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As I am doing my research on the best pup for us, our family lifestyle is different from most. We home/road school our kids, and take multiple trips a month towing our second home a 5th wheel camper. For example, when we were studying presidents we took a trip to Mt. Rushmore, when studying landforms we went to Utah to see the arches and to the Grand Canyon, and so forth...

Anyhow, I was just wondering if there are any other RV'ers with info on acclimating a GSD to frequent travel, or any other suggestions on how we should approach this. Obviously I would have the dog in the truck with us, and not in the camper or bed of the truck when traveling, I'm not sure why people always assume that, lol...

Thanks,
John P.
 

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I can't believe how jealous I am right now.

Anyway, I think if you were to get a puppy, it would be raised with all of the travelling and become accustomed to it easily. If you were to adopt an older dog, it could probably get acclimated to travel easily enough depending on its temperament and how the family helps the dog adjust.

There are GSDs that are steady and pretty unflappable by nature, and some that are more high-strung. Much depends on genetics, other factors are environmental. I'd guess that most dogs take cues from their family and just enjoy being part of the group.

My GSD is a working line type, and he's 1 yr old. Up to about 9 mos old he was pretty good about riding in the backseat of a Jeep Cherokee, and then he wasn't so good. We took him on a road trip/vacation from NY to VA and he was good mostly, and an angel in the hotel, but then something changed. Lots of excited barking right in our ears on the last trip to a local training session and that was it for me. I bought a Gunner kennel to use in the bed of my truck and that's how he'll be chauffeured around now!

I imagine an RV or truck like yours might be just fine. Have plans re what to do if parks etc won't allow your dog in, but many parks are good with them if your dog is leashed. Ours liked exploring Antietam with us.
 

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I'm in [email protected]'s camp.....I have been greatly impressed by our bitch's ability to adapt to different environments when we are on the road in the motor home or out in the boat fishing.....this gal of ours is great. Just as [email protected] mentioned ...."and just enjoy being part of the group."....is so clearly evident in her flexibility and sheer enjoyment of going with us in the motor home......it is a wonderful bonus overall.


The guarding/alerting/territorial behavior certainly exists...... once she figured out the motor home was our living quarters....pretty much the same with the boat.



I was also impressed that a smaller more restricted area at times did not cause any problems for the dog......but I believe by exercising the dog no matter where we are makes a big difference......


Start 'em young in the environments they will live in.......and in short order they will be incredible traveling buds.




SuperG
 

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Well, if someone had asked me when Shadow was a pup I would have said it would be a nightmare, but over the last few years she has been called on time and again to step out of her comfort zone and do bizarre crap with me. She's been a Rockstar.
She literally got hauled out by the scruff of her neck from our condemned house, after the floor caved in. She learned to live in a motel and hang out with strangers. Then she learned to hitch hike. Then she learned to camp. Then she went on the road trip from h---. We watched TV in the woods beside the fire, then we lived in a motel again, now she has a 6x14 room with our stuff in it.
As much as it sucks, discourage barking as an alert. Folks don't appreciate it. Teach your dog that when you say go pee it means right here, right now. It's a bonus on the road. And teach a place or bed command, it's so handy in small spaces. Accustom to a muzzle, huge help as some folks get iffy about the GSD near their poodle. RV parks are sometimes overrun with small dogs owned by skittish people. It's also a bonus to teach them about being on a rope as you will probably be in places where off leash is forbidden and a leash is very restrictive.

I keep her paperwork as accessible as my ID and I carry a first aid kit for the dog.
 

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I've traveled around with my GSD as a puppy, she took it all in her stride. She is excellent in the back seat of the car, she likes to sleep in the foot space or stick her nose out of the window. I bought her a car hammock thing for the back seat so she can lay down also, which she likes a lot. Definitely worth getting a puppy used to travelling when small, ours had already traveled near half of the US by the time she was 6 months old :)

Staying in campsites / motels etc was fine for us too. There are a lot of dog friendly places in some states. When staying in motels most have crate policies and our girl is pretty quiet after 10pm until morning, so no real issues with barking. Although, asking for a room on the end of the corridor helps a lot with that during the day too! Our girl is not a constant barker (saw far more issues with this from small lap type dogs), but she will bark if someone approaches our space, or knocks on the door etc.

Although on a last note, I will point out that it can be a bit more restrictive when travelling to certain locations with a dog. Many national parks and attractions do not actually allow dogs onto their sights or trails, so unless you are already parked up and can leave your dog somewhere safe in their crate, it might not be as flexible for impromptu stops. However, usually there are many surrounding national forests and rec areas that are just as beautiful and dog friendly (and cheaper!) :)
 

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Kinda of surprised that nobody tagged me in this yet lol. I'll be living full time with both of my dogs come March in an old renovated Van. Luckily both of my dogs come everywhere with my anyways, so acclimating to the van was no issue. We travel frequently in it already. The biggest thing for my dogs was getting used to more extreme heat and extreme cold. The actual traveling was no problem, they seem to live for it. They do a lot better in near 0 degree weather, than 80+ degree weather, despite insulation and a fan. They acclimate to the cold far better than we do, but struggle to acclimate to heat. So my biggest piece of advice is always park in the shade and always have tons of water available.
 

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we bought our RV in part so that we could bring our dogs. You've gotten some very good advice here so just let me add this: Check this site. RV Park Reviews - Trusted Reviews of Campgrounds & RV Parks Not only to I check it before we travel I add to it once I've left a park. Of course like most review sites you'll get postings from people who are really happy or very upset, seldom the middle ground. Still, I think it is worth taking a look at, especially for dog policies.

We have pick up truck and a 32 ft travel trailer. The worst part is cleaning all of the dog hair out of the truck, especially during summer. We don't have the dogs ride in the Gunner Kennels while we have the trailer attached. I suppose we could but we chose not to.
 

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We've camped often with our girls. Tess was 5 months for her first trip, Della was 10 weeks. We've never had issues with either one, but so much fun. We pulled our camper, they've ridden in whatever vehicle we've had at the time. Farthest trip in one day was 12 hours to the UP of Michigan.
 

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I travel cross-country twice a year (at least) with my dog in my SUV, stopping at hotels along the way. He's an awesome traveler.



One thing that we do on long trips when we want to go sight-seeing is give the dog a day at Camp Bow Wow. My guy is very dog social, so he likes it there. Once a dog passes the CBW intake day-long "interview," they're approved in the system nationwide for all Camp Bow Wow franchises.



Another tip is to train your dog from to pee and poop on a leash, without too much dawdling. I've seen people at hotels with fussy dogs who take FOREVER to go potty, with their humans standing out in the cold getting frustrated. It's very, very common for some dogs to have issues with leashed pooping as they're used to wandering in a backyard and having some "personal space." Travel is a lot easier when your dog just gets it done!


AAA has a book on dog-friendly places nationwide (hotels, restaurants, state parks, etc.). It's not free with membership, but it only cost $10 or so at the club office. It's worth carrying. I also use the Bring Fido to find restaurants with dog-friendly patios.


Having a really good relationship with your vet at home is also very important. Mine will do some tele-vet-medicine with me because we've got a strong relationship going back years, and he sees my dogs frequently -- this means its easy for him to calling in prescription refills, looking a phone pics of paw injuries, etc.
 

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Having a really good relationship with your vet at home is also very important. Mine will do some tele-vet-medicine with me because we've got a strong relationship going back years, and he sees my dogs frequently -- this means its easy for him to calling in prescription refills, looking a phone pics of paw injuries, etc.
excellent tip. I hadn't even thought about being able to do this. I'll have to check with my vet before our next road trip.
 

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The guarding/alerting/territorial behavior certainly exists...... once she figured out the motor home was our living quarters....pretty much the same with the boat.

SuperG

I can vouch for this.



Back in the early 80's when we got our first Shepherd (a female), we also got a pop-up tent trailer. She was a sweetheart. Calm as can be. Not aggressive with either people or other dogs and not particularly prey driven. One summer when she was about 6 the family was camping in Virginia, taking the kids to Williamsburg, the Shenandoah Valley, and such. We always left her in the pop-up with the window flaps up so she would have air and be able to look around, while we would go out to visit the sites. This one time we came back to the campground to find a huge tear in the side of the pop-up and our girl sitting calmly in front of the entrance to the pop-up waiting for us to get back. She couldn't tell us why she had torn through the side of the pop-up to get out, but our best guess was that someone tried to take advantage of our absence to see what they could get and she was having none of that. Must have scared the crap out of whoever it was to see this 75 pound GSD come flying out of the pop-up to confront them (and the thought of that pleases me to this day).
 

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I don't have an RV at present, but have traveled with one or multiple GSDs pretty extensively.

Absolutely agree with teaching them to pee on a leash, on command, quickly. Saves a lot of misery standing around at rest stops in the pouring rain or blizzard.

Set up a Dropbox or other cloud-based storage so you have digital copies of all your dog data at your fingertips. I either scan (if I'm at home) or take phone pics (if I'm on the road somewhere) all vet stuff and receipts, and POOF, it goes up into the cloud, saved indefinitely and I don't have to tote paperwork piles everywhere. This is invaluable if you end up having to take a dog to a new vet when you're far from home (been there). You can also provide proof of vaccines and proof of flea preventative at a moment's notice (I've found rentals and whatnot in the southern US have started asking about flea treatments, recently).

Try and raise your dog to not be a picky eater. This is kind of a touchy subject, there are a lot of opinions out there. If your dog truly doesn't tolerate certain foods, that's one thing.... but if you can, rotate some different foods, get a feel for whether or not your dog has a sensitive stomach. Condition your dog to eat what is put in the bowl. Even with the best of intentions, traveling long enough eventually leads to running out of dog food somewhere inconvenient and buying whatever the gas station sells. JMHO. ;)

Like so many people above, I've not had problems with GSDs adjusting to different spaces - tree houses, boats, hostels, hotels, living (literally) in the back of my SUV, tents, hammocks, etc. They figure it out.
 

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We have done a lot of traveling with our dogs through the years. At one point we had a 30' class C Winnebago which we bought to travel with the dogs. We had 3 GSD's at the time and travelled extensively for our sales and marketing company. I was able to set up 3 crates in the Motor Home and the dogs were very comfortable. I've travelled with dogs in cars and never had an issue. One thing I always did was bring water from home or buy bottled water on the road for the dogs. I've found over the years that like changing food, changing water can cause some stomach upset.

I feed raw and have never had an issue with raw feeding my dogs on the road. I simply stop at a grocery store and buy raw chicken and meat. I will make up meals and freeze them prior to leaving and bring a cooler. For the past 10 years or so, I've been traveling in a Honda Odyssey mini van with two GSD's. I've driven from VA to Florida, to NY and up and down the east coast. I travel for vacations, seminars, and work. I walk my dogs when we stop at rest areas for gas, I exercise them when we get to our destination. For us, traveling with the dogs is easy.
 

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For those traveling alone in a passenger vehicle (not RV), one tip for potty stops:


I never use the facilities at highway rest areas. First, dogs aren't allowed inside them, and I'm not leaving my dog in the car in hot weather. Also, as a woman traveling alone, I've seen too many news stories about criminal activity in those places.


Instead, I map out all the Tractor Supply, Petco, and Petsmart stores along my route. Home Depot and Lowes stores often let dogs in too. I can take my dog inside and use the customer restrooms at those places. They also feel much safer to me than rest areas.
 

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Instead, I map out all the Tractor Supply, Petco, and Petsmart stores along my route. Home Depot and Lowes stores often let dogs in too. I can take my dog inside and use the customer restrooms at those places. They also feel much safer to me than rest areas.
This is a great idea.

I've traveled cross-country, alone, a few times with my doberman. Restroom stops were always scary (and super-rushed) for me. Can't believe I never thought of using these facilities.
 

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Lots of great sharing here, thanks so much! We adopted our 1-yr old GSD from a local rescue in June 2018. By July 1st, we took him on an RV trip (23-ft Class C) to Colorado Springs. I traveled with Bring Fido (I use the mobile app) recommendations for dog friendly restaurants, dog parks, and hotels! Our pup loved traveling with us. I made sure to walk him a lot everyday. Having the vet documents online is also great. He was always very sociable and flexible. My challenge was to stock his dog food: he was a new dog - getting used to a new environment and diet created dietary trouble - until I settled on one that agreed with him. Now that he has been with us 6 months and used to good food, I might start experimenting with mixing raw food or other brands, for contingency’s sake. In the fall, we took him to state parks where he enjoyed swimming in lakes. At Thanksgiving, we went to Padre Island National Seashore where he enjoyed the beach and the ocean. It has been fun.
 

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Getting our GSD comfortable traveling is one of our top training priorities. We just got him last weekend at 15 weeks, so we’re going to get him comfy going in and out of the 5th wheel and riding in the truck. We have a 14 year old golden/lab mix that we rescued, and he hates traveling. We’d love for our dog to go everywhere he can with us.
 
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