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Whilst there are no written rules for walking your dog, there is some unwritten etiquette that helps all dogs and their owners live in harmony and avoid trouble. This is known as dog walking etiquette.
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, some you may not have thought about, especially if you are a first-time dog owner.
The article below will hopefully help you understand the simple unspoken rules, however, try and remember it is their walk.
Remember, some dogs need space.
This is quite an important rule to remember and that some dogs need their own space. This could be due to being elderly, reactive, anxious or simply not feeling well. It is, therefore, important to realise that not all dogs want to say hello to your friendly pup.
If the dog is wearing a yellow item or something similar, then this is a definite indicator that the dog needs space and invading this could lead to a fight. Similarly, it is important to respect the lead.
It is therefore important to keep your eyes open for dog owners that 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 as 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 simply 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 you are walking down the road. Yet when I am out on my daily dog walks, I can almost guarantee I will see someone waking on the road with the dog off 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 that they don’t know in their garden.
Therefore, it is important to make sure that your dog is on a lead 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 certainly responsibilities and duty of care come with owning a dog. One of the things as a responsible dog owner that you must do is deal with is 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 ad stepped ins something you shouldn’t and found it annoying? It takes a minute to pick it up and dispose of it n 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 that is hanging from the tree. Once you have bagged, dog walking etiquette is to take it to the nearest bin and dispose of it. If this is not possible, take the bag either 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 on the woods or field, and you spot a dog owner putting their dog on a lead, then please do the same. The chances are the owner is indicating to you that the dog needs may be scared or reactive and needs space.
If a dog is on the lead and your fur baby runs over to the 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 pk is something that could stop your dog from getting injured. If they are on the lead and the owner says it’s ok, then 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 just be large and boisterous and so a bit freighting to small dogs or puppies.
Whatever the reason they have put their dog on the lead, they are trying 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 at the 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 o beg for treats, then you may have to body block. This simply involves standing between the dog and whoever they are annoying.
Another method to st. op them jumping up or begging is to do some distraction games/exercises and make them work for their treats. Sending your dog to puppy training classes will help.
Keep a close eye on the play.
Dogs love to play, and why shouldn’t they. However, it is important to make sure that everyone (including doggy parents) are happy about the situation and that it is safe.
When it starts to get out of control or one of them gets too excited, it could lead to a conflict.
If you do notice your dog getting too boisterous towards the other dog, then please call them away to allow them to calm down. Suppose you start noticing your dog pinning the other dog down or nipping their ears or face, chasing, body slamming or starting to hump excessively. Then consider it time to stop play and move on so that the experience ends on a friendly note.
As a dog owner, we love to talk with the other dog owner whilst our pups play. This may be comparing notes if the dogs are similar breed. Talking about the weather etc. However, it is important to make sure you keep one eye on the dog. Early intervention, if they get too excited, will m all the difference to how it ends.
Certain breeds are very vocal and will start to bark from excitement as soon as 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 is going to 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 it is important to have 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 are looking 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 regards to dog walking etiquette. This article lists the ones, 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 but listed above are some of the most important.
Finally, avoid upsetting other dog owners and people in your neighbour. Always be polite, smile and treat people how you would like to be treated.
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