Dog walking etiquette
How much do you know about the ‘unspoken rules’ of dog walking? Whether you are a new owner or seasoned dog borrower, it’s time to brush up on your dog walking etiquette!
Scoop the poop!
If your dog does its business anywhere, you need to pick it up. Not only is it polite and helps keep your environment clean, but it is a health hazard to leave it. Dog faeces can spread parasites and disease to humans and other animals. So remember to pack the poo bags and keep an eye on your dog.
Does your dog have 100% recall? If not, experts recommend keeping your dog on the lead.
Whether it is a populated area, a busy dog park or even a rural field, be prepared to recall your dog at any moment. Not everyone likes dogs and may have a fear of them, so don’t presume and let your dog greet all humans and dogs without permission.
If you see another dog on a lead or an owner putting their dog on a lead then put your dog on their lead too. The other owner is essentially signalling to you that their dog is reactive or has another reason for needing to be on their lead including being scared, reactive, in training or recovering from an injury. If you do keep your dog off the lead, do not let your dog run up to them.
Remember, a dog on a lead doesn’t mean you need to ignore them completely either! Always greet the other dog walker with a simple smile or ‘hello’. You may then find they give you permission for your dogs once you have communicated.
Keep your dog’s favourite treats on you. This can be a great way to distract them and keep their focus on you when necessary as well as a reward for good behaviour!
If your dog doesn’t have 100% recall then it is highly recommended to put them on a long line lead. This isn’t an extendable lead, but rather a training lead where you can work on your recall whilst giving your pup a bit more freedom.
Follow their lead
There are other signs to keep an eye out for around other dog walkers. For example, a dog that has a yellow ribbon on its lead signals that the dog is in training, in season, unwell, is old and grumpy, recovering from an operation or nervous. It is good etiquette and also safer to give these dogs extra space and do your best to not frighten them.
Some dogs will have coats or collars that explicitly say ‘I need space’. For the reasons above, it is best to respect their needs and keep your dog on their lead and away from them.
Even if your dog is super friendly and would never hurt a fly, this doesn’t mean they should greet every dog. Keep an eye on your dog whenever they are around other dogs and humans to ensure they are safe and not behaving inappropriately.
Lastly, pay attention. If you are distracted and on your phone, you won’t see potential dangers and you may not be able to react quickly if a situation arises in which you need to step in. Dog walks can be a great break from your day to day life and a wonderful chance to bond with your pooch.
What are your personal dog walking top tips? Is there anything you do or expect from fellow dog walker’s when you’re out and about? Let us know!