Dog Walking Etiquette

I adore dogs! They greet you with happiness, unconditional love, and wagging tails every time you come home. Dogs are truly mankind’s best friend.

Why is it people give these wonderful animals such a bad reputation by allowing them to relieve themselves on neighbors’ lawns or not picking up after them in public places? In fact, as I write this post, a neighbor is allowing their dog to run around my yard while they stand in the street talking on their cell phone. (see the July 5 post on cell phone etiquette)

My mother called me on July 4th to tell me of her dog experience while taking the grandchildren out for ice cream. Everyone got their favorite cone and piled back into the car with the excitement children have when going out for such a treat. As the car started to back out of the parking spot, someone noticed a horrid smell. It was quickly discovered someone had stepped into a dog’s pile in the parking lot. The children started screaming and ice cream started rolling – along with the tears of losing the cones. The car was parked to retrieve the fallen cones and clean up the mess. As the door flew open for the occupants to escape – they stepped right into the same dog pile. I’ll spare you the further details.

All of this could have been avoided if the dog owner followed these etiquette rules:

1. Always walk your dog on a leash. Most municipalities have leash laws in place. You may know your dog may never hurt anyone, but a stranger doesn’t and can be extremely frightened. It may also save your dog’s life someday if they attempt to run excitedly into the path of a car.

2. Pick up after your dog. Carry a plastic bag with you. Just like trash – if you drop it – you pick it up.

3. Keep your dog on the sidewalk or on the side of the street. The neighbor’s yard or lawn is private property.

4. Do not allow your dog to sniff other people. No additional comments needed…

5. If you would like to approach and pet somone elses dog, ask the owner for permission. This is especially important if you have a small child with you. Some dogs may nip or bite at strangers or even at people they know should they become excited.

6. If your dog would like to greet another dog, ask the owner for permission. Not all dogs are friendly with other dogs.

7. When visiting public events or facilities, and even private residences, check in advance to see if pets are welcome.

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