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The Do’s and Dont’s of Dog Ownership Etiquette

Manners are everything, even for dogs who, let’s be honest, can be known for being a little over the top when it comes to socializing or going out on their daily walk. But you really don’t want to be known for owning a noisy or badly mannered pooch, so for harmony in your neighborhood, canine etiquette is everything. 

We’re not saying your dog needs to always be impeccably behaved but having the basics when it comes to going out in public, and even in your own home, are essential for all dog owners. To help, Petside outlines in this guide when good manners matter in our invaluable guide – The Dos and Don’ts of Dog Ownership Etiquette. 

The DO’s

Be consistent with your dog’s training

Spending time outside with your pet is one of the joys of being a dog owner but it needs to be both enjoyable and safe. Consistently training your pooch from an early age is one of the most important things you can do. It’s not just about having an obedient pet, although this is essential for their safety as well as others; training also creates a bond with your dog and keeps him engaged and stimulated. And that means he is less likely to misbehave as he knows who’s pack leader as well as his boundaries from the get-go. 

Socialize them from an early age

Another essential part of your dog’s training is socialization, as you want your dog to know how to behave around other dogs and people. A pup who is comfortable in a range of environments and with other dogs, will grow up to be a happy, sociable and well-mannered dog you can be happy to introduce others to. 

Always scoop that poop

One of the fundamentals of dog ownership is to always scoop that poop, with no exceptions. Failing to pick up your dog’s mess is not only anti-social but unhygienic, especially in public spaces as dog poop can contain nasties such as roundworm and toxocariasis. The solution is to always take poop bags everywhere you go with your dog, so you are always armed and ready to clean up their mess. 

Dog Walking Etiquette in the Neighborhood

Taking your canine companion for a stroll in the neighborhood? It’s about more than just exercise – it’s also a matter of community etiquette. Understanding how to navigate your local streets and parks is vital to ensuring that your neighbors, both dog owners and non-dog owners alike, can coexist harmoniously.

First and foremost, always be aware of your surroundings. This means avoiding loud conversations or being engrossed in your phone; instead, stay alert and attentive to your dog’s behavior. You never know when a squirrel, cat, or another enticing distraction might catch your dog’s eye! Next, respect the local rules. If there are designated dog-walking paths or dog-free zones, adhere to them. Also, be mindful of children playing or folks working in their yards – not everyone might be as thrilled to see your dog as you are.

Moreover, keeping a consistent walking routine can be beneficial. Your neighbors might get used to seeing you and your dog at a particular time, leading to fewer surprises and a sense of camaraderie among fellow dog walkers. Lastly, always have a friendly attitude, coupled with a smile or a nod. It can go a long way in building and maintaining a positive relationship with those around you. Remember, every walk you take is a reflection of not just your dog’s manners, but yours too!

Dog Etiquette When Visiting Family

Taking your furry friend along when visiting family can be a joyful experience, but it’s crucial to ensure it’s pleasant for everyone involved. After all, while your immediate household might be accustomed to your dog’s quirks and habits, your extended family may not share the same sentiments.

Before even setting foot in a family member’s home, it’s polite to ask if your dog is welcome. Some family members might have allergies, other pets, or simply might not feel comfortable having dogs around. Should you get the green light, upon arrival, ensure your dog doesn’t bound through the door uninvited. It’s a new environment, and a calm introduction is key. Pack your dog’s essentials like toys, food, and a familiar blanket or bed. This will help your dog feel at ease and decrease the chances of them seeking out and possibly destroying household items they shouldn’t.

Always supervise your pet, especially if there are children or other animals in the house. And be mindful of meal times. While your dog might be used to sitting by the table during dinner at your home, it’s best to have them settled in another room or in their designated area when the family sits down to eat. Lastly, remember to express gratitude. A small gesture, like a thank you note or a gesture of appreciation, can ensure that your dog remains a welcome guest during future visits.

Dog Park Etiquette

Dog parks are a fantastic place for our furry friends to let loose, socialize, and burn off energy. However, just like any communal space, there’s an unwritten code of conduct that all dog owners should follow. Firstly, always ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and is free from contagious conditions before allowing them to play. It’s crucial to supervise your pet closely, intervening promptly if play gets too rough or if any aggressive behavior arises. Equip yourself with poop bags and clean up after your dog immediately. Remember, the goal is to make the dog park a safe and enjoyable environment for all, so being attentive, proactive, and considerate will not only benefit your pup but everyone else’s as well.

Keep them under your control

An out of control dog, even if they’re friendly, is a dog etiquette no-no. Even if your dog is 100% safe and socialized, you can never be sure how another dog may react to your pet, or whether that person walking towards you in the park is nervous of dogs. Mastering your dog’s recall will take away some of the stress but you can never be sure what situation is just around the corner. So, if you’re in any doubt, popping your pooch back on the leash is the wisest option…and good dog owner manners. 

Give others space

While your dog may think the world revolves around them, it’s important you give others space when out walking your pet. Not everyone is a dog person and so being a little respectful on the sidewalk or park path by keeping your dog close to heel or stepping out of the way is the polite thing to do. The same applies to other dogs, and simply asking the other owner if they are happy for you to pass can help prevent an unwanted altercation. And don’t forget your dog’s own feelings too – their body language can tell you whether they are calm or anxious and will help you to predict their potential behavior. 

The DON’TS

Let them jump up at people

While your dog’s over-enthusiastic welcome home after the working day may be one of your favorite things, not everyone will appreciate them jumping up. And a dog that jumps onto another dog may well get a nasty surprise. Your dog needs to learn that jumping is not always appropriate and they should be taught to respect your ‘down’ command. Jumping, even in love and joy on behalf of your pooch, can be misinterpreted and they could be labelled misbehaved or even out of control. 

Allow them onto private property

You should never let your dog run onto private property, or where the signs tell you to keep to the public path. Not only is it disrespectful, but your dog could get hurt if the land is not safe, or they may indulge in anti-sociable behavior, such as chasing a cat or pooping on your neighbor’s lawn. If you know your dog is prone to wandering, or their recall response is patchy, then the answer is simple – keep your pet on their leash when near to private or out -of-boundaries land. 


Rush with dogs you don’t know

It doesn’t matter how friendly and well-trained your dog is, you should never rush to let them mix with unknown dogs until you know more about the other canines. Popping your dog back on their leash when you encounter other dogs, and a quick chat with their owner to check what their dog likes (and doesn’t like) is the safest – and politest – thing to do. And if you are told their dog is reactive or doesn’t want to play, then respect the owner’s wishes and carry on with your dog’s walk, there’ll be other dogs to play with, another day.  

Leave your dog alone 

And finally, when out in public with your dog, it’s your responsibility to keep them safe and not causing any trouble. You should know at any given moment, where your dog is, what they are doing and be confident in their ability to obey your command. Your pooch needs you to protect them against any situation that could cause them harm – whether that’s from an aggressive dog or a busy highway. And other people and their pets need to feel comfortable when your pooch is around. And this is ultimately the secret to dog ownership etiquette and ensuring your pet has the right reputation around your neighborhood. 

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