dog walking etiquette: my thoughts

Hello lovelies! I was inspired by Rover to write a post about dog walking etiquette. As you may (or may not be) aware, by dog is treated as if she is a child. Like a real human child. She has a seat belt harness for car rides, she has her own bed with a wooden frame, clothes, you name it.. she’s got it. So I figured why not put my two cents in about dog-walking.

Leashing
I personally do not leave the house for a walk unless Myla is on a leash. Not because she’s mean or would attack you (she’d go home with anyone if they’d rub her belly.. kind of concerning to me as a dog momma), but if she saw a rabbit or a squirrel or God forbid a snake, she’d be long gone and I wouldn’t be able to catch up to her. This girl may be 14 pounds and had hip surgery when she was six months old, but she can haul it when she really wants to. So, out of respect for others (and my own sanity) I keep her on a leash at all times when we’re out of our yard. For others leashing their own dogs, my opinion varies. If another dog has protective tendencies or isn’t friendly toward unfamiliar dogs, I would expect that they be leashed and walked by an owner who is capable of keeping them in line (for example, a six year old shouldn’t be walking a 70 pound dog who gets a little riled up around unfamiliar dogs, in my opinion). At the same time, some people work extremely hard to train their pups to listen to every command so they don’t have to deal with leashes and harnesses. I personally think that if your dog is up-to-snuff with their listening skills, leave them off a leash. My childhood dog was this way. She would wander very far ahead of us on our walks but would still listen to and obey every command we told her. She knew we were in charge. At the end of the day, safety is my number one priority: for all dogs involved, for the owners of each dogs, and for other people who are out for a stroll around the neighborhood. We should all be able to walk in peace!

Clean-Up Duty
This one is pretty simple. If it isn’t your personal lawn, you pick up the poop. I’ll be honest, sometimes I forget to grab a bag on my way out the door. However, please, please, please be respectful of others and go back later and pick it up. There’s nothing worse than going for a walk/jog and discovery a pile of doo-doo with your shoe.

Approaching Other Dogs and/or People
Now, my sweet girl Myla is one of the friendliest, outgoing dogs that I’ve ever known. If you so much as half-way look at her, she’s making her way towards you to give you some kisses (and maybe jump on you.. we’re working on it). For some people, that’s okay and even welcomed. Some people ask if they can pet her (always ask a dog owner if you can pet their dog first.. each dog has his or her own temperament), and I almost always allow them to unless we’re working on our ‘heel’ and I need her to remain focused. At the same time, not all dogs have that personality trait, and not all people are wanting to be approached by a strange dog. So no matter which end of the situation you’re on, approach with caution and use communication! If someone looks interested in petting your dog, ask! It might sound weird to say ‘would you like to pet my dog?’ but it’s better than allowing your dog to approach a person and having them yell and shout because they’re afraid of dogs. In addition, always ask another dog owner before allowing your dog to approach theirs. Like I said earlier, not all dogs enjoy the company of other dogs, and a puppy fight is the last thing anyone wants to deal with! Again, all this boils down to one thing.. safety.

My Thoughts on Labeled Leashes
I’ve noticed a recent trend going around where dogs’ leashes/harnesses/collars are labeled with words such as ‘friendly’ or ‘caution’ or ‘do not approach’ or ‘in training’. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this at first, but I’m totally on board. It cuts out some of the potentially uncomfortable communication about approaching another dog. If a leash says ‘do not approach’, well then no one has to waste any time and delay their walk by asking if the pups can say hi. At the same time, even if a leash says ‘friendly’ I would still urge you all to confirm with the dog owner that is it okay to approach. Like people, dogs have off days where they’re a little grumpier than normal.

Thanks all for reading my few thoughts on dog walking and some etiquette/tips that I think are important! Let me know what your personal tips and tricks are for smooth sailing while taking your pup(s) out for a walk or using dog walking services!

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