Making sure our canine companions mind their manners at home and in public is our responsibility as pet parents. By observing these guidelines, you and your dog will avoid unsafe and unsavory situations.
The following tips offer basic principles for dog and owner etiquette.
- For the safety and security of your dog, neighbors and passersby, your unsupervised dog should always stay on your property. If your dog is left alone, keep him in a safe location where he can neither do harm nor be harmed.
- Encourage your dog to toilet in designated areas. If he leaves a mess on your neighbor’s lawn, clean it up right away.
- Do not allow your dog to bark uncontrollably at or jump on visitors.
- If your dog is a nuisance barker, keep him indoors when you’re not at home. If he barks when you are at home, learn ways to manage his barking to help you enjoy a quieter home.
- Keep your dog off of tables or countertops where food is prepared or served. Besides the risk of his getting sick from eating foods that are not good for him (such as chocolate), you run the risk of picking up germs his paws may have left behind.
- Keep your dog under control when outdoors by keeping him on a leash or under voice control. Even if your dog is off leash in an approved area, supervise his whereabouts and behavior at all times.
- Always supervise your dog when around children. If you are unable to watch him, put him in his crate or another safe place away from the children. Children are three times more likely than adults to be bitten by a dog (of any breed); kids under the age of 15 are the most at risk of being bitten.
- Pick up after your dog. Keep clean-up bags with you at all times for doggy messes, no matter where they occur.
- If you have a dog that drools, keep a towel handy to clean up his slobber on people or things.
- When meeting hikers or runners on a trail, step to the side to give them space to get by you.
- Make sure your dog is invited by the host before bringing him to a party, an outdoor gathering or even a picnic.
- Supervise greetings between your dog and another dog or a person:
- Even if your dog is very friendly, do not let him approach every person you meet. Not everyone likes or is comfortable with dogs.
- When meeting a stranger, avoid putting tension on the leash, which may put your dog on alert to be wary. Keep an eye on your dog’s body language, but stay relaxed.
- If a stranger wants to pet your dog, tell him to let your dog approach him, rather than having him approach your dog.
- If your dog seems uncomfortable with greeting another dog or person, never force the meeting. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Practicing proper dog etiquette is always appreciated by everyone you and your dog encounter. Not only does it make you and your dog look good, but neighbors and guests will more readily enjoy his company knowing you have your dog under control.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery County, northern Chester County and eastern Berks County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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