How to Be a Courteous Dog Walker

By Laurie Darroch

Dogs love to go for a walk and explore the world beyond their front door. It is a great way to get some exercise, work on obedience training and burn off excess dog energy. To make the experience pleasant for everyone, follow these basic etiquette guidelines for being a courteous dog walker.

Leash Up!

Even if your dog is very obedient and does not wander off without permission while you are on a walk, your city may have leash laws that do not allow a dog to roam freely. Respect those laws. They are there to protect you, your dog and others.

Dogs who love to go out associate the leash with a positive, fun experience and may get excited when they see you get it out before a walk. The leash will give you full control while on your walk and also keep your dog safe. Think of it as the equivalent of holding a small child’s hand.

If no leash is required, you should still follow the basic rules of dog walking etiquette.

Clean Up!

No one likes to step in surprises left behind by a dog. Bring along a disposable bag to pick up messes your dog makes along the walk. It is not someone else’s responsibility to clean up after your dog. Keep the mess cleaned up and keep the peace.

Many public parks and walking areas require that the messes get picked up. Do not let your dog make their mess in someone else’s yard on your walk, either.

Meeting and Greeting

Like humans, dogs often see an invasion of their personal space as uncomfortable or even threatening. If another dog and his owner are amenable to play and friendly interaction with your dog, then it is fine, but not everybody wants your dog in their business. Every dog is not necessarily going to get along with every other dog, or every human for that matter. Even normally gentle or friendly dogs may not get along. Not every human is comfortable around dogs, either. Respect the boundaries of other dogs and humans while on the walk with your dog.

Gardens and Private Property

Gardens and yards along the way are a feast of nasal delights for a dog. Stopping to sniff things while on a walk is a source of pleasure and interest for dogs, but the boundaries of private property, whether open or not, need to be respected. Dogs do not understand that tromping through a prized flower bed, or digging around a carefully tended yard is destructive or rude.

Your dog learns from your lessons what is permissible and where they should not go while you are out walking. Unless it is okay with the property owners along the way or allowed in public walking areas, keep your dog on the paths or sidewalks. There is plenty there for them to enjoy exploring.

Tips to Help

Take a few CANIDAE Pure Heaven treats with you on your walk to reward positive training efforts or reinforce something good your dog does on the walk. If you are going on a longer walk or the day is hot, bring water to keep your dog hydrated. Practice on shorter walks to begin with until they get used to following the rules of walking behavior.

Once you get into the routine of walking with your dog and bringing along any needed supplies, the basic courtesies of dog walking will become second nature to you and your dog. It is a part of responsible pet ownership, and people will definitely appreciate your efforts.

Top photo by aussiegall
Middle photo by Jim Pennucci
Bottom photo by RedagainPatti

Read more articles by Laurie Darroch

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