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Old 03-12-2015, 06:02 PM   #1
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Fulltimers looking to get a dog

Hi Everyone!

DH and I have been fulltiming for nearly a year now and we're finding that we're missing having a four legged furry friend around. Whenever I've gotten a dog or cat from the pound or the SPCA they've asked a lot of questions regarding residency and wanted a permanent address so that they could come and make sure the animal would be in a secure location. We don't want to get a dog from someplace that could be a puppy mill, so we're looking to rescue or adopt. We're camphosting in Wisconsin this summer, so we'll be in one spot for about 6 months. We think this is a good opportunity to train up a dog on life in an RV (feeding schedules and walking/doing their business training).

Anyone had any experience or advice with getting a pet while already fulltiming?

Thanks, from the C (the DW) in RCG.
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:52 PM   #2
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Well, we had our humane society dog when we sold the stick and bricks, she loves the fulltime lifestyle and has never met a stranger. The only thing she does prefer, is grass instead of the western deserts.
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Old 03-13-2015, 12:02 AM   #3
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I know a lot of full-timers have a dog. I guess it depends on how you're full-timing.

You've only been doing it for a year. What are your future plans as far as the 'bucket list'? What kinds of things do you do? Hiking? National Parks? The majority of national parks don't allow dogs on trails. Do you spend time in museums, etc. where a dog can't be taken?

Even having a new dog while you're camphosting might mean you'll have to leave it alone for hours at a time. Some parks have a rule about dogs being left alone due to barking issues.

We were at a campground in Death Valley and parked next to a great couple who had a dog. They really wanted to tour Scotty's Castle in the park but couldn't leave their dog alone that long. We offered to dog sit for them but they told us later that they were apprehensive about doing that...maybe we'd take off with their dog. The next day they relented and let us do it and it worked out fine. We've been good friends with them - and their dog - for the past 8 years. However, it's just something to think out for yourselves. Would you give up doing things because of a dog?

We've volunteered in parks and our gigs took us away from the RV, such as giving lighthouse tours or working in national parks. We felt it just wouldn't be fair to leave the dog behind. We spent 9 days rafting the Grand Canyon because it's something we always dreamed of doing. We've visited family via air travel for special occasions, illness and death. A dog just wouldn't have fit into that lifestyle.

I hope you'll think out every scenario that you might encounter during your travels that might not work well with a dog. Perhaps these things wouldn't apply to you though. It can be done by some. Good luck!
Full-timed for 16 Years . . .
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Old 03-13-2015, 07:42 AM   #4
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We have rescued two dogs while full timing. (Both our dog now are rescue.) Some rescue groups have very rigid rules and that is counterproductive to their mission.

We explained to the rescue group that we were full timers, and would be able to spend 95% of our time with the dog. As compared to the folks that are still working and away from the house during the day.

Some groups want a fenced yard. we counter by saying that we have the time and desire to walk the dog frequently during the day.

Also we show pictures of our camping unit.

Hope this helps. Happy camping.
Camping Rig: 2006 Outback 27 RSDS--
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Old 03-13-2015, 07:55 AM   #5
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RCG604: We have a Chocolate Lab going on 8 yrs now. Loves going out with us in the motorhome or for that matter any vehicle for a ride. Sits up front watching the road and checks on us every five minutes to make sure we are still there with him. Travels great, just remember poop bags and pick up after them.
Twogypsies has great points. We have gone places where "Willie" can't go and some where you have to stay on specific paths. Some RV campgounds offer walking services (at a cost), but Willie doesn't care who takes him for a walk. I've often said that Willie will invite you into the motorhome or our house for that matter and show you around (the good stuff is here and my snacks over there).
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Old 03-13-2015, 08:05 AM   #6
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We have been living in our RV for 1 1/2 years and have been traveling for the past 8 months. We have a small dog, he is 15 years old and in fair health. When he goes to doggy heaven, we will not get another dog. Our dog ties us down too much. We can't stay out site seeing all day because we need to get back and let the dog out to pee. I know some people who leave them locked up or in a crate all day, but I think that is cruel. Also, some people leave their dogs in the RV all day or for log periods of time and they bark constantly, very rude and inconsiderate. So, it all depends what you like to do, stay at RV all day or go out and see the world.

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Old 03-13-2015, 08:08 AM   #7
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I am a volunteer with the Arizona Cattle Dog Rescue. One of the fun things I get to do as a volunteer is home checks to meet potential adopters and their pets, if they have any. I have personally done a home visit/check for a couple who spend half of the year in their coach here in AZ and the other half up north.
They were a great couple and were approved to adopt. In my mind any dog who gets to live with them is a lucky dog.
Keep checking with other rescues until you find one that will work with you. Foster based rescues are going to give you the information you need to make sure that a dog will be a good fit for your lifestyle. And if you come to AZ, check out ACDR.org.
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Old 03-13-2015, 08:19 AM   #8
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Another safety consideration for pets has to do with leaving them in the moho alone during hot weather. We visited relatives for several hours and decided to leave the dogs, when we returned the electricity had been knocked out in the area, and the temps in the moho were getting very warm. You need an automatic generator starter as a backup to ensure the A/C stays on! We almost learned the hard way.

Twogypsies has the most valid point, many of our favorite places to visit simply do not allow pets. We no longer are full-timers, and have relatives and friends that watch our pets when we travel to these places.

We have 2 Jack Russell terriers now, and it is all we can do to walk/hike with them every single day to keep them exercised while in the moho. Our previous dog was a Bichon Frise, which was a much better moho companion. The Bichon did not shed, and was very contempt with just hanging out with us. The folks we rescued the Jack Russell's from told us they quit shedding after a year or two, well THEY LIED. We do love them, and they do keep us in shape, so I guess it was a good trade off.

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Old 03-13-2015, 08:57 AM   #9
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I think being in one place for six months would be sufficient for any shelter or Humane Society. If they check at all it will only be for the first few months. I cannot imagine being turned down because you live in an RV. Go for it.
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Old 03-13-2015, 10:52 AM   #10
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thank you so much for all the thoughtful responses. firebug5's point about the power going out while we're away is great. i've asked the dh to look into an autostart for the generator since he is more hardware inclined than i am.

the dh and i are web designers, so we are working in (or more often just outside) our motorhome much of the time. we do go for adventures occasionally, but more often we're in the position to bring the dog with us wherever we go. i am aware that national parks (and some campgrounds) don't allow dogs on the hiking trails or during sight seeing. i've been researching and reading in various pet and RVing forums about what it's like fulltiming with a dog, how to train a dog for the RV lifestyle, and also about the various restrictions, and i am satisfied that we wouldn't miss out too much. my dh and i are more of the day trip kind of sightseers rather than the 9-day white water rafting kind (though in my 20s i did a good amount of that, not for 9-days, though, that sounds like quite the adventure twogypsies! ).

this is the first time in my life i've ever been without a furry companion (a cat or a dog), and it is hard for me without one. For me, it's like anything else about one's personality or self. Some people wouldn't consider working while fulltiming, since it would limit them, but we do it. Others couldn't imagine fulltiming alone or with children, but many do it. what i get out of having a pet i think would be more than i would lose.

really appreciate the reassurance that we wouldn't be turned down. when i first thought on it, i thought that being able to be with our pup for more time than someone who leaves them at home 9 to 5 would be a benefit, but the home visits worried me.

and RVLola, we aren't sure whether it'll be AZ or western TX for the winter. if we haven't picked up a pup by then, we'll look y'all up!

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Old 03-13-2015, 05:26 PM   #11
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I made my living as a dog groomer for over 35 years and couldn't imagine living without dogs. The sacrifices are more than worth it and I fulltime with 3 Poodles. The managers at the campground where I currently work have 3 rescued Pappions and they were approved for all while living in their motorhome. Another coworker just got a Chihuahua mix from a local rescue, "Roxy" is an absolute love.
Smaller dogs are easier, I love my (60 pound) standard sized Poodle but it's hard to give him the exercise he needs sometimes. He does give me a sense of security though as a single woman. Local humane society's and the SPCA are less stringent than most rescues. They may ask for a previous vets number to make sure your former pets were vaccinated but most are not too fussy. The only issue is that many shelters are filled with Pit Bull types and many campgrounds will not allow them. The perfect fulltime dog is one who likes people and other dogs as you will have to exercise them in busy places at times. A good breeder who does genetic testing is always a good option. If you have a specific breed in mind, check on the AKC website for recommendations. If you want an adult dog, a good breeder may have one who didn't quite make the cut but is perfect for a pet owner. Stay very far away from those online breeders who have several breeds or mixes and run from any pet shop even if they swear the don't buy from puppy mills. It's a shame that some people see dogs as a way to make a quick buck but it's the sad truth. Good luck in your search.
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Old 03-16-2015, 03:13 PM   #12
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Does anyone full time with larger breeds? Grew up with german shepards and labs and retrievers. I am and will always be attached to them. More sporty and kind to strangers. Im aware of the shedding, I clean a lot so thats not a problem. Also like weimreiners, am i spelling that right? Any info on them for full timing would be great too.
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Old 03-16-2015, 03:27 PM   #13
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The implication that dog breeders = puppy mills, and that the only way to avoid puppy mills is to rescue or adopt is something I would disagree with you on. A well bred dog is easy to identify.

There is a list of high risk dog breeds that should be avoided.

There is also a service that can do a DNA background check so you will know parentage for rescued dogs.

I would love to have a pit bull, for example, but why take on a high liability pet? Of course each to their own.

Easy to find lists of companion dogs and high risk dogs.

If a rescue outfit gives you a hard time, I would ignore them and find another source. Some of the rescue outfits are, I think, unnecessarily hard core...but others will of course disagree.
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Old 03-17-2015, 09:36 AM   #14
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Fulltimers looking to get a dog

Smaller rescue organizations will typically be more open to alternative lifestyles. Also many organizations will be open if you explain your situation. Sign up for a local dog training class if you can, especially in the beginning if you have some time in one place.

Do be aware that "high risk" breeds may limit where you can stay since many private RV parks do not allow them.

We've travelled over 5 years with our dog and it's the best thing in the world. We've volunteered, hosted at lighthouses, visited many areas of natural beauty. Our dog never stays home alone more than 4 hours at a time, and is with us most days.
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