Celebrating National Rescue Dog Day: Rescue Dogs and the RV Life

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National Rescue Dog Day is celebrated on May 20 each year. This day was created to bring awareness to the incredible dogs waiting in shelters for new homes.  In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of rescuing an adult dog and why a rescue dog might be your next canine best friend to hit the road with you in your RV.

The Importance of National Rescue Dog Day 

Despite campaigns like National Rescue Dog Day, there is still a stigma attached to shelter dogs. There is a false assumption that rescue dogs have something wrong with them, like a behavioral problem or a medical problem. Some people believe that an adult rescue dog will never bond with a human as much as a puppy. Others think that you cannot train an adult dog. 

The reality is that there are dogs of every shape, size, color, energy level, temperament, and personality in need of someone to love and care for them. There are mixed breed dogs and purebred dogs. Some dogs have suffered at the hands of negligent, cruel owners. Some dogs have been treated well, but whose owners died or lost their pet-friendly housing. Some dogs strayed so far from home that they got lost, and their humans could not find them. 

No matter what your preferences are, you can usually find a dog to match your criteria. This is bittersweet, as it means that there are plenty of great dogs that you can bring into your life. But it also means that there are far too many dogs in need of homes. 

The Benefits of Rescuing an Adult Dog for RV Owners 

Many adult rescue dogs require much less work depending on the individual dog than raising a young puppy. Adult rescue dogs are often already house-trained with an understanding of basic obedience commands. They have often outgrown the boundless energy of puppyhood and enjoy simple pleasures like walks and snuggles. Their bladders are more developed, so they usually do not need as many potty breaks as puppies. They are finished teething, so you will not have razor-sharp puppy teeth sinking into tender human skin. 

Adult rescue dogs bond emotionally with humans just as strongly as puppies do. Age is not a determining factor in whether a dog can connect with its new owner. Some owners of rescue dogs feel that adult dogs bond more strongly with their new owners because they have experienced a lonely life and are more grateful for a consistent home.

All these traits are great at helping a dog adapt to life in an RV. Of course, not all rescue dogs tick off all these boxes in terms of being the perfect RV partner. Some dogs may need to learn obedience commands and impulse control. Some may need a refresher course on house training. Most adult rescue dogs will need time to acclimate and become comfortable in their new life. Others may take longer to learn to trust a new and unfamiliar environment. But with patience, love, consistency, and training, an adult rescue dog can become an ideal camping friend to explore the world together. 

Preparing Your Rescue Dog for the RV Lifestyle

It is important to slowly introduce your rescued dog to the RV lifestyle. Patience and positive reinforcement are essential, just as they are in any dog-related situation. We recommend setting your RV up at home before going on an actual trip with your dog. This way, your pup can explore the camper slowly and for short periods before hitting the road. 

Before inviting your dog into the camper, place some of his/her toys and a favorite blanket or bed in the RV. Then let your dog enter at their own pace, allowing them time to explore and sniff as much as they want. If your dog reacts positively, you can reward them with treats and praise. Spend a little bit of time just hanging out in the RV with your dog before exiting

You can repeat this process several times, increasing the amount of time that you spend just relaxing in the RV together while still parked in your driveway. This way, your dog will learn that the RV is a safe and pleasant place to spend time with you before you find yourself a long way from home. 

If your RV is a Class A, B, or C, you can also start the engine and take a short drive around the block to get your dog used to the feeling of driving in a camper. If your RV is a travel trailer or a 5th wheel, practice getting in and out of your truck or SUV with your dog so that he/she is used to loading into your vehicle. 

RVing With Your Rescue Dog

Once your dog has become accustomed to being in your RV in the driveway, the next step is to take an overnight or a weekend trip. Choose a destination that is close to your home for your initial camping trip. The more gradually you ease into the RV lifestyle with your rescue dog, the more successful your first extended camping trip should be. 

Going for a walk or hike at your campsite is a fantastic way to provide both physical and mental exercise for your dog. This will help your dog burn off nervous energy and relax during your trip. Remember to bring a comfortable bed for the RV when camping with your rescue dog, as well as toys and enrichment items like Kongs and chews. Also, take plenty of treats so that you can provide positive reinforcement whenever your rescue dog is happy, relaxed, and confident during your trip.

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