Being safe is mostly all about attitude and situational awareness. You're far more likely to die of accidents (10x) or cancer (3x-500x depending on age) than of assault, so figuring out how to take of your equipment and yourself medically while full-timing should be of far greater concern than strangers trying to do you in.
Dogs are great if you like them; their devotion deserves reciprocity. If you're not a dog person, don't get one. If you're worried about getting harassed, a no-nonsense attitude and some basic self defense classes is probably the right approach.
Above all, enjoy the adventure. Fear is there to remind us to mitigate risks - but a fear of falling shouldn't prevent one from taking hikes in Yosemite.
Hi, a lot of camp grounds only allow dogs that are 20 lbs or less; A little yapee-doo will make enough noise to keep strangers away. If you are only thinking of getting a dog for protection and leaving the dog alone, that's cruel. If you truely want a pet, that's different. Forget the guns and buy a can of bear spray.
Our dog is 20 lbs....and has dobie in her.......somewhere.
Neil and Lynn Holman
IMHO dogs are there to serve as a warning system, so the size is immaterial. A smaller dog is also far easier to manage than a dobie or German Shepard. The problem with the larger breeds is that the ones that have a prey instinct MUST be well trained. They are large enough to cause harm and therefore you must be the kind of owner who can exert control over the dog (or go to obedience training and learn). That's a lot of responsibility. Don't get me wrong, I love some of the bigger dogs but lackadaisicle owners and big dogs can be a bad mix. My smaller dogs have been attacked by a neighbors German Shepard (on my property) with devastating results. One should also be aware of the costs of owning a dog because vet care has become increasingly expensive. Personally I can't imagine not having a dog in my life! So my vote would be to adopt something that you connect with and don't focus on the breed or size.
Guns are better left to law enforcement and gun enthusiasts. I grew up around guns, my Dad was foreman of a large Sturm Ruger Plant. Even having experience and a gun friendly attitude, I would never carry a pistol for self protection. Why? Doubt my ability to use it on another person. A baseball bat, a stun gun, pepper spray? No problem and highly recommend. Also am a huge fan of carrying a pen knife in my pocket.
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Awe your little doggies are so cute - thanks for posting the photos. I'm an animal lover but I no longer want the responsibility of owning a pet. I live with a Pitbull (my son's dog) right now & he is a great dog because he is well trained & even though he loves people, I know he would sense if anyone was trying to hurt us & attack them. As far as leaving a dog alone...I guess I should have been more specific. If I go to the store or need to take a part time job, sure. I would have to leave my dog in my home (trailer) alone just like everyone else does.
I can see this is a hot topic & I hope I didn't upset anyone here with my inquiries.
Thanks for all your comments & help.
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We have a female Bichon Frise. The Bichon does not shed so no hair to clean up. She is not a heavy eater so clean up is less strenius. She has a nose that will smell problems long before you can hear anything. She is small enough to sleep in our bed. She is agressive when strangers come into your space. She is a great companion and she has no problem being in the trailer alone for several hours. http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/bichonfrise.htm
As for a firearm I have a 20 ga Remington model 870. It does not have a long barrell, its light weight and easy to load and it is legal in all lower 48 states. If you carry a hand gun it can get you in trouble in certian states. Some states are not fond of you having one in your trailer and you must have it stored to meet their conditions.
Our German Shepherd Freya is a loving and loyal family pet, especially with the kids, and displays all the classic herding dog instincts of alertness and protection, usually limited to just an inquisitive barking/heads up. But when unknown strangers approach the house, she can get excited until she knows he/she isn't a threat to the pack. We fortunately have not yet been in a real threat situation, but I remember my childhood shepherds getting quite touchy when even the neighborhood bully pushed me around once; let's just say the bully was sent scrambling onto a car parked on the street after some growling and bared teeth.
Some considerations for a shepherd or other large breed:
- they can be large (ours comes out of German working lines, average bitch at about 70 lbs) and intimidating to non-dog or non-working dog people, especially owners of "yapee-doo" breeds. Even harmless "heads up" barking, especially the excited kind to other dogs, could lead to complaints in the campground and unpleasantries;
- they shed A LOT; be prepared for battling dog hair in the trailer;
- very importantly, many breeds including shepherds, do NOT do well in the sun/heat. I'd imagine that unless it is plugged in or running generators and air conditioned, your AS could get very hot in the sun, and leaving your dog, especially a double-coated dog like a GSD, in there is going to be dangerous. I say this in case leaving your dog behind in the trailer for guard duty is something you're considering.
In general, GSDs are superb family and protection animals, wonderful companions on the road. Be sure to find a reputable breeder, there's a lot of overbred and problematic GSDs out there with twitchy personalities and bad hips.
Do not forget the obvious. If you get a dog that is precieved as an agressive dog you should seriously consider a Liability Insurance. Many times you could be in crowed spaces with other peoples children and animals. One little mistake by your dog could cost you big money.
There are campgrounds that disallow specific breeds of dogs, who are historically or perceived to be aggressive, so keep that in mind. Some also disallow dogs over a certain weight.
I doubt you will need a dog for protection, really, if you travel and camp sanely and safely. They do provide companionship and, as others have said, can alert you to real (human) or perceived (raccoons, possum, deer) danger.
I would visit a shelter and look for a medium-to-small sized dog of good disposition. Staff should be able to guide you.
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No Gun No Dog ..............
Another alternative that is often used, especially at night, is lots of light. Be it male or female a good flashlight is always nice to have and if it comes with a little self defense thrown it so much the better. Note the scalloped edges on the front and rear. This thing will literally blind you on it's higher setting.
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I am a gun enthusiast but don't carry when traveling, more of a hobby. Don't ever ever purchase a gun if you 1) don't know how to use it 2) don't clean it 3) don't know how to break it down to clean 4) and please take lessons from certified instructors!!!
As for dogs, please don't own one if only for protection, they need companionship too. If you want a large breed, they may not do well if left alone all day in a trailer if you work.
If you need a gun and a guard dog, just where are you planning on going? There are many single women that travel by themselves...go on some of the other forums for women rving and get info from them.
Just my 2 cents...
I don't know what you want exactly but look at a Smith & Wesson 648 or 642 hammerless featherweight 38 special 5 shot revolver. Safe, reliable, easy to learn on and small compact for small frame persons. .... And there is the key to gun ownership - know your weapon, use it often, get training.
... and don't get a gun until you are well trained and reasonably proficient.
As an NRA Training Counselor and NM Concealed Carry Instructor, I teach more than 100 people how to shoot a pistol every year.
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I encourage my clients not to purchase any semiautomatic pistol or revolver until they have had proper training. Proper training includes test firing the huge variety of handguns out there. We try to own one of everything so our clients can see what really works for them.
Though I own and carry the S&W Model 642 Airweight that Clancy recommends, I find that few women like them and fewer can shoot them well. Because they are small and very light, they have a significant felt recoil when loaded with +P self-defense ammo as designed.
As usual, the Robert Cross Method (RCM) is sound. I suggest that single women advertise the presence of a dog and a man. Don't advertise the gun. It makes you a target. Nobody ever needs to know you have a gun.
Hope this helps.
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