Off Leash Camping Area's for my Dogs

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Treeman

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Dec 27, 2005
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Tacoma, WA
Getting ready to take two terriers on the road. We live in the Pacific Northwest. (WA) Since these two dogs are city slickers and have always been on a leash,
I think I need some advice.
Dog #1 is a male Welsh Terrier, will always go-to-ground by nature, has no fear of anything, is used for hunting badgers in their dens!
Dog #2 is a female Lakeland Terrier, will play tug-of-war with a 1/2" rope until your arm falls off.
(I can just see her bringing a rattlesnake back for me to play with)

I understand and respect the rules posted at campgrounds about dogs being on a leash, it just makes sense. I know of the off-leash parks for dogs, but between a nasty canine virus going around, and folks that refuse to clean up after their animals, we avoid these.

There must be owners out there that can suggest some safe sites where a dog can run until they are dead tired, without getting flattened by a vehicle, or falling off a cliff.
A tip on any special spot you know of will be appreciated.
Thanks in advance;
Treeman
 

Bob Zambenini

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Mar 4, 2005
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Orange County California
There is a large beach dog park just on north side of Huntington Beach CA.  You can camp a short distance away at Bolsa State Beach, with full hookups. Its a CA state campground but you need reservations for long time in future via reserveamerica system. There is also a city park with sites just south of the pier but those are only available in the winter. Both of these places are in the $45 daily rate area.

If you want to turn your dogs loose in the big surf and sand this is a great place.

Bob
 

Wendy

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Hi Treeman,

I'd be very careful about letting the dogs off leash away from home. A lot depends on the dogs but you comment that your kids are city slickers who've always been on a leash. There are a lot of temptations out there for a dog....rabbits, smells, cows. (Never, ever let your dogs loose near cattle in the west....it's legal in almost every state for ranchers to shoot dogs if they're harrasing cattle and it's the rancher who gets to decide if the dog is harrasing or not.) We often let our moose, Sam, a 90-pound Labrador Retriever, off the leash when we're in the back country but we keep a very close eye on him and we started by letting him out in areas where he couldn't stray far because of fencing. We've been able to stop him by voice command when he's taken off chasing a rabbit. But we spent four hours in Death Valley a couple of years ago trying to help a couple find their little terrier who took off running into the desert when Sam tried to play. Fortunately, the dog was smarter than the folks looking for him because he doubled back and hid under their trailer. I know all about wanting to tire out the kids so they'll sleep or at least relax while traveling but just be very, very careful. p.s. I assume they're both micro-chipped should the worst happen and they go missing??
 

Carl L

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west Los Angeles
In deserts and forested country leave them on leash.  City dogs can get in to much trouble there and there are things that eat small dogs, or even big dogs. 

In general, beaches are best in your part of the country.  There your main problem is a dog's propensity to roll in things like dead seals.  Be ready to dunk the critter before getting back into the car.  Beaches near cities are generally off limits to critters tho, especially in the southern part of the Pacific Coast.

Be sure your critters have stay and come mastered before you unleash them.
 

Treeman

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Dec 27, 2005
Posts
28
Location
Tacoma, WA
Thanks Bob, Wendy & Carl for your responses.
Yes the kids are micro-chipped but each one has his/her own personality.
The Welsh is Mr. laidback but the Lakeland, well I've never been able to tire her out.
If she gets off her leash and you go after her, then it's a game of "come get me."
If you turn on your heels and make like you know where more fun is, then she'll come running back.
Maybe the Bonneville Salt flats or the desert would be a wide enough area.
Most of the beaches up here are State Parks where dogs must be kept on a leash.

What ever happened to the local neighborhood dogs that would meet the school bus every day, and all the kids knew which dog belonged to which kid?
Maybe the last one died out with Ol' Yeller.

Thanks for the tips about cows, predators, and S. Cal beaches. (We just drove our new LazyDaze from Montclair up to the Tacoma area and are stocking it up)
Best,
Treeman
 

Smoky

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Treeman:

Having a friendly and very active Chesapeake Bay Retriever, we share your need for freedom.  In our short history of full-timing, about 9 months, we have collected a few spots for our off leash reference list and will share them with you.

The first one is right here at our winter RV Park in El Mirage, AZ, west of Phoenix.  The park itself does not allow off lead dogs, though they are giving serious consideration to a large exercise pen.  I think the thing holding them back is fear of suits.  The lawyers are trying to figure out a way to exempt the park from liability if the owner's dogs mix it up or attack a person.  I suspect it will not come to pass.

HOWEVER ... I discovered that Sky and I can walk out the south gate, make a left on a small road, walk about 50 feet and through a gate into the desert behind a water processing plant.  There must be a hundred acres of desert back there.  Sky is then free to roam and chase rabbits. 

Two risks to this.  One is coyotes.  With a retriever, I have small concern for this, because a retriever (well-trained) will not range far, and will drop pursuit on command and return.  We have not had a coyote incident in three months of off lead play. 

The other problem with desert freedom, is the dust.  I brush Sky every time he comes in from the outside (even if a walk in the park).  Regular brushing is the best way to keep dust and excess hair out of the coach and I have made this a regular practice.  And once a week we run the vacuum cleaner over him.

Next spot is Quartzite.  Now this is a little controversial.  QZ is federal land and all dogs must be on leashes.  We are pushing the envelope here.  We were very careful when we let Sky off lead.  I believe the rule is there "in case" the Feds need to use it.  If you are located hundreds of yards from another RV, I cannot imagine your running afoul of the rule.  And we also were at QZ with 68 other coaches at the forum rally.  We would let Sky off lead behind our coach, down in the wash, and he never cause anyone any problem (that we are aware of).  Of course, the degree of obedience training is a variable that must be assessed.  An unruly dog needs to be very far away from people and other dogs if off lead.

Next on our list is Myrtle Beach, SC.  Dogs are allowed to run free on the beach up until Memorial day weekend.  This is retriever heaven, and by far the best place we found.  Swimming in heavy surf is the best possible exercise for a retriever.  Sky would sometimes be submerged for 20 or 30 seconds before he would pop up again.  One day he spent over 6 hours in the surf, never touching dry land.  We recommend Ocean Lakes RV campground, as there the campsites go right up to the walk at the edge of the beach.

Another favorite spot for us is Rocky Gap state park in Western MD.  Again, the dogs have to be on leash in the CG, but you can walk right out of the CG into the Appalachian mountains and there are miles and miles of trails where the dogs can run free.

Finally, our summer spot near Kalispell Mt is on the side of the mountain.  It is so nice to let Sky out in the morning or evening, and just let him do his business in the woods.  If you get near Kallispell in the summer, let us know!  :D

Of course, speaking of doing business, be sure to carry lots of bags with you when your dog is off lead (unless at our place in Kalispell).  :D
 

Ned

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I would be very careful letting a dog run free in the desert.  Besides coyotes (not a big problem during the day) there are poisonous snakes.  Never let your dog in the washes where the snakes can be out of sight.
 

Smoky

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wherever we are parked
We are well aware of that Ned.  But hey, if you never take any risks in life, you never have any fun.  Some people like taking the SUVs up steep mountains, some like ATVs in the oddest places, some like motorcycles on the street, Sky and I love chasing rabbits in the desert.  Worse ways to die lol!
 

Ned

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Well, it's your dog but I believe you would feel terrible if something happened to him because you let him go where it's not safe.
 

Phil

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Smoky said:
Sky and I love chasing rabbits in the desert.  Worse ways to die lol!

If your dog has an encounter with a Cholla Cactus you will have a new appreciation for the desert.  ;D

Phil
 

rubysamm

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Oct 8, 2005
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Rhode Island
O.K.  now you've got my curiosity.  I am from New England and have no idea what a "Cholla Cactus " is. Would someone care to explain? I certainly don't want to find out the "hard" way.
Thanks
The foreigner on the east coast
Lori
 

Kenneth

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Nov 21, 2005
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Lori,

Here's a good picture of those critters :-\

http://www.desertusa.com/mag99/may/papr/chollas.html
 

rubysamm

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Rhode Island
Wow those don't look like anything i would want to get tangled up in.  I could just picture my 2 German Short haired pointers running right into them with there nose down.  It might look like something out of a cartoon, but not too funny.  ;)
 

Carl L

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west Los Angeles
Phil said:
If your dog has an encounter with a Cholla Cactus you will have a new appreciation for the desert.? ;D

Phil


Yeah cholla.? ?Old timers say that everything in the desert is either pizen, stinks or has thorns.? Cholla is a big part of the last item.? ?The stuff infests flats all? over the southwest.? Branches and thorns litter the ground around cholla patches.? ?

If you walk or hike in the desert and especially if you take dogs or kids along, your first aid kit with you should include:? 1. A pair of table forks or kitchen tongs to remove cholla branches from victims;? ?2.? A largish tweezers or small needle nosed pliers for extracting thorns.

If you take dogs for desert trips much, you should give serious consideration to dog boots.? ?Hunters in the desert regard them as standard equipment for their critters.? ?To find them just Google on dog boots.? ?By the way, do wear boots yourself.?
 

Wendy

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Adding a couple of places for dogs to frolick.....the back country of Death Valley or Hovenweep away from the campground and VC. Yes, they're National Park sites but I know how many rangers work there and the odds are you won't run across any and if you do, they'll just ask you to put your dog on a 6-foot leash. Thank them nicely and put the dog on its leash. As for cactus and varmints with no shoulders, in four years of living in Death Valley, I saw TWO snakes, and only saw one at Hovenweep (Rico ran right past it and never even noticed....didn't smell like rabbit, I guess). Any self-respecting, intelligent Mr No Shoulders will shove himself into a crack somewhere when he hears a big, dopey dog romping through the sand.

Another place that our big black lab used to love was the Wrangler RV Ranch & Motel in Colorado Springs. They have a 5-acre, fenced, empty field that folks use as a dog play field (campground used to list it as the "dog field" but stopped calling it that, probably to limit liability). Never saw a snake there, either.

And add a disposable razor to Carl's first aid kit. Soft cactus needles or fuzz are impossible to remove with anything but if you shave off the tiny parts sticking out, at least you won't be rubbing the ends against anything.

As for Cholla, it's not called "Jumping Cholla" without reason.....back into one and you'll understand.

And thanks for the list Smoky....me and Sam are ready to head to Myrtle Beach for a nice loooonnnngg swim !

 

Kenneth

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Nov 21, 2005
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438
Just a warning,

Never,and I do mean NEVER stop in west Texas on I-20 and let your dogs out. They have a sticker burr there that takes an average of at least one month to get out of your animals/feet/RV carpet. It hides in the grass on the interstate.  :'(
 

Treeman

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Dec 27, 2005
Posts
28
Location
Tacoma, WA
Thanks for all the tips on cactus and the invite: "If you get near Kallispell in the summer, let us know!," from Smoky. Just so you all know, I've posted this on the  lifewithalazydazerv forum at Yahoo. The responses ranged from dog etiquette, safety & dog handling, places to go, to very generous invitations from folks we haven't even met .
(although they completely missed the cactus & burrs warnings)
You folks are the best!
Treeman


 

Phil

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982
Kenneth said:
They have a sticker burr there that takes an average of at least one month to get out of your animals/feet/RV carpet. It hides in the grass on the interstate.  :'(

The sticker burrs are in lots of places.  When I was young and riding a bicycle in the "outback", we called them puncture weeds because the burr needles would work their way into a tire and cause a leak.

Stinging nettle is another plant that is not nice to brush against.  I have not seen it in Arizona but, it is found in some forest areas.

Phil
 

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