Owner and labrador retriever dog walking in the cityTaking your best fur friend for a stroll is a popular way to get fresh air and exercise. Dog walking is also an excuse to catch up on the latest neighborhood gossip or to make some new dog-crazy friends.

But, just as you decide to show off your little pom pal or giant mastiff, everything goes south. Your dog decides to bark continuously at all animals, real and imagined. Or, uh-oh, here comes that neighbor who hates it when your dog jumps on his slacks (and your dog just loves to do it). Or, “No, Patches, no!” – your dog inevitably chases the first cat he sees.

A big part of etiquette when it comes to energetic Eddie is being respectful of other people and their pets, as well as local wildlife and public properly.

Stepping Up to Your Dog Walking Etiquette

Before you step out the door with doggy, here are some suggestions to make that dog walk great for all.

The skills your pet needs – One of the fundamental elements to successfully walking your dog is training. If you dog has never been socialized and has not learned some basic commands, how will he know how to behave or respond to you?

Untrained dogs are often more likely to respond negatively to new sights, sounds, people, and other animals. Until you know your companion is adept in navigating commands, walking on a leash, and being presented with other animals, plan on getting him signed up for professional classes and some practice runs before greeting the world.

It’s all about the leash – Speaking of leashes, it is important to keep your pooch on the leash unless you are in designated off-leash areas, like a dog park. In most public spots, the rules require your dog to be leashed. And, there are no exceptions for well-trained canines (don’t worry- you can always go for a hike in a natural area, where off-leash is allowed, or frolic and a large off-leash park).

It may seem restrictive, but it is an essential for the safety of your pet and others.

Minding the Mess – Ah, yes…this not only means bringing plastic or biodegradable baggies for those times when “nature calls” to your four-legged friend, it also means ensuring he’s not knocking over a garbage can, lawn chair, or digging up the neighbor’s tulips.

Always clean up after your dog.

Minding Your Manners – Another common stumbling block to being an etiquette expert is assuming that everybody loves your dog. This lends itself to allowing that adorable wagster to slobber, jump on, or demand the affection from other people who may not appreciate these gestures.

This insistence also makes it hard for other pet owners, who need to keep their pet distanced from others.

To maintain your manners, always ask if it is OK to approach a person or another’s pet with your furry one. And, if your dog gets a little overbearing, redirect him to your cuddles and attention instead.

Dog walking can be especially enjoyable for amiable dogs and their owners. With a little bit of etiquette, you can keep this favorite activity safe and worthwhile for everyone.

Have a great walk!