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Summer Doggie Etiquette Tips

Maybe you’re wondering why anyone would even need to be reminded to have good canine etiquette while walking a dog, but remember—some dog owners are newbies, and others just need a refresher.  If you’re a new pet owner, it’s important to review summer dog-walking etiquette tips before you head out to the park to enjoy the warm weather with your furry companion.  When you observe proper etiquette while walking your dog, people will be nicer to you and you may even enjoy access to more locations.  

·    Do use a dog leash while you are walking with your pet.  A retractable dog leash is a great choice since your pet can run ahead of you and enjoy the open space, but you still have control over how far.  Dogs can be trained to walk off-leash, but it is no small task to do it right, and the best reason to do it safety—so your dog knows how to deal with an unpredictable situation—and not because you plan to walk your dog everywhere without a leash.

·    Clean up after your dog.  It is not polite to leave your dog’s droppings in the grass or on the sidewalk.  They smell unpleasant, and people can step in them.  It is a form of litter to just keep walking, so use a plastic bag which can be sealed and throw the bag in a trash can when you are done with it.

·    Don’t let your dog wander into your neighbors’ yards or onto other private property.  Keep your dog on the sidewalk or on public park grounds.

·    Be circumspect when approaching other dog owners and their pets.  Some dogs are friendly, but others are hostile.  Also avoid bringing dog toys with you to the park, since other dogs will likely want to play with them too (or tear them to pieces).  Don’t intrude on other owners’ territory by rebuking or rewarding their pets.  Your pet is your prerogative, but other dogs are not.

·    If a restaurant allows you to bring your pet to the outdoor table and your waiter provides you with good service, leave a higher tip, at least 20%.

·    If you stay at a pet-friendly hotel, don’t assume that just because the hotel is pet-friendly that they don’t expect you to be friendly in return.  Don’t feed your pet in the hotel room, because it can be hard to get food out of the carpeting.  The bathroom is a much better place to do this.  If housekeeping is in your room while you and your pet are in there, put your dog in a crate.  Make sure you don’t allow your dog to tear the hotel room apart.  If you let your pet make a mess of your hotel room, the hotel may eventually change their policy toward pet owners—and you probably won’t be welcome back anymore.

·    Do make sure your pet is clean and well groomed before you take him out.  Others will react badly to a pet that looks like he is a mess or smells bad, and may assume that your pet is hostile (and possibly that you are too).  A well-groomed dog makes a much better impression, especially if you go out to eat or take your dog indoors at any point.

Summer is one of the best times to go out on walks with your dog to the dog park and other locations.  But it’s important to remember to your etiquette so that you can amicably share those public spaces with other pet owners and with people who do not own dogs.  When traveling and eating at restaurants, there are also unique etiquette rules to observe.  Both you and your dog will ultimately have more fun when you respect the rights of others to a clean and friendly environment.  Enjoy the summer weather with your canine friend!

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