Dogs make our lives happier and healthier. They also help us connect to others in our communities and neighborhoods. Getting outside to take a walk with your dog is not only great exercise, it provides an opportunity to meet people. By following some simple rules of etiquette, you and your dog will be appreciated by others in your community by setting an example of what it means to be a good dog owner.
Alway keep your dog on her leash when walking in your neighborhood. It is both safer and responsible. Several things can happen while walking your dog. She could get startled and run away. Chances are quite high you will meet other people. Some people are afraid of dogs. Others do not wish to be approached and greeted by a strange dog regardless of how adorable he is. Therefore, it is always best to keep your dog leashed so he is safe and your neighbors are comfortable.
Be respectful of your neighbors’ yards. Lawn care is not only expensive, it is time consuming. There are some lawn chemicals not safe for dogs. Fertilizers can cause mild stomach upset for pets. Insecticides are harmful to pets and can even cause death. Dog pee kills lawns. Dog poop is harmful to the environment and may contain viruses, bacteria and parasites. It could also harbor harmful pathogens such as e coli, giardia, and salmonella. Remember children play in lawns and people walk across them. Do you know anyone who enjoys stepping in dog poop? Be responsible and always pick up your dog’s poop.
You are responsible for your dog and it is important to always pay attention to her behavior and interactions with people and other pets. Don’t allow your dog to jump on other people. Don’t let her get too close to other dogs until you are certain the interaction will be a friendly one. If an encounter with another person or dog is becoming unfriendly or uncomfortable, it is up to you to prevent it from escalating.
Dog walking is a fun way to interact with our neighbors, meet new people and perhaps discover other dog lovers. However, it is important to notice if another dog is eliminating. Some dogs get frustrated if another dog interrupts while he is trying to do his business. The interruption could cause the other dog owner to become somewhat annoyed especially if they are pressed for time. Be courteous and respectful of others. Try not to take it personally if another dog walker does not meet your eyes and continues on her way. Appreciate the fact you are outside with your dog doing something good for you and your dog. Both of you deserve an “Atta boy!” but only after that dog poop is safely bagged and disposed of.