We all have the dream of hitting the open road with trailer in tow and the adventure that awaits over the next hill or around the next bend. While this romantic notion of RV adventure is what calls us to the open road we often have to face the reality of who we are travelling with and what this “Actually” means for the upcoming days and weeks.
When we head out on the road we not only have our trailer in tow and all our favorite things packed up for the trip, but our faithful 90 pound Black Lab “Cody” is always eagerly sitting in the back seat.
We spend about 40 -50 nights a year in our trailer which considering our full-time jobs and northern climate is a pretty good number for Alberta. All those days and nights are also spent with our dog. You would never think how many things you cannot do with having a dog in tow when on the road. Now, do not get me wrong, I would not trade his companionship on the road for anything, but I do want to shed some light on the subject of travelling on the road with a dog.
The good and the bad.
First off, it is hard to compete with amount of enthusiasm and eagerness to head out on the road than a dog has. That wagging tail is infectious. I do love that about dogs. They see the simplest truck ride like a grand adventure every time. That simple outlook that comes so easily to them is what part of me strives for everyday. To see each trip as a grand adventure, with excitement and intrigue around every corner and perhaps a few nice spots to stop at and pee. Secondly, a dog gets you out to explore, to slow down and make stops along the way you may not have had planned. They can certainly bring out the spontaneity in us all of us. Dogs want to explore the trail less travelled and you can always count on them finding some water to play in.
Of course at the actual campgrounds there are some things to keep in mind. They must be on leash all the time and even some campgrounds have a 2 meter leash limit so keep that in mind. They have to stay “quiet” as to not disturb the neighbours. I will admit this one is a challenge for us, as Cody likes to be heard. My advice is always have something for the dog to do. If they have not been worn out by the days adventures be sure have some good toys or a fresh new bone to occupy them. Creating a place that they feel is theirs always helps as well. Our guy loves the back seat of the truck so we keep it close to our site and he can hang there quite contently.
Now given the amount of people with a furry companion in the world you would think they would be allowed in many of the places that we are. Sadly this is not the case. This is why travelling with a dog poses several challenges. They pretty much have to be with you all the time. You cannot leave them in your trailer or in your truck waiting for you as you explore some store or indulge in some local cuisine. Granted there is the odd times with cooler weather that he is fine to hang in his truck for an hour provided we are close and can see what he is up too. Now because he is with us almost all of the time this limits things that we can. Going out for dinner, taking in a museum and or participating in a local adventure are all pretty much off the list. This can be disappointing if you had not anticipated this. There are things you will have to miss out on and perhaps do another time.
One thing that we had not anticipated on one particular trip was that dogs we not even allowed in certain campsites. We were allowed in the campground but any of the sites that faced the water were “Dog Free”. Sadly we were informed of this after we had set up and were so excited to have such a beautiful spot. We ended up having to move sites away from the lake, which was not that awful but still a little disappointing.
We have found though by doing a little homework and asking the right locals you can find some very dog friendly options for you and your furry companion while on the road. There are dog friendly patios, beaches, campgrounds and even wineries if you look in the right places. Finding these K-9 hot spots can be a challenge but so worth it when you do. We have enjoyed dinner while our dog hangs with us on the patio, have had whole beaches to ourselves and tasted some the best wines Canada has to offer all while Cody was in tow.
Camping and Rving is really all about exploring, experiences and keeping it simple. A dog is the perfect teacher and companion to help you do just that.