Travelling dog demand forces pets policy re-think

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Many grey nomads travelling with dogs find the logistical challenges they face to be almost overwhelming.

They commonly complain about being barred from national parks, and decry the limited number of van parks which welcome them and their ‘fur babies’. Yet anecdotal evidence suggests that the numbers of caravanners and motorhomers taking their pet on the Big Lap are still growing.

And there are now signs that some places are responding to demand, and changing their approach.

In Western Australia, the Shire of Gingin has just announced that it is to lift its longstanding no-pets policy at Lancelin Caravan Park … at least for now.

“There have been numerous enquiries from the travelling public, including grey nomads, about whether pets are permitted at the caravan park,” said a shire spokesperson. “This prompted council to consider and agree to a trial allowing small dogs onto the caravan park.”

The trial will run up until June 30 this year, when its impact be will be reviewed.

“Shire officers are keen to see the results of the trial, and how allowing dogs onto the park impacts on the amenity and ambience of the park,” the spokesperson said. “Our main concerns would be around the potential number of dogs at the park and associated issues such as dog litter and noise.”

While many pet-owning travellers will welcome this sort of initiative, others are far more cautious.

“I don’t have a problem with dogs at all and certainly don’t avoid pet-friendly van parks but I am wary,” said Cynthia A. “Sadly, not all owners appreciate the fact that not everyone loves their dog as much as they do, and I have seen poop in parks and I have had to put up with long bouts of barking from dogs tied up at the park while the owners are away elsewhere.”

  • Do you think more caravan parks should be pet friendly? Have you ever had your stay at a caravan park or camping ground ‘spoiled’ by a dog? Comment below

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47 Responses to Travelling dog demand forces pets policy re-think

  1. yes and not just dogs, cats should be permitted also.

    • Agree. Our cat comes with us and is confined to the van or the annex and yet caravan parks don’t want us. Fair enough it’s their park, I just wish they stopped trying to close down free camping sites when they don’t want our business anyway.

      • me to, i have been denied from 3 parks because of my INSIDE cat

    • No Cats, if they go walkabout they will eat their way through hundreds of wildlife.

    • Yes should be able to take your dogs with you when u are caravaning

  2. Love dogs but there is a place for them and don’t feel that is at caravan parks and certainly not in National Parks. Most owners do the right thing but sadly there are those who leave droppings around, don’t keep their dogs quite and insist on bringing them with them for happy hours. Not everyone loves dogs. Have to consider others camped around others. As for national parks the wild life has first priority!

    • Totally agree. Most times it’s not the dog but the owners who are the problem.

    • Go elsewhere then wherever there is no dogs

  3. We travel with our jack russell hasnt been a problem over the last three years although we dont spend much time in national parks.

  4. No

  5. We avoid caravan parks which do not allow small dogs as we travel with ours. Responsible pet owners always respect park rules about leashes and picking up after their dogs. I suggest that some children are a lot more of a nuisance and create more mess than many of the dogs due to the parents not keeping their kids under any sort of control.

    • Totally agree!!! CP’s with animals, no problems. But I will avoid CP’s that cater to kids.

  6. Yes. They gave been shown to be a PTSS aide as well as family pet. Loyal companion and saves talking to oneself.

  7. I think the rare times that people find dog litter in parks are from roaming dogs outside the park.Most people that take dogs traveling with them as we do are responsible and pick up after their dogs.Also barking is most often from small dogs they have a small dog personality and bark at everything that goes by, other dogs and people.

    • “I think the rare times that people find dog litter in parks are from roaming dogs outside the park.”

      And you know this because…?

      I like dogs, had two until recently but now traveling too much to make it work. But I see lousy dog owners everywhere under all conditions.

  8. If the pet is currently registered at a Council, this usually indicated a responsible pet owner, (because of the time, effort and cost). These owners usually care more about their pets and the surrounds, thus should be allowed to have their traveling pets with them.

  9. In most cases I would rather have dogs than children. Dog owners must remember though that while they love their dog, not everybody will feel the same. And as for dogs during happy hour. No, no and no. I have a small Jack Russell Terror but would not even consider having her around during a happy hour let alone someone else’s. Just plain rude.

  10. I feel there is a need for more pet friendly parks. If you don’t like the pets then stay in a park that has a no pets policy, it’s that easy. We travel with our 16 year old terrier and gave had no problems.

  11. I have more of a problem with kids than dogs. Kids are noisy, rude, and deliberately destructive. I’ve never had a dog throw a basketball at the side of a van, or try and break into it. How about we ban kids instead.

  12. Yes the dogs need training for barking, but the greater number of owners need training to pick up after the dogs and to keep them under control

  13. we usually travel with our dogs and do dog shows in other states and always carry the pooper scooper and bags to put the droppings in we have mesh around our annex and works a dream so have we had problems with dogs in camps usually the ones who the owners think they own the place

  14. Dogs are fine, it’s the owners that need the training. In fact, most dogs have more brains that the owners. I stay away from pet friendly & Big 4 parks as the latter cater for the unruly rugrats. So if parks want to cater for pets & kids, that’s ok, but expect that there will be certain group of travelers who avoid these parks.

  15. Banning dogs from Caravan Parks or National Parks. We do not go to them or caravan parks either that don’t like dogs. They are on our blacklist. Dogs should always be on the lead…small or large… that is “effective control’ not running free. They should be kept inside the van at night. All mess should be cleaned up.

    • Anywhere that allows dogs is on our blacklist.
      Anywhere there are dogs or cats don’t expect to see any native wildlife.

      • NO TO DOGS TRAVELLING AT ALL . VERY OVER SEEING DOGS ON BEACHES PARKS RIVERS NEVER A DAY GOES BY WHEN WE DON’T SEE DOGS Love travelling our beautiful country – however too many dogs with irresponsible owners. Every dog owner claims to clean up the doo. I say it is only 32% that are truthful. Besides having your day ruined by a wet sandy long haired dog doing the shake rattle n roll flinging sand all over me is not nice. If we wanted a dog or dogs we would have them – not all travellers want them – so why do we have to see yours. Have seen more dogs than tourists this trip.

  16. we also travel with our pets. we have 3 small dogs , two rescues so we dont want to leave anybody at home. we have a portable pet cage , which enable the girls to sleep on there beds comfortably and keep safe and also kept inside our campsite while we are outside. we pick up after the girls and keep them from barking. we have been turned away from some caravan parks due to having 3 but we have also had no problems booking in and having a wonderful stay at others once we have explained to them about our girls. they are family they go with us.

  17. So the majority of dog owners must suffer because of a few irresponsible dog owners who do not respect the park and other users. Hmmm if that general philosophy was to be applied to other issues such as litter around camp grounds then where would we all camp??? Let there be sensible debates around issues that impact on not only grey nomads but also families that enjoy camping. As a dog owner who takes pooch on trips, I get angry at irresponsible dog owners just as I do about people that litter and those who drive without consideration to other road users.

  18. Does anyone know of any dog friendly caravan parks on the Great Ocean Rd

    • There is one at Skenes Creek, right on the beach.

  19. I want to know why the SIZE of the dog matters?? In my experience its the little ones that make all the noise and most big dogs are better behaved and controlled on lead than small dogs. It is us picking up bigger poop, they are sleeping in our van taking up room so what difference does it make?

  20. We rarely stay in c/van parks but our Lab is always well excepted when we do stay in pet friendly parks as she is extremely well trained and behaved. What annoys me more is the ban on domestic animals (dogs in particular), being banned from National Parks. I don’r want to hear about diseases that domestic animals carry that may affect the native wild life, I would be more worried that our pets may contract some disease.
    We have also returned to camps in a favourite area only to find signs indicating that dogs are no longer allowed because of the “shore nesting birds” being affected when in the very same area we have seen feral cats heading for the beach in late afternoon that you could throw a saddle on, but the easiest thing is to blame domestic animals ?????, which for the most part are well controlled.

  21. Yes, more parks should be pet friendly, and yes our stay has been ruined by owners not looking after their dogs. We have a medium size dog we travel with full time. We do get discriminated against sometimes as she’s not small, so some parks won’t allow her in. That’s ok, we go elsewhere to spend our $$’s. If everyone did the right thing all would be sweet…alas no!

  22. Always select CPs that allow dogs – I have G/shepherd. Fully ticketed obedience trained. As mentioned, why allow small dogs only? As for Nat Parks, most that I’ve seen over the years are full of feral cats, camels, pigs, goats, water buffalo up north, Olive trees, weeds – surely my dog on a lead is less risk. As for dogs barking stayed at one park – dog across the road in house barked all night. Won’t be going back there.

  23. I have this to say. Few years ago camped at Johanna beach when it was still free camping. Long weekend full. By the end of the weekend the whole place stinked of dog poo. I then realised that we were outnumbered! Some people even had 3 dogs! How can you travel in a caravan with 3 dogs? Selfish to other caravaners and to the dogs. These people would probably blame the free camps for not having amenities for dogs! I can’t believe that people can be so in themselves. Have a bit of heart to fellow caravaners and escapees from the city and especially grey nomads who really want to enjoy nature.

  24. In caravan parks, young kids are usually more trouble and noisier than the dogs.

  25. No, I don’t think there should be more pet friendly parks, I avoid the ones where dogs are allowed. Owners can be responsible, but unfortunately not all of them are.

  26. We are caretakers at a council caravan park. Dog owners winged for more dog-friendly parks and a lot of parks are now allowing dogs, but this has to come with rules, with no exceptions. Sure, the dog may be a “good little dog”, but the rules are the same for all. Unfortunately, some, but not all refuse to abide by the rules. These people will blatantly defy us regardless the number of times you tell them to keep it on a lead and we end up the bad guys because we are trying to do our job. If they ignore the rule of not leaving their pooch in the caravan while they go out for the day and leave their air-conditioner going, they may come back to find a dead dog if the power went out for hours. They may as well lock them in a car in the heat. I love dogs but do not love irresponsible owners.

  27. We have been travelling with our little Jack Russell X for over 6yrs now & find there are a now lot more parks allowing animals, probably because they now realise more grey nomads are travelling with animals & if they want the custom they have to allow the animals. And the majority of animal owners are very responsible, we have to be if we want van parks to accept us. What I get annoyed at is not being allowed into National Parks, we keep our dog on a lead & always pick up afterwards but wild animals in NP will do more damage than domesticated ones, eg; wild pigs, Buffalo, foxes & rabbits!

  28. It’s the same old story – a few weekenders and holiday makers who do not feel the leash rule applies to them ruin it for us older and regular travelers. Our cat travels with us as well and we have been permanently on the road for five years. He is now 10 years old, sleeps in the van and does not roam at night. The next bird he catches would be his first one…..he’s a lover, not a hunter.

  29. It’s strange how other peoples kids can runamuck in a caravan park including running under our awning tipping over tables and chairs, with their behaviour being ignored and branded as just kids being kids. But should our dog react to this intrusion in our space with the slightest sound, she’s branded as aggressive and a nuisance… go figure!

    • So right! Was at a park when my little tethered dog was in my space. Chap walked though out lot, and kicked out at my little dog – to which she quickly snapped and got his leg. You should have seen the furor he caused complaining about our ‘vicious’ dog! Luckily a near by camper saw it, and complained that he regularly walked through camp sites deliberately trying to stir up dogs so as to have them banned (he was a permanent resident).

  30. We have taken our two medium size dogs with us on all our travels, we get so many comments on how well behaved they are from people at caravan parks, cafes etc.. As for dogs upsetting wild life, ours grew up on a small farm, they never seemed to keep the kangaroos, wallabies, lizards, snakes or echidnas away,so leashed in a national park surely cant cause problems and yes we do clean up after them, and yes, they are both well trained. If parks want more revenue then they should think seriously about allowing pets in,, I would be happy to sign an agreement before entering if that would help.

  31. Only stay in caravan parks that don’t allow dogs

  32. I don’t have a problem with dogs in CPs at all. What I do have a problem with is parks that won’t allow dogs to stay in onsite cabins – I’d be happy to pay a bond. We travelled with our small dog from Perth to Victoria (4WD, no van) and it took ages to book in accommodation that would let us have our dog in our accommodation. On the return trip, we have a van and will “wing it” as far as CPs go. We plan to do the Big Lap in 1-2 years but that will be after our dog goes to doggy heaven. We’ve found it just too restricting travelling with a pet (we refuse to leave him in the van unattended).

  33. There should be caravan parks that don’t allow kids.

  34. There certainly was a time not many years ago that ‘pet friendly’ caravan parks and other accommodation types was the exception rather than the rule. Having just spent 5 months this year and 7 months last year travelin the NT, SA, and WA, there was not one caravan park we have been in that was not pet friendly. The boom in caravan parks is directly due to the boom in baby boomers retiring. Caravan parks have responded with improved facilities, renovations, extensions and, indeed, brand new parks and resorts being built. The customers want to bring their pets. Fine. The problem is that the number of dogs in parks is now excessive. Simply because of the huge increase in customers, there is an increase in the number who are irresponsible, who will take a mile now having been given the inch. We are seeing more and more problems occuring – poop is one, but also off leads, taking dogs into eating areas, like camp kitchens, barking of course with one starting more get barking too. We have always camped in Nat Parks, as well as cvan parks. Because of the increasing problems with pet ‘over friendly ness’, we are bush camping more to get away from the pets and their owners. I think it is almost at the point of being an industry issue. Some parks regulate well, a lot don’t.

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