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Pet Happenings September 2012

Dog Walking Etiquette
by Kaye Davis of the Moab BARKery

Though the unspoken rules of dog walking are as common sense to many of us dog owners, there are, of course, some people who may be ignorant or actively choose not to follow the etiquette of dog walking. If one were to ask a “Miss Manners” of the dog world what the rules entail, here are five simple tips on dog walking that will make your neighborhood much more pleasant, for you, your neighbors (some of whom may not be as accepting of dogs and their behavior as the typical dog-lover), other dogs and, of course, your dog:

1) No Trespassing: When walking your pet, it is universally accepted as rude if you allow your dog to walk on people’s lawn, into their gardens, snack on their landscaping, or urinate on their mail boxes, garbage cans, or lawn decorations. Best to encourage them to eliminate on the sidewalk, on the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street or if you’re my dog on the street. Saffron likes to poop in the middle of the street and usually will do it when traffic is around!

2) Pick up the Poop!!! Obviously, dog walkers should be prepared, under all circumstances, with a plastic bag (or several) for picking up dog poop…and simply toting them isn’t enough: don’t forget to use it! I’ve seen dog walkers make an elaborate show of getting out their bag as someone goes by, and then stuffing it away, still empty, as soon as the other person is gone. It is unacceptable to leave the “poo to stew” anywhere, left on the trail or the street, it is still disgusting!
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3) Your dog might be friendly – but other people might not be: Does your dog want to say hello to everyone that passes, inspired to jog alongside runners, or chase down bicyclists? Not everyone may be as much of a dog lover as you are, and even if they are, they may be otherwise occupied, then again some people are just afraid of dogs. If a passerby is interested in your dog, you’ll know it. Best to assume that no one is as interested in your dog as you are, and act accordingly. Your objective on a walk should be: keep walking, calmly and purposefully, and not let your dog run your walk!

4) Other dogs might not be friendly either: Rule #3 also applies to other dogs. Do not assume that other dog walkers (or dogs) are as interested in socializing their dogs as you (or your dogs) might be. Not all dogs are as happy-go-lucky, social, or calm around other dogs as your dog may be. Best to ask the other owner: “Is your dog friendly” and gauge their response, and the dog’s responses. Make sure you have a hold of your leash, and also check to make sure the other dog walker seems in control of their dog as well to prevent any unfortunate encounters.

5) Best to keep the leash on: Even though you might feel confident in how good your dog is in their ability to walk calmly by your side off-leash and obey all of your verbal commands, their behavior could be unpredictable upon the unexpected nature of a given stimulus, such as a cat darting across the street, a tempting rabbit on a trail, a rushing car. The worst thing that could happen while walking a dog is to lose your dog. Even if you have the utmost confidence in your dog’s off-leash ability, make sure that you acquaint yourself with the leash laws in the area you will be walking; you do not want to get a ticket, or worse.

Pet parents hold a significant amount of responsibility in their hands, and every time you and your pet hit the street or the trails, you are both acting as ambassador for dogs, dog owners, and responsible behavior all round. As dog lovers would all agree the presence of all of the sweet, funny, quirky, silly, wise, protective, placid, loving dogs in our lives all contribute to enriching our neighborhoods, when they listen, of course! Now….who wants to go for a walk?!!

Humane Society of Moab Valley Adoption Day dates for September 2012

Moab BARKery Ad Moab BARKery website

To see past articles about animals, pets and their care check our archives.

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