If you’re like most pet parents, you strive to help your dog master good manners, and sometimes we need a reminder of what constitutes proper dog owner etiquette. After all, little things like cleaning up after your pet and paying attention to him and his behavior go a long way.
Since you and your pup are a team, both ends of the leash should be mindful of how we interact with the world around us. Being a polite pet parent is the first step to having a polite pooch.
Follow these five dog walking rules to ensure you and your canine companion have a great time outdoors without any unwanted trouble. Who knows? You and your dog might end up making new friends along the way!
1. Always Clean Up After Your Pet
Don’t be “that person” who leaves their dog’s poop pile behind. Cleaning up after your pet isn’t just proper pet etiquette—it’s the law. Pet waste isn’t a fertilizer; according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it’s a pollutant that harms waterways and carries diseases that can be passed to humans.
To make sure you never forget poop bags when heading outdoors with your dog, hook the Frisco dog poop bags dispenser to your leash.
2. Implement a “No Jumping” Policy
We’ve all seen friendly canine ambassadors, the ones who run up to dogs and people alike ready to share their love. And while your dog jumping might be no big deal to you, it may not be something your neighbor or a bystander appreciates.
Teaching your dog not to jump on others shows what a good dog owner you are and what a well-behaved doggy you have. Plus, it prevents paw prints on pants or, worse yet, accidental knock-downs.
A quick way to prevent a jumpy greeting is to step on the midpoint of your dog’s leash. This provides him with enough slack to stand comfortably but not so much that he can complete a jump on an unsuspecting new friend. Click here for more tips on training your dog not to jump on people.
3. Put Down Your Phone
Your dog spends much of his time “reading the pee mail” when you’re outside together, so it might seem like a fine time to pop on your phone. But focusing on your phone means you can’t focus on your four-legged friend.
Whether you’re at the dog park or going for a stroll, your priority is keeping your dog and others safe. Being on your phone divides your attention and compromises your ability to act fast if something goes wrong. Plus, time outside with your pup is the perfect time to bond with him, so hang up and dial into your dog instead.
4. Know If Your Dog Likes Hanging With Other Dogs
Dog parks can be a fantastic place for burning off energy with like-minded friends. For some dogs, however, it can be extremely stressful, especially if they aren’t used to that environment or the park doesn’t have the right mix of well-socialized dogs.
If your dog doesn’t want to interact with canine friends or seems nervous, fearful or reactive around other pooches—watch your dog’s body language for subtle and obvious clues—then a busy dog park isn’t the right spot for him. Instead, opt for a yard hang-out with one canine friend, or skip the mingling and go for a buddy-free nature hike instead.
5. Be Mindful of Leash Laws
It’s a great big world out there, and your dog wants to take it all in. The safest and most polite way to do this is on leash. Unless you’re in a designated leash-free zone and your dog is fantastic at coming when called, always keep your dog on leash.
Even the best-trained dogs can get spooked by a loud noise or a stranger and take off. Plus, unleashed dogs who run up to other pups put both animals at risk. Not every dog appreciates unfamiliar canines up in his business. He might be recovering from an illness, nervous about an unexpected encounter while on leash or flat-out reactive with other dogs.
Keep in mind that letting your dog have the full length of an extendible leash can have similar consequences, so walk your pup on a manageable leash length—no more than 6 feet in a crowded public area—so everyone around you can keep the peace. A perfect leash for crowded areas is the Frisco solid nylon leash, which comes in 4-foot and 6-foot lengths.
From putting on your dog’s leash to putting down your phone, following these simple dog etiquette rules communicates that you are a good, caring dog owner. And you truly are.
Victoria Schade has been a dog trainer and writer for over seventeen years. Her dog duties have included working on Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl as the lead animal wrangler, appearing on two seasons of the Animal Planet show Faithful Friends, creating dog training content and appearing in videos for a variety of sources, and writing two dog training books, Bonding With Your Dog and Secrets of a Dog Trainer.
You can keep up with Victoria, Millie, the Smooth Brussels Griffon and Olive, the mixed breed dog, on her blog www.VictoriaSchade.com, on Twitter @VictoriaSchade or on Instagram, @LifeontheLeash.