There is no better way to exercise your dog than to head out on a walk. It is a great way for you and your pet to burn off a few calories, work some muscles and have a bonding session. But, there are some basic dog walking rules that you need to follow. Dog walking etiquette is something that many owners disregard. The best way to avoid this, and to avoid annoying other dog owners and walkers, is to follow these guidelines.
Five Rules Dog Walkers Should Abide By
1) Keep your pet on a leash wherever necessary
Your pet’s leash is one of the most important safety tools that you have while on a walk. Yet, many dog owners will say that their dog is a very good boy/girl off the leash and no trouble at all. You don’t want an incident on the roads or around vulnerable animals or children that proves that theory wrong. You also don’t want any fines or reprimands for ignoring local leash laws. Look up the laws for local parks, neighborhoods, beaches and other areas. Don’t ignore the signs.
2) Don’t allow your dog off their leash without appropriate training.
There will be areas that are perfectly happy to have well-trained dogs off the leash so they can run around. But, this doesn’t mean that every dog should get this privilege. No dog should be off the leash if you can’t call them back or keep them close by. They should have the obedience training necessary to stop and return to your side. The last thing you want is them running off after other dogs or down rabbit holes and ignoring you.
3) Dog walking etiquette applies to you as an owner too.
Don’t forget your responsibilities as a dog owner while you are out with your dog. You can’t leave it all up to your pet to be courteous with everyone they meet. They are going to want to make new friends with the people they meet. The way they do so depends on the way you train them and discipline them. One of the worst things you can say when your dog jumps up on a stranger is “don’t worry, he’s friendly”. The friendliness is a problem to those that don’t want muddy paw prints on their clothes, those that might be knocked back by larger animals, or those with a fear of dogs.
4) Don’t assume that all other dog’s want to be friends either.
Yes, it is cute when two dogs walk over to each other, have a sniff and a tail wag and go on with their walk. It is civil and there was consent on both sides. But, your dog could easily encounter a pup that isn’t so well socialized, that is scared of bigger animals, or that is dealing with an illness or injury. If the other dog seems uncomfortable you must call your dog back. Respect any wishes from other dog owners to keep your distance. Also, watch out for any yellow ribbons or vests that indicate that the dog may in training or might not be open to interactions.
5) Don’t push your dog too far.
Finally in these five rules for dog walkers, be aware that many owners expect too much from their pets on these walks. Not all breeds can handle big hikes in the country or 4 miles every day. You need an exercise plan that works for them. So, watch out for signs of illness and fatigue. Also, be extra careful in summer to avoid heatstroke and dehydration.