Canine Campers -- Bringing Dogs to the National Forest

Dogs wait patiently while mom and kids plan their day.The Modoc National Forest is very dog friendly.  Dogs are welcome in all campgrounds, picnic areas and on most trails.

Problems with dogs in many developed National Forest recreation areas have increased seriously in recent years.  The few rules that apply to dogs are meant to assure that you and other National Forest visitors have an enjoyable outdoor recreation experience.

Last year, one of every eight dogs was involved in a situation. If you are camping with your pet and want to be sure that privilege remains available in the future, please practice the following:

  • Leave vicious or unusually noisy dogs at home. Because they will disturb or threaten others, they will not be allowed in public recreation areas.
  • During the day keep your dog on a leash no more than 6 feet long, or otherwise restrict its freedom to roam at will. Domestic animals are not allowed to run loose in recreation areas where they will disturb others.
  • At night keep your dogs and other pets inside an enclosed vehicle or in a tent.
  • Developed campgrounds are for people, not animals. Please do not bring more than two dogs or other pets to any one campsite.
  • Do not bring dogs onto developed swimming beaches, even if they are restrained. Guide dogs are an exception.
  • Dogs may not be left alone at your campsite, picnic area or in your vehicle.

A man and his dog take a rest break on the trail.When out on the trails, be sure you leash your dog whenever approaching other hikers, horses and pack stock. Horses and pack stock may spook at an inquisitive or boisterous dog, injuring the rider.  Hikers may not enjoy meeting your dog running loose on a narrow, steep trail.

Whether in camp or out on the trails, your fellow visitors' reactions will be a major factor in determining whether dogs continue to be welcome in developed National Forest recreation areas. Most complaints about dogs are about noise or dog mess. To avoid complaints from other forest visitors, consider these suggestions:

  • Never leave your dog alone in a closed vehicle or tent even for a short time. It may whine or bark while you are away.
  • Clean up after your pet. It will only take a few minutes, and there is no single action that will more favorably impress your fellow campers.
  • Whenever possible select a campsite on the edge of the campground and away from the shoreline.
  • No matter how well behaved your dog is, he must be on a leash at all times in developed areas.

By practicing good dog etiquette and being a conscientious dog owner, you will know that you are helping keep the National Forests a "dog friendly" place.