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Pet Owner’s Guide to Public Etiquette

Dog Pierson on a Leash
Respecting Others will Encourage More Pet Friendly Places

As pet owners, we have a responsibility to take care of our furry pals. But if we want to take our dog for a walk in the neighborhood or to play in the park, we also have a responsibility to the public. Not everyone appreciates our dogs as much as we do. So in order for us to enjoy the social experience, there are a few points we need to remember.

KEEP ON A LEASH - Unless you are in a designated off-leash area, always keep your dog on a leash. If you are around a lot of people, keep the leash short. The extendable leashes are great when there are few people, but can be cumbersome in crowds. If you are walking your dog on the extendable leash, reign the dog in when passing by others. Some people are frightened of or strongly dislike dogs and may act defensively in response when your dog approaches them. Also, know your dog’s behavior. Avoid those things that you know he reacts negatively to whether it be children, other pets, or even noise. Adults generally know not to approach a dog without asking you first, but children may not. If you are not sure how your dog will behave around people or children, be especially attentive and prepared to pull your furry pal away from the situation. Even if you and your pet are in an off-leash area, always monitor his behavior. If you see your dog jumping on people or being a bully to other dogs, put him on a leash.

Keep Dogs Leashed for Their Protection and for the Safety of Others

MAINTAIN CONTROL - Controlling your dog while in public is very important. If you have a difficult time controlling him if he struggles against the leash, he could pull away and end up running into the street. Or he may chase an animal or jump on some unsuspecting adult or child. A pet that is difficult to control may need more training before going in public. To be able to control him in public you need to know how to control him at home. If you are not familiar with how to train your furry best friend, take him to obedience school. The teachers of those classes do not train your dog for you, rather they teach you how to understand and train him yourself.

AVOID PUBLIC BUILDINGS - Do not take your dog into public buildings unless they are specifically identified as pet friendly. This includes public park restrooms. Many buildings will have signs specifically prohibiting pets, but not having a sign does not automatically mean he is allowed inside. Pet owners need to remember that many people are allergic to animals. Taking him into an enclosed building could cause severe allergic reactions in people even after he has gone.

DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED - Do not leave your dog unattended in a public place, even if he is tied up or left in the car. Not only could this be considered illegal in some cities, but it could also be dangerous. The temperature on the inside of the car can get much hotter than the temperature outside. If he is tied up outside, he could get loose and inadvertently run into the street while trying to find you. He could also be frightened without you there to protect him and may try to bite someone. And whether he is inside the car or tied up, someone who does not like animals could be cruel to him and even hurt him. If your dog is friendly and approachable, someone could steal them.

SCOOP THAT POOP - Another important thing for pet owners to remember is to pick up after your dog. This is a very easy thing to do. Plastic grocery bags and dog waste bags are great for picking up little messes. Simply put your hand in the bag, pick up the mess, then turn the bag inside out over the mess. Tie it off and discard it in the nearest trash can. Your neighbors will appreciate it. People playing in parks will be grateful as well.

Dog Waste Bags and Dispenser

Practice pet etiquette every time you take your dog in public. Keep him on a leash and keep him under control. Don’t take him into places where he doesn’t belong and never leave him unattended. Be sure to pick up after your pet too. These practices not only help in making a public experience pleasant for everyone, but they keep him safe as well.

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