Camping in Alberta with dogs

Question:
We don't camp much, but we like it. We have a tent and two dogs and find most campgrounds accept dogs, but not on beaches, nor are you allowed to leave your pet unattended. We have camped at one place near Edmonton, were we could see the beach and where the dogs could hang out with us while we took turns in the water. I know this is not always going to be the case, so how do I find out if we can do this? What do people do when they go camping at a lake with dogs? Does your family take turns going to the beach, and someone stays with the dogs? I don't understand the rules. This summer my family is busy doing lots of stuff, but I might like to go camping alone with the dogs. Will I not be able to go to the beach? Just curious if anyone has any answers.
Answer:
I find that if I take the dogs to a quiet part of the beach and keep them on leash and not harassing other people that no one will really say anything. There are always the do-gooders who feel it necessary to remind you of the rules of the beach, but I have found it to not be much of a problem. I figure the rules are made for other people's bad dogs, not my two perfectly behaved pups
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I've often wondered this more as 'travel with pets'. It's one thing to go to a freind's cottage.. take the dog. Her be with me 24-7, except for the few times she is crated for a nap.

Often wondered if you go camping and ever wanted to go do something for an hour what you do with the dog.. Crate a dog in a tent in the shade when it's cool outside, or have to find only dog friendly activities for every moment you are away..
Answer:
Originally Posted by Caite
I figure the rules are made for other people's bad dogs, not my two perfectly behaved pups

yeah, 'cause that's the right attitude....
Answer:
I know in Ontario parks, you can take the dogs to the beach, just not in the water in the "designated" beach areas (which are usually marks off with floating line in the water). Other than that, most lakes allow dogs. We just find a place along the shore that is not a "designated" beach, and swim there with the dog.
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yeah... 'cause I was serious...

(note winky type face which generally indicates a comment of a sarcastic nature.... )
Answer:
I'm a born-and-raised Albertan, and currently have my first dog. I *love* camping, was pretty much raised at campsites. We tent-camp as well. I know that a lot of people who have trailers (especially motorhomes with A/C), will often leave their dogs in the trailer while they go to the beach. This is within the "rules" as camp grounds generally just don't want dogs left outside unattended, as kids could get bitten or dog could get off the leash and hurt someone, or get into garbage, etc. However, when you're in a tent, it's a little more difficult. You can't really leave the dog in the tent, even if it's in the shade, cause it can really heat up in there on a hot day and the dog can still escape and either hurt itself or someone else. So the scenario you describe works; alternating on the beach. Or you can do what we did this past weekend at Gull Lake, and simply go down to the water and follow their rules exactly; dogs are not allowed on the designated beach or in the designated swimming area. So we go just barely outside of the designated area. I have a little dog, and he can't swim long (see my thread in training on dogs & swimming), so we have a raft. When he's done swimming, he goes in the raft, and then the raft goes in the designated swimming area (where our friends were). Dog's not in the water, so it's really tough for them to give me a hard time about it. And since the water that's right next to the swimming area is exactly the same, the only thing that's different is the "beach". They don't maintain that part of the beach, but you could very easily just put your lawn chairs or blanket or set up your kids on the "maintained" edge and then just cross over to the other side of the floats with the dogs. Then everyone can be there at once, and the dogs don't feel left out.

The "no dogs on the beach or in the swimming area" rules tend to apply only to lakes that are popular with tourists, such as Gull Lake, Sylvan Lake, Lake Newell... but if you go into places where there isn't so much of a tourist draw, or often if you just walk down the shore to a non-designated beach, you can take the dogs in. We also go camping in K-country, and the Kananaskis Lakes aren't as much of a tourist draw. The only place I know of where dogs aren't allowed to go in the water is at the kiddie pool at Mt Kidd RV park (obvious reasons I think). The only restrictions on dogs is that they *must* be leashed at all times, which I don't think is unreasonable considering that it's bear country. However, that doesn't stop people from letting their dogs off leash at their sites or on hiking trails (and makes me *really* angry, especially when a loose, large dog tries to take a lunge at my small, leashed one!). And I'm not going to suggest that you don't, but I know some people need reminding; PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG!!! No excuses, especially not in bear country. Most camp grounds that have info online will have info about what your dogs are and aren't allowed to do. Check there first, then decide if you want to take your dog with you.

So perhaps you could find a happy medium... either a campsite that doesn't have a designated "beach" (then the dogs can go in with you), or go to a place where the rules aren't as strict. Or, if you *really* can't deal with either of those options, then either board, kennel or find a dog-sitter for your dogs. That might mean at the campsite (maybe there's someone camped near you who doesn't want to go to the beach??) or in your home-town. And yes, I have had to make choices to not do things because I couldn't take the dog with me nor could I leave him at the site. I can go to the waterslides anytime, the dog can't be left at my campsite alone. Such is life. He's more fun to be with than waterslides anyhow.

HTH,
Melissa
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