Libbys on the Loose:2 Humans. 2 Great Danes. 1 RV.: Be a good RV neighbor!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Be a good RV neighbor!

One of the best parts of RV living is all the different types of people you meet.  Some of them will be like a best friend you connect with the first time, and others may dislike you upon first sight.  Most fall somewhere between these two extremes.  Most of the people that we've met in our (limited) RV travels, have been very warm and inviting.  As a whole, so far, RVers are a great community and most seem genuinely friendly.

During non-holiday weeks, while most children are still in school, many RV parks don't have many people in them.  They are quiet and peaceful and these are the best days.  Of the people who are there, there aren't many thirty-somethings.  Being one of the "non-retirement full-time working age" can come with some pitfalls.  Others can assume you are unemployed or invading "their territory", or in our case - don't like dogs (especially big ones).  Some are just loners who have a general dislike of all people for whatever reason.  Then there are many retirees who have spent years working and saving for retirement and getting to do what we're doing now.   So they feel we haven't "earned" the right to be here.  Of course, this is a silly attitude to have, and we just try to laugh it off.  But when you are simply trying to enjoy the area just like they are, it can be frustrating, too.

Neighbors can sometimes change daily, which, when they are ones you don't get along with, can be a blessing.  There's is a saying something like "If you don't like the neighbors, just wait a few days!". Then there are those you wish would extend their stay just so you can spend more time with them. We strive to be those neighbors.  We both believe in the golden rule -  treat others as you want them to treat you.

We aren't perfect, and we will always make mistakes.  Especially because we are still beginners! On one of our first outings, we unintentionally parked on our neighbor's site (the lines weren't really that obvious) and instead of coming and saying something to us, she went to the front office and so we got a notice on our door.  This was after we had already moved the truck and a few days of her making rude comments and dirty faces at us. After the notice, we went and talked to her and apologized.  We told her that we hadn't realized it was on her site (and had she mentioned it to us, we would have gladly moved).  After a long conversation we found out that just before we arrived, she had been surrounded for a week by several families camping together with children who ran amok through her site.   They parked their vehicles in her site forcing her to park in overflow parking, which was all the way at the front of the park!   So, of course we pulled in and committed the same parking mistake, so she assumed we were going to be the same as the previous group and took her anger out on us.  She ended up being very friendly and we left on great terms.  The point is that all of that could have been avoided if she would have just come over and asked us to move.

Another time we pulled in mid-week and set up later in the day.  It was nearly dark by the time we got there, so we didn't spend much time outside.   The following day was like any others for us - working outside and watching the dogs playing with the occasional barking at people (or other dogs) passing by.  All dogs bark, but of course having Great Danes, ours pretty much bark louder than any others.  So as to not annoy not only ourselves, but also those around us, we have a two bark rule. After they bark twice - no more!  We like that they alert us that someone is coming towards us and want the security that comes with that, but we don't want to have those types of dogs that yap (high-pitched bark continuously).  Could you imagine having a giant yappy dog?  The yappy dogs are usually the smaller dogs that have the requisite "small dog syndrome".  They see bigger dogs and bark like it's their job.  So, on this particular day, Nyx was barking at people walking by.  Our next door neighbors, apparently very upset with this evidenced by the wife yelling shut up a few times from inside their RV.  Instead of coming outside and saying something (we are many times immune to their barking because we are used to it) our new neighbors stomp, (Yes, I could hear them stomping inside their RV), come outside and yell shut up again (and nothing else) and go right back inside.  Now, I'm a pretty tolerant person, but I literally had no time to react.  The first interaction with me is yelling at me or my dogs?  My reaction to that sort of childish behavior?  I let her bark her big head off the next time she saw someone walking by.  So, of course, they started yelling again from inside their RV and starting banging on their windows which of course made her bark even more.  I waved at them to come outside and finally the husband did.  He yelled at me asking if it was "really necessary for the barking".  I replied a sarcastic "yes, just as necessary as it was for you to yell from inside your RV, stomp like children and tell me shut up to my face"  He then changed his tune (still being a complete ass) asked if I would stop them from barking.  I said "yes, I can" and sat back down while he glared at my back.  He eventually went back inside we didn't hear or see them again.

It amazes us that even other dog owners will take one look at us (because we have two giant dogs) and turn away with a disgusted look on their face!  I'll never understand how or why people can be so judgemental - especially about dogs!  We love all dogs, big and small (even the annoying yappy ones!).  And I can pretty much guarantee that our dogs are better-trained than most (they have to be because of their size!).  But they are still dogs and they want to be loyal and protective.  Barking is how they know to alert people that they are ready to protect their owners.

But, I digress... People walking by doesn't happen all that often during the quiet off-weeks (which, in Florida, is in May through September - except holidays) so even with the two bark rule, our dogs don't make much noise. But, if the entire campground full of dogs start barking, mine naturally want to join in - can't blame them for that!  When situations like this happen, we like to use a product called the Pet Corrector. It emits a hissing noise that sounds a lot like tribute to Cesar Millan and his unique "shh" sound.  It doesn't hurt them in any way and is more effective than yelling at them.  Yelling at them to stop barking isn't effective because to them, you are joining in the barking which means more barking!  Barking begets barking!

Here are a few things that we try to practice to be good neighbors:

  • If site lines aren't clear, err on the side of caution and park in an overflow lot if you can't fit your vehicle in front of your RV.  Or, a great way to meet your neighbors is to introduce yourself as a first-time and that you're unfamiliar with the sites.  This lets them know that you are respecting their site and gives them the opportunity to show you where the site lines are.
  • Ensure that your children are respectful of others and their space.  We don't have kids, so we can't give a whole lot more advice than to try to keep your children out of others' sites unless invited and supervised - no one likes to have their site "invaded"!  We have had people that have expected us to "keep an eye" on their children.  No, we don't want to be rude, but they aren't are children and "no thanks" but we probably aren't interested in watching them - sorry!   
  • If you have dogs, please socialize them!  The more interaction your puppies have with other people, the better they are every time they meet someone new!  This is paramount in ensuring that other RVers are not scared of or intimidated by your dogs.
  • Yappy dogs are annoying, too.  If you have a small dog, try to start them young to control their barking to a manageable amount or reasonable level.      
  • It goes without saying, but pick up after your dog!  No one wants to see it, smell it, or especially step in it, so make sure that you always clean up after your pets and properly dispose of the waste.    
  • Keep your music to a volume where only you hear it - others may not like the same kind of music that you play.  Or they may not want to listen to music when you do 
  • If you have a large gathering, invite the neighbors (or at least let them know that if it does get too loud for them to please feel free to come and let you know).  Introducing yourself to your neighbors, especially with a large group, should be on your "must do" list     
  • Respect the campground quiet times.  Loud talking, music, games, etc, should all be ceased during quiet times.  Some of us want to sleep - we still work! :)  
  • Keep your campsite neat (nobody wants to look at your mess)    
  • Dispose of your trash (bears, raccoons, and other animals can ransack your site overnight)    
  • Leave your campsite in the same condition as when you arrived 
  • If you are trailering, don't hook up your truck until you are fully ready to depart.   At many parks, you will block the road from others coming and going    
  • Inspect all of your vehicles to ensure that you are not leaking fluids.     
  • If you see someone having trouble, remember that you weren't always a pro.  See if there is any way you can help    
  • Everybody has bad days.  If your neighbor seems to be in a bad mood, either leave them alone and steer clear, or (if the opportunity presents itself) see if there is something you can help with.  Asking at least shows you're being neighborly  
  • First impressions about someone are not always the best.  Don't let a bad first impression keep you from trying to work with someone - they could turn out to be a lifelong friend!

If you have any good tips or stories that you would like to share, we'd love to have you comment or email us!

Disclaimer: We are not paid writers, neither for our writing or our opinions. We represent our experiences with products, services, etc, with 100% accuracy and give our unbiased feedback.

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