Dog Etiquette: How to Bring Your Pup Out in Public
Your dog is your pal, your best buddy, the companion who gives you unconditional love in exchange for food, water, shelter, and the chance to run around with a tennis ball in his mouth. They’re also our companions outside the home. We take them for walks and spend some quality outdoor time with them and other dogs (and people, too) at the dog park. What’s more, they’re welcome at many pet shops and stores, plus more employers are allowing their staff to bring their dogs to work with them.
But don’t think that your dog is immediately ready for some time at the dog park or out shopping with you. Some dogs are shy around people, and some have anxiety to the point that they are skittish even in their own backyard. While some love an afternoon at the local dog park, others will get hostile around other dogs. You may have the most gregarious pooch on the planet who thinks that everyone she sees is her friend and wants a big slurp on the face from her. When taking your dog out in public, keep in mind some basic dog-owner etiquette.
1. Walk Safely With a Good Collar
The first way to better socialize your dog is during her walks. How many times have you seen dogs out on a walk with their owners, straining their leashes as the owners try to pull them away from a yard or another person. The dog ends up gagging and coughing, and the owner can’t wait to get home. To prevent this, invest in a good collar that keeps a dog from gagging as she strains. This collar will also keep your dog close by as you walk, whether it’s in the neighborhood, at the dog park, or in a dog-friendly store. The gentle pull on the leash reminds her to stay close to you.
2. “No” Means No, and “Down” Means Down
The key to getting your dog to behave around strangers or other dogs, or even scurrying away at the sight of someone, is impulse control, and that also involves your collar, leash, and a handy bag of treats. If you’re out on a walk with your pup and he sees someone, he’ll want to lunge forward to make friends. That may be the best time to pull on his leash and say, “No.” When he relents, give him a little treat. When he looks like he’s going to plant his paws on the other person, say “Down” and pull on the leash. Once he’s down, slip him a treat. When someone visits your home and your dog gets excited, take him by the collar, say “No” (often if you have to), then give him a treat. Get him used to those two words. Adding “That’s a good dog” is helpful, too.
3. Have a Pack of Dog Essentials
You may be able to enjoy an afternoon out without something to drink or snack on, but your dog probably won’t. When you go out, be sure you have some essentials, including a small container of food, portable food and water bowls, some bottles of water, and, yes, the dog equivalent of a “diaper bag” containing a roll of waste bags, a cleaner, some paper towels, and, of course, some treats. Having one of these is especially essential if you’re going to take your dog to work with you. And while some of the larger pet stores already have items for cleanup if a pet has an accident, other non-pet stores most likely won’t.
As The Washington Post reports, dogs make us feel good, and we make them feel good. But as much as we love our pooches, we need to consider others. So next time you’re out with your pup, make sure to practice dog etiquette.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com