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Puppy/dog walking etiquette(17 Posts)
Our puppy’s arrival is imminent and I’ve realised that I don’t have much experience of the ‘rules’ of dog walking. Our old rescue girl had to be kept on lead as she was a flight risk. Would anyone kindly run me through the basics please?
When I walk my dog I always keep him on my left if the other person walking towards you walk with there dog on the left as well the dogs can’t generally get to each other
If you see a dog coming towards you and you feel anxious keep on walking , don’t stop and don’t pick up your puppy
If you keep walking any potential problem will be over in seconds as you pass the other dog
If you stop any potential problem will now have the potential to get ten times worse
If you pick up your puppy your telling him your anxious and stressed and they will pick up on that from you
When they are puppies they should only be walked (I think) for 5minutes per month of age.
As they get older you'll be able to work out on lead/off lead depending on her/his recall, behaviour, temperament etc.
If you're walking off-lead at the park and see an on-lead dog approaching, it's good manners to put your dog back on lead until the other dog passes. There are a whole load of reasons why a dog may be on lead, not just that it's unfriendly with other dogs, and it shows respect for other dog walkers. If an owner looks like they're making an effort to avoid you (perhaps crossing the road, or going in a different direction) please do not take offence There is a thing called the Yellow Dog UK - some dogs need space and will wear a bright yellow lead to signal this.
If another dog has a ball, toy or stick at the park, be sure that your dog doesn't attempt to pinch it. I personally don't use balls at the park as it just causes a whole host of problems (other dogs stealing them and running off with them, resource guarding) but you do have to be aware of other walkers that might use them. Some dogs can get very protective over their possessions, it's difficult to tell which ones resource guard and which do not, so it's wiser to just try and avoid them.
Be sure to teach your puppy that it's not okay to jump up at people, and that it will only get attention when all four paws are on the floor. Unfortunately there are a lot of well-meaning but counterproductive people at parks that want to give your dog fuss even while it is jumping all over them and this just reinforces your dog to jump up. It's also good manners not to give treats to other peoples' dogs, at least not without asking the owner if it's okay first. But generally it's not a good idea as it can encourage dogs to go begging to strangers and may damage that dog's recall.
And of course the obvious one - always clean up after your dog's poo! And while it's not required by law, if your dog is sick, it would also be nice if the owners cleared that up too (coming from someone whose dog likes to eat vomit 🤢)
I found the best thing was to just talk to other dog owners in person as you come across them. Most are very helpful, let your dog play with theirs and a wealth of info. I discovered a great enclosed dog training area and other places via local dog owners.
Go to puppy and then dog training classes. Preferably somebody who advocates positive reinforcement (you'll gay a feel for that if you ask them if they use clickers). They're a godsend, and the trainers are great to ask any niggling questions to!
My second dog will be coming soon and the one really important lesson I have learned from my existing dog is this:
You cannot trust other dog owners to accurately assess their dogs temperament and keep them under adequate control.
What they see as disinterest is often nervousness/avoidance, what they see as 'friendly' is often shocking rudeness and what they see as 'boisterous play' is often aggression.
Leash greetings are usually done head on which is an extremely confrontational posture and coupled with the restraint of the leash provokes aggressive reactions in a lot of dogs.
The outcome of this can be a dog that is uncomfortable around other dogs and gets aggressive to keep them away.
Believe me, this is a very difficult thing to fix.
New puppy will be walked a lot around other dogs but my aim is for him to be comfortable with the presence of other dogs but largely disinterested.
In other words, I'll be teaching him to ignore other dogs apart from the small number of adult dogs I already know who I know to be stable and friendly.
If you want to be able to go off lead, start them straight away (when they are allowed out after vaccination). Before that I held her and walked around so she got to see people, other dogs etc. We went to a big park and practiced recall with her favourite treats. Never had a problem with her. She always returns. She will happily play with other dogs and if I walk away, she will notice and follow me. The only thing we haven’t perfected is, if she sees people having a picnic she will run right up to them! So during summer if I see lots of people out w picnics I put her on the lead. I also keep her on lead sometimes when it’s really muddy and I want her to stick to the path. But she is happiest when off lead, so that is not done every day.
Train your dog to walk nicely on a lead and don't let them jump up at passers by. I also train mine to ignore other dogs in the main - this has taken a lot of work but he will now walk past other dogs and either ignore them completely, or give a polite sniff and move on with me. The breakthrough today was when we met another dog on lead and he did a perfect five second "sniff and greet" and moved on happily. It's taken me eighteen months of hard work to get him to that point though!
He has a set of doggy pals we meet up with on walks - but he's not just allowed to play with any dog he meets. I don't trust other owners to be a good judge of temperament - I've had a lot of experiences where people say "it's okay, he's friendly!" when in fact the dog is the total opposite. He plays with my SIL's dog (similar ages, play styles and temperament) but his best friend ever is an older terrier he meets at the park. He alters his behaviour completely and seems to know automatically that he has to be gentler as the other dog is smaller and older.
And the last piece of advice is that if you want your dog to go off lead, start letting them off ASAP!
Let your puppy off ASAP whilst they are still wanting to be near you and you can catch them, best advice my vet gave me. Put them back on the lead if they start to pester other dogs to play who aren't interested ( swear mine is autistic so not into being sociable). Try and be relaxed, dogs pick up on a nervous owner
Oh and train them not to jump up, it's so annoying getting muddy paws on you because a random dog jumps up. Recall recall recall!
Sorry to crash
But to the pp saying they've taught their dogs to be disinterested in other dogs - how exactly does one manage that...?
Mrwoofington mine doesn't want to play with other dogs out on a walk because I am far more interesting as I have a ball.
It took ages to work out what made mine tick and once I had established that engaging him in hunting (he is a spaniel) and chasing and hunting balls was fun it was obvious that it was more fun than wandering off in his own or other dogs. Without a ball he thinks I am boring and will look for something more interesting to do. So to be disinterested in dogs for us meant finding better things for him to do.
I’ve read all the above and yet... it all depends on the dog! Each one has its own personality and needs. Some can be off lead at times others never. You won’t know until the puppy is old enough to walk. Ask for advice again once it’s personality is known to you
OP realised I never replied to your question.
There are no 'rules' as you will find out but a lot of walkers who understand that not every dog wants to play, not every dog is friendly and that every dog is on a lead is usually for a good reason (reactive, illness, injury), tend to do the following if theirs is off lead:-
If a dog is on lead in any area and yours isn't and doesn't have solid recall then you put yours on lead until you have passed. Mine does have recall so what I do is make sure my dog is walking by my side and I change direction so it is obvious I have seen their dog and mine won't run to theirs and I make sure I give them lots of room so they can pass in a distance.
On another note I personally don't let my dog play with unknown dogs off lead as I have seen too many dog on dog injuries to know that not all dogs are nice even if their owner says they are. If a dog comes up to mine I walk in the opposite direction. Mine follows me. Before we had recall I would watch for other off lead dogs and give them a wide berth so they didn't meet. My dog plays with known dogs at daycare and training so it was just 'unknown' dogs that I did that with. Other people don't agree and think all dogs should play and sort out their own 'pecking' order. As I don't follow that rule I tend to stick to wild countryside where you tend to get mostly owners who aren't looking for other owners and dogs to socialise with. If a dog does comes to mine and they are just greeting nicely e.g. sniffing I do let that happen then I call my dog and walk off so it is just a brief hello.
As a puppy the key thing is to let them off lead as soon as possible as they will stick to you like glue (obviously in a safe place). Practice recall from a puppy. I used a whistle as well as coming back to my voice so that when he was older the whistle could cover lots of ground and also didn't express any emotion (worry/anger etc when they are rebelling as a teenage). Acme do good whistles. Use a good reward when they come back. It doesn't have to be food if they aren't good motivated. A toy that only comes out for recall can be just as good.
Thankyou for all the replies, they’ve been really helpful.