
Campers with barking dogs fall under the category of “bad camping neighbors.” But, keep in mind that some RVers may not realize that their dog barks a lot while they're gone. How could they if they're not there to hear it?
So, it's best to always give them the benefit of the doubt. When they return to the campsite, approach them with a smile and say something like, “Hey, I don't know if you realize this, but your dog barks a lot whenever you're away.”
If they don't do anything about it, your next step would be to go to the camp manager. Let them know of the situation and let them deal with it.
If you're too uncomfortable to approach your neighbor first, you can go to the camp manager directly. However, you'll often get a more amiable response if you handle it directly. “Telling on them” tends to make people more defensive, but don't feel guilty if that's what you need to do.
For more tips, we highly recommend reading How to Deal with Bad Camping Neighbors.
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Since we have written so much about RVing with dogs, we thought it would be helpful to do a “round-up” post. It works as a nice little table of contents of all the articles that help you travel comfortably with your furry friend.
We provide a short description of each article with a link to the whole article if you want to read more. We cover everything from portable fencing to finding dog-friendly campgrounds to the best camping accessories for your dog and more! Go to our ultimate guide…
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Last update on 2023-11-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API