Hey guys! This weeks blog is all about dog walking etiquette! As many of you know, I have a year and a half old chiweenie pup that is super energetic and goes with me practically everywhere! I was prompted to write this blog after I was urged by Rover.com (more about this company below!) to give my input on how I walk my little Rudy! Since I am doggy obsessed I agreed to contribute and below are the tips I use everyday 🙂 I truly hope they help you all!!
Walking on trails with your dog
Rudy LOVES to run after bikes. Not only can this be dangerous but it also can appear as aggressive behavior. The best way I have found to combat Rudy’s urge to run is to ask him to sit when I see a bike approaching. I squat down with him while we wait for the bike to go by and pet him to encourage him to sit still. After the bike goes by I will either give him a treat (if I have any on hand) or tell him “good boy!” and we will keep walking. This usually does the trick and can be a nice break if you are going on a long walk!
I have very mixed feeling about seeing an owner walking with their dog off leash. For a good rule of thumb, I would not recommend having your dog off leash on trails. In most parks this is not even allowed but inevitably someone will break the rules. Some dogs are very well trained and listen to their owners to stay close and not run at other dogs and people but even the best trained dogs can be unpredictable. It is not safe to assume that everyone you pass on your walk will be a dog lover and they may be frightened by the sight of your dog off it’s leash. There may also be other dogs walking the trail that are not dog friendly which could start a fight. To keep yourself and your pup safe, I would recommend always keeping your dog on their leash!
Feel free to encourage playing and running when it is just you and your dog. Rudy and I both enjoy running when no one else is in sight on the trails by my apartment. Sometimes we even go off trail and into the streams and follow deer tracks. On days when it is just Rudy and I, I tend to let Rudy lead, which is makes every walk different and enjoyable for you and your pup!
Walking in the city or on busy streets
It is imperative to keep your dog on a short leash when walking by busy streets. Dogs sometimes have a tendency to run sporadically into the road and cars/bikes/buses are not expecting to slam on their brakes for a rouge dog in their path. To keep both your dog and others safe make sure that your dog only has enough slack to walk by your side comfortably.
As mentioned earlier, most dogs don’t understand the dangers of walking near a busy road. I try to always make sure that I am walking closest to the street and that Rudy is on the other side of me, away from the road. This means that if he does decide to bolt into the road that he will have to cross me and will not be able to make it into the street easily.
Sometimes sidewalks can become very clustered with pedestrians and other dogs. For the most part I continue to keep Rudy’s leash short and have him walking on the side of me that is farthest away from the road. However, if sidewalk traffic starts becoming too overwhelming I will pick up Rudy and hold him until things calm down. I know not everyone can pick up their dogs but since Rudy is so short to the ground I do worry about him getting caught up under someone’s unsuspecting feet. Bigger dogs are more easily seen and can navigate crowds easier but if you start to feel too overwhelmed you can always pull your dog over to the side of the road and wait it out!
Dog Park Etiquette
Do not assume that all dogs at the dog park are friendly. A common misconception about the dog park is that all dogs there are going to be nice and receptive to both humans and other dogs. While most people do bring dogs that get along great with others, some people do bring their more aggressive pets. Always ask before petting or letting your dog play with another dog. It is important to keep your dogs on a leash if the owner is not sure of how the interaction will go to make sure that you will be able to easily pull your dog away in case of an emergency.
Ease your dog into the dog park. Because Rudy is so small (about 7 pounds) I always try to go to dog parks that have an area for small dogs to play. However, sometimes there are no dogs in the small dog designated area and Rudy will cry the entire time wanting to be with the dogs on the other side of the fence. If this is the case, I make sure to ask the owners of the larger dogs how their dogs do with smaller dogs. If they say they do well with all dogs, I will take Rudy over to their side and let them play. Sometimes an owner will even be willing to bring their dog over to the smaller dog area so that Rudy will have a companion. I know it is tempting, but even if one owner says their dog does not do well with smaller dogs, please never put your dog in a potentially dangerous situation. Instead opt for playing fetch or chase or even going for a walk around the park. There are many ways to tire your dog out and it is always good to get in your exercise as well!
Thank you for reading up on my dog walking tips! I would love to hear yours in the comments below! And lastly, if you are looking for a trusty dog walker in your area check out Rover’s dog walking services where they have thousands of trusty locals that can help you out in a pinch!