Dog walking etiquette for dog owners

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

We all know how uncomfortable it can feel when confronted by someone regarding something “naughty” your dog did. However, using some common sense and basic etiquette can help keep the peace/

Some of the rules below are very simple and easy to understand. However, you may not have thought about some, especially if you are a first-time dog owner.

The article below will hopefully help you understand the simple unspoken rules. However, try to remember it is their walk.

Remember, some dogs need space.

my-dog-is-friendly-its-ok-1024x1024 Dog walking etiquette for dog owners

This is quite an important rule; some dogs need their own space. This could be due to being elderly, reactive, anxious or simply not feeling well. It is, therefore, essential to realise that not all dogs want to say hello to your friendly pup.

It is, therefore, important to keep your eyes open for dog owners who have their dog on a  lead and try to pull off to one side or are wearing something yellow. Then, make sure you give them plenty of space and pass them quickly as you do not put the dog and owner under too much stress.

This is the same with children; not all kids know how to behave around dogs or may be scared of dogs. If you are in an area with lots of children, then put your dog on a lead until you have safely passed,

Keep your dog on a lead.

As well as being part of UK law, it is also good etiquette to keep your dog on the lead when walking down the road.   Yet, when I am out on my daily dog walks, I can almost guarantee I will see someone walking on the road with the dog off the lead.

Even the most well-behaved and trained dog could suddenly get spooked and bolt. As a result, this could put your dog and possibly other animals and people in danger. It can certainly be a pain for your neighbours. After all, no one wants a strange dog they don’t know in their garden.

Therefore, ensuring your dog is on a lead is important as you never know when something may catch their eye or spook them.

Clean up after your dog

Generally, most dog owners pick up after them. However, the one or two that don’t get others a bad name.

Remember, certain responsibilities and duties of care come with owning a dog. One of the things as a responsible dog owner you, must do is deal with picking up poop. Like humans’ dogs need to go; unlike humans, they cannot use a flushing toilet, so as the owner, it is up to you to pick up poo. I am sure you’ve walked down the road, stepped in something you shouldn’t, and found it annoying. It takes a minute to pick it up and dispose of it in a bin (any bin)

So as part of your dog walking checklist, make sure poo bags are included so you are prepared to clean up the mess/

It is important to remember that we don’t have a pooping bird in this country that collects the bag hanging from the tree. Once you have bagged it, dog walking etiquette is to take it to the nearest bin and dispose of it. If this is not possible, take the bag home and dispose of it. If this is not possible, then please take it home.

Hanging the bag from a tree is nearly as bad as it’s still littering

Do as others do

When you are out and about in the woods or field and spot a dog owner putting their dog on a lead, please do the same. The owner may indicate that the dog may be scared or reactive and needs space.

If a dog is on the lead and your fur baby runs over to them and gets attacked, It could be argued that it is your fault.

Going to puppy classes and teaching your dog to wait until you have checked with the owner that it is okay could stop your dog from getting injured. If they are on the lead and the owner says it’s okay, I suggest keeping to the 3-second rule until you know how they will behave.

Not all dog owners put their dogs on leads because they are anxious or reactive; they could be large, boisterous, and frightening to small dogs or puppies.

Whatever the reason they put their dog on the lead, they try their best to control their behaviour. It is only fair and common courtesy that you do the same. Call your dog and put him on the lead until you know the situation.

Do not let them jump.

No matter how much of a dog lover a person, maybe they don’t want a boisterous, bouncy dog jumping all the time. And if your dog is a foodie and detects food or treats on another person, this is a big no and can be a nuisance.

It is, therefore, important to teach your dog “off” so they know that this means all four feet should be firmly on the ground and awaiting instruction.

If your dog starts to beg for treats, you may have to body block. This involves standing between the dog and whoever they are annoying.

Another way to stop them from jumping up or begging is to do distraction games/exercises and make them work for their treats. Sending your dog to puppy training classes will help with dog walking etiquette.

Keep a close eye on the play.

Dogs love to play, and why shouldn’t they? However, it is important to ensure everyone (including doggy parents) is happy about the situation and safe.

It could lead to a conflict when it gets out of control or one of them gets too excited.

If you notice your dog getting too boisterous towards the other dog, please call them away to allow them to calm down. Suppose you start seeing your dog pinning the other dog down, nipping their ears or face, chasing, slamming, or beginning to hump excessively. Then consider it time to stop play and move on so that the experience ends on a friendly note.

As dog owners, we love to talk with the other dog owners whilst our pups play. This may be comparing notes if the dogs are similar breeds. Talking about the weather, etc. However, it is important to keep one eye on the dog. If they get too excited, early intervention will make all the difference in how it ends.

Minimise barking

Certain breeds are very vocal and bark from excitement when you step outside.

Does your dog bark at other dogs when out walking on the lead? Do they get excited and start barking when playing with dogs? It is important to remember that a barking dog, even out of excitement, can be scary to some people – especially young children.

Teaching your dog the ‘quiet’ command

Alternatively, using distraction is a great way to prevent barking. For example, if you know your dog will bark at a dog on the lead. Change directions and put a nice smelly treat under their nose. Once you have their attention, you could practice some basic training. This could be the sit,  down, sit, down, stand up or a simple touch. Finchley Dog Walker specialises in One to One walks for elderly, reactive, nervous dogs etc. If you think we can help, then get in touch.

Forget the phone

Whilst having a fully charged phone on you in case of emergencies, it is also important to leave it in your pocket. Remember, when out dog walking, it is their time, and they look for quality time with you. Use this time to strengthen your bond.

I am sure you appreciate that there are a lot of things to take into consideration with regard to dog walking etiquette. This article lists the ones that are, in my opinion, some of the most important. Essentially, pay attention, keep your eyes open and use common sense. The rules for dog parents to follow are some of the most important.

Finally, avoid upsetting other dog owners and people in your neighbourhood. Always be polite, smile, and treat people the way you want.

I hope you enjoyed this post on dog-walking etiquette. You may also be interested in the blog posts below.