Dogs also follow certain ‘guidelines’, or social etiquette, to greet each other, to be with each other, and to live with each other. Us as the owners need to understand and respect this ‘doggie etiquette’ and combine with our etiquette.
1. Dog walking etiquette on streets, beaches, in parks etc.
Pick up the poo! Seriously, not picking up poo is one of the biggest faux pas of dog owners. In my opinion, it’s one of the main reasons why dogs are not allowed in some places. It doesn’t take much effort to clean up. Just remember the poo bags … and please put it in a bin, don’t hang it on a tree branch! Have you ever sat on a beach, enjoying the sun, listening to the sound of the waves and all of the sudden a ball of wet fur runs towards you and shakes on your towel? So close that you don’t need another dip in a sea! In my opinion, it’s funny … in other people’s opinions, it’s not so funny. If your dog loves swimming and also loves greeting other people, you better keep him on a lead to avoid arguments, shouting or embarrassment.
2. Saying ‘hello’ to strangers.
It’s non-believable (to me) but there are some people who don’t like dogs. You and I don’t get it, but we have to respect it. And so do our dogs. And it is our responsibility not to let them sniff, lick, or jump on other people. It’s always better to assume that other people are not interested in our dog (really?!) and act accordingly.
3. Not every dog is friendly.
The same rule about greeting strangers applies to greeting other dogs. We have to respect other people and their dogs and understand that not every dog is friendly. So, if you have your dog off the lead and you see another dog on a lead, the best thing to do is to just call him back as you don’t know what might happen. This has happened to me so many times with my Kerry Blue, Kimi, who in her early age wasn’t a big fan of other dogs. So I would always keep her on a lead just in case. Normally, what would happen is we’d suddenly see a bouncy ball of fur heading towards us … me shouting, “please call your dog …”, the other owner shouting “he’s fine and friendly …”, me shouting “mine is not …”
4. Pubs, restaurants, and public transport.
I love taking my dogs to different places, to experience something new and exciting. A few weeks ago I took our then 7-month old Airedale, Richard, to Trentham Gardens to Rawr café. I didn’t know how Richard would react to his first restaurant experience, so we first had a nice walk in the gardens, around the shops and then eventually we walked into the café. I was impressed with how confident and good he was. He gently wagged his tail, saying hi to the other people, without invading their space, and then when I sat down he checked the space around the table to lie down by my legs. He stayed there until I finished my latte and delicious slice of cake (read about Pet-friendly Shopping & Cake in Trentham Gardens here). Considering how hyper Richard can be, I was very impressed. He wasn’t in the waitress’ way, he wasn’t barking at other dogs or people, and it felt like he’d be a great ambassador of a well-behaved youngster! It’s always easier to go to places with a small dog, as you can pick him or her up, they can sit on your lap, or stay people watching from a bag. But where ever we are, whether it be in a café, pub, or train, we should make sure our dog doesn’t take too much space so other people are uncomfortable around us.
Do you have any other doggie etiquette guidance or tips to share? Do you agree or disagree with mine? I’d love to hear your viewpoint.