What Are the Ground Rules of Dog Walking Etiquette?
Just as some people neglect teaching their kids good etiquette when they are out in public, some dog owners neglect to teach their dogs about good etiquette when they take their pups out for a walk. In fact, some dog owners fail to learn the simple ground rules of walking their dog for themselves, so how could they teach their dog?
But, being the responsible pet owner that you are, you want to learn how to walk your pooch courteously, so people don’t want to run across the street when they see you coming.
First, you have to realize not everyone loves your pooch as much as you do…they don’t like the sniffing, the kissing or the jumping…
Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.” – Bill Kelly
Your dog won’t be able to obey the rules of etiquette if he/she hasn’t been taught them, and it’s up to you to do the teaching, which means you have to understand the rules yourself. So here are some guidelines to help you and your pup be more popular in your neighborhood.
Do’s & Don’ts When Walking Your Dog
- Do use a leash and don’t let your dog run free unless you’re in an off leash park. Even though your dog may be well-trained, you never know when something is going to spook him/her and cause him to bolt away. Keeping your dog on a leash helps other people feel more comfortable and not anxious in his presence.
- Along with that, train your dog to walk close to you and don’t allow him to run or jump at people you may be passing.
- It’s also good manners to keep your dog off other people’s property, no one likes to see someone’s dog “taking care of business” on their lawn, in their flower beds or on their mail box pole.
- Carry “poop bags” whenever you go for a stroll…that’s your job! Not picking up after your dog is just plain rude and irritates people who want to use the same paths…they shouldn’t have to step around it, or worse yet, they shouldn’t have to step in it!
- Carry treats for you pup when you go on walks to reward and enforce good behavior.
- Do not allow your dog to bark at people, cats or other dogs. You can curb this by distracting Fido and getting his attention elsewhere. If he responds well, this is a good time to reinforce good behavior with a treat.
- If someone asks to pet your pup, be sure your dog is calm and show them how your dog prefers to be petted.
- Whenever possible, avoid unknown dogs.
- Watch for unleashed dogs…chances are these dogs are not well trained, and could be aggressive. One dog owner was out walking her Sheltie on a leash, when an unleashed, unknown dog spotted the Sheltie and instantly charged and attacked her dog. It was difficult to get the other dog off hers, who ended up wounded and traumatized.
Not everyone will practice good etiquette when walking their dogs, but you can, and you and others around you will enjoy your walks more if both you and Fido use good manners.
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