Dog walking etiquette

(42 Posts)
CatUnderTheStairs Fri 24-Jan-20 08:05:07’s a long time since we’ve owned a dog. 8 week Puppy arriving v soon.

What’s the etiquette when she’s had he4 vaccines and can go out and walk.

In off leash places do I let her off and if she goes up to an on lead do* do I call her back?

If on lead walking how long do you let them say hello for before moving on.

I read you aren’t supposed to let them play when on lead.

If both of lead and playing do you only do this if recall is good, which I imagine will take a while.

We’ve got beaches and glens and when she’s bigger we’ll want to let her off. But walking friends bouncy retriever puppy off lead on the beach shed bound up to any dog off lead and that didn’t always seem welcomed. If dog was on lead we’d keep her away.

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bumpysleighridejack Fri 24-Jan-20 08:16:52

Ok first of all a puppy won't need walks to begin with, it can be bad for their joints to have too much exercise so young and you can't take them anywhere with other dogs until vaccinations are done. Then you need to go to dog classes for socialisation and to learn recall etc. Then in a few months time you can start slowly letting them off the lead in enclosed places. In terms of other dogs just read the body language of the dog and owner to work out if that dog wants to play or not. For reference 1 on lead and 1 off is usually a bad idea. Good luck and enjoy your new puppy! Don't forget to be firm even though they're super cute!

BetterEatCheese Fri 24-Jan-20 08:19:57

Just be mindful of other people. I can't bear it when off lead dogs come bounding over to my on lead dog and then the owners can't get them back. Please also never shout 'don't worry, he's friendly!' People don't care, they still don't want your dog bounding up to their child/dog/picnic

okiedokieme Fri 24-Jan-20 08:22:51

You need to get to work on recall immediately they are vaccinated - best advice we had was to let ddog off the lead whilst he was still wanting to stay near us. Train, train, train! I recall if a dog looks uncomfortable, taught him not to approach on lead dogs and if both are on lead it's sniff and move on. He's actually pretty antisocial, it's his breed, he prefers balls and I swear he's autistic!!! But he's super obedient

OriginalTaste Fri 24-Jan-20 08:41:17

Definitely don't let or encourage her to go off lead to dogs on lead - do not let her off lead unless you are 100% certain that, whatever the distraction, she will return to you.
Our old boy has been attacked three times by off lead dogs while he's been on the lead, he has a permanently ripped ear to show for it and has ended up on my partners shoulder on numerous occasions (he's 30kg!) - the thing is, we don't really know if a dog is 'friendly' until it would be too late to do anything if it wasn't, so we're always super cautious.
If both dogs are on led and want to say hello, and the other owner seems ok with it (you can tell if they're not!) then that's fine, but keep the lead short just in case any over excitement is misread as aggression!
Enjoy your pup! What breed is she?

RubySunset Fri 24-Jan-20 08:45:55

Yep. I would agree they need to be off lead early and often. As soon as they are vaccinated, really. Obviously in safe spaces.

They will stick to you like glue, reward them for doing so and play little recall games. It sets them up for success later when they are older.

RubySunset Fri 24-Jan-20 08:48:52

Oh and playing with strange dogs is more trouble than it's worth, imo.

On or off lead I aim for my dog to keep to himself and mostly ignore other dogs. On lead greetings are 3 or 4 seconds then walk on.

He gets dog playtime with dogs he knows well.


LimitIsUp Fri 24-Jan-20 09:07:44

What breed do you have okiedokieme?

Op - as others have said, when you see a dog on a lead put yours on a lead

Also be careful, a good proportion of adult dogs don't like puppies and can be snappy and irritable with them. If you are going to let your puppy approach an off lead dog I would first ask the owner how their dog is with puppies

UnexpectedItemInTheShaggingAre Fri 24-Jan-20 09:15:30

If you see a dog on a lead, put your dog on the lead. Never let your off lead dog approach an on lead dog unless you know them well. It triggers the fight flight thing, and if the on lead dog can’t fly (they’re on a lead) your puppy might get a telling off and that’s on you.

DogInATent Fri 24-Jan-20 09:26:40

Etiquette is for you to recall you off-lead dog before it runs up to an on-lead dog. If you allow your dog to approach an on-lead dog you accept responsibility for the outcome.

If you use the regular dog walking areas you'll soon get to know which dogs she can approach and which she shouldn't, she'll soon learn too if she tries to approach the wrong dogs!

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Fri 24-Jan-20 14:35:33

I'm another one who lets the puppy off as soon as it is vaccinated to start work on recall.

But yes, get your pup to avoid on-lead dogs if you don't know them.

JanuaryIsNotTheOnlyMonth Fri 24-Jan-20 14:39:44

Please also never shout 'don't worry, he's friendly!'
Yes, I've more than once had to yell back 'But this one isn't, so please call yours back!'

(Not my dog but when walking my neighbours' worried rescue hound, who bites if bounced at.)

adaline Fri 24-Jan-20 15:44:04

Ours was off lead as soon as possible.

He's not allowed to approach on-lead dogs.
If both dogs are on-lead, it's a three second sniff and move on.
If a dog is off-lead and he is on lead and the owner isn't recalling their dog, I'll turn and walk in the other direction or distract the other dog somehow.

My biggest pet hate is "don't worry, he's friendly!" when my dog is clearly uncomfortable with the situation.

VetOnCall Fri 24-Jan-20 17:28:41

You need to start teaching recall in very low-distraction settings. You're setting the puppy up to fail (and potentially harass other dogs/get herself attacked) if you try to recall her when there are other dogs around. To succeed you need to teach and proof the behaviour gradually - starting with no distractions and gradually building it up.

You're on a hiding to nothing expecting a puppy to focus on you when there are other dogs running around etc. It'd be like taking a 6 year old kid to Disneyworld and expecting them to sit and do maths.

When I have a puppy I let them off the leash straight away, but only in areas where I know there are no other dogs, so I'm the most interesting thing for miles around and their focus stays on me (and the treats/toys that I carry and randomly produce to keep them on their toes and watching me to see what they might get next).

nearlyfinished1moreyear Fri 24-Jan-20 17:35:56

I agree with @vetoncall, I let my dogs off when they were able for walks in open fields and always carry a ball. My lurcher still runs off and does her own thing but as soon as I get to the end of the field comes running so she must watch me! My Bruno is very toy oriented and I use the word "stone" and he's straight back at me and looking for his toy.

You will get to read other dogs body language and know when to step in. I usually say "move" and my dogs carry on. Good luck with your new baby. I love puppies!

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Fri 24-Jan-20 21:40:51

I followed the advice to let my dog off the lead as soon as possible. He learnt that he was always safe as long as he could see me. Now he walks about a hundred yards ahead of me because he’s not afraid to. Across open fields, I should add, nobody else in sight. That backfired a bit. He’s absolutely no company on a walk at all.

He does have a rock solid recall though. Absolutely bomb proof. grin

CakeAndGin Fri 24-Jan-20 22:24:56

I would say don’t view lead walking as a punishment for you and be looking for the first opportunity to get them off-lead. If you don’t enjoy lead walking, your dog won’t enjoy either. That’s when you get people who will constantly walk their dogs off lead, that have no control but the dog and owner are less miserable (at the expense of everyone else).

Off-lead in a busy area only when you have decent control and can recall them from dogs on leads, walkers, runners, cyclists, children, cats... We walk ours off lead in a country park that is usually quite busy and will have all of the above going on. If a dog is on a lead, we tell her to leave it. If she isn’t listening to us that day (she is well trained but she has the odd rebellious day), she goes on her lead until we’ve passed. For cyclists and runners, we will recall her and get her to sit on the side of the path until the cyclist/runner has passed. I think it’s always better that the cyclist/runner sees that your dog is out of the way and under control, they know they aren’t going to be chased then. We started with recall at training, so a controlled environment with no distractions. We built up to off-lead in quiet areas such as fields and woods. Then up to busy areas with lots of distractions. We also recalled with balls, treats and praise rather than just relying on treats all the time. We inadvertently created a game where we would stand in a field and call recall her to each of us in turn. It’s still her favourite game, just running between us. She was probably 18 months before she continuously went off-lead at the country park. We’ll still stick her back on her lead if we’re passing a particularly stinky ditch because as good as she is, she has selective deafness when it comes to stinky ditches.

We started by walking our dog around the back garden on the lead. We also live on a busy road so she’s not allowed out of the front without her lead on, nor is she allowed to jump down from the car without her lead (and being told ok). So for us, our dog has associated the lead with being able to go somewhere fun, even if she’d prefer to be off-lead. We had a battle of wills for a while getting her to walk without pulling and I think that’s when most people cave because the dog will walk relatively close to them. We just just had to be more stubborn than her and now she walks beautifully on-lead and off-lead.

For when both dogs are on-lead, you allow a few seconds to sniff each other and say hello. If a dog is on a lead and has a harness that is yellow or red with wording that says anxious, nervous, aggressive, blind do not let your dog approach. That dog needs it’s space.

Sadly, not all owners of anxious or reactive dogs use the harnesses. So you need to watch for body language too. On-lead and off-lead. Far too many owners of reactive dogs will allow their dog to walk off lead, growling at passing dogs. You need to watch your dog as well as the other dog, separate the dogs if the body language is too excited or too apprehensive. You can do that by walking on. If the other dog is off-lead and following you, tell the owner to get their dog back.

If you’re in an area that requests leads on, say a nature reserve for example. Keep the lead on. This is usually to protect the ecology of the area that will be disturbed by a dog barrelling through. Or it’s because it’s a busy area and you need to respect other users too. You can still have some lovely walks with a dog on their lead.

Personal pet peeve - if a dog is training off-lead, don’t approach it on or off lead. We were in a country park in a little clearing off the path. It was busy and we knew people would be walking past but wanted to train with her. We hadn’t taken up the whole of the clearing so people could still use the space and take a shortcut through without disturbing us. We were training our dog and this was pretty obvious as she was sitting, looking at us and waiting for instruction which we were saying clealry. A woman allowed her off-lead dog to run off with our dogs retrieve article and another walked up to us with her on-lead dog and encouraged her dog to play with ours, even though hers was still on the lead. Had our dog been interested in playing, and she is really playful, we’d have let her play but she wanted to retrieve her articles. Unfortunately doing training with your dog on a walk is odd, so people investigate and generally cause a distraction.

From a lead point of view - you don’t want a retractable lead as you don’t have any control of your dog on one of those. People who let their dogs on retractable leads go up to an on-lead dog are the worse. In their eyes they think they’re being polite because their dog is on the lead but it’s still approaching a potentially reactive dog. Or a person who doesn’t like dogs.

BiteyShark Sat 25-Jan-20 06:19:19

I trained recall to a whistle from day 1 in the house then in the garden. When we let ours off at first we used a place that was quiet and where we could easily see him but he was in high grass so stuck to us like glue. Every single walk I have ever done with my dog involves recall training in some way. He gets called back for a play a few times.

Think about what you want to get out of early training. We started training a sit and stay. I go up and grab his collar, give him a stroke and then he gets a ball thrown for him (could be a treat or play). This got him used to a collar grab that doesn't mean the lead is going back on. Obviously a small puppy isn't going to do that from day one but you have to start somewhere.

For bikes, horse riders and runners, at first I put mine on a lead and moved him to the side and praised him. As he got older I used to do sit and stay on the lead. Then off lead. And now I call him and he walks or stays by me until they pass and then he gets a ball throw. Mine won't chase them but by calling him to me it gives the other person clear indication that he is under control when they pass.

For other dogs I am in the camp of never wanting mine to play with unknown dogs. Too much of a risk. If both off lead I walk mine away. As a puppy I would walk in places with lots of space so I could spot them before he did. For on lead dogs never let yours run up to them if off lead. As a puppy that meant on lead again but now it means he gets recalled to walk close.

Stellaris22 Sat 25-Jan-20 08:04:06

Good point earlier about being on lead etiquette. When mine is on lead and I am walking past anyone (dogs, adults, children) I always shorten the lead, or cross the road if it's very busy. Not everyone likes dogs and it's not fair to force dogs on people. I regularly see people with retractable leads just letting their dogs go up to children, some of whom are visibly scared.

Hodgeheg3 Sat 25-Jan-20 09:35:38

As the owner of an anxious rescue dog I’d echo the great advice you’ve been given above about not letting your puppy approach on lead dogs. The number of times someone has let their dog bound up to mine shouting ‘don’t worry s/he’s friendly and wants to play’ while my poor dog is shaking and terrified. We had a fortnight when my dog refused to go to the park after an encounter with an over-friendly french bulldog and a moronic owner who refused to call his dog away.

CatUnderTheStairs Sat 25-Jan-20 10:30:58

Thank you for all the advice. I think we were being thoughtless when walking friend’s v interested in other dogs golden retriever. He was young, goes to puppy day care and assumed every dog wanted to play. And the obviously don’t.

I am taking as the main messages, check with an owner before letting dogs play together, short greet on lead. And of course train in recall and keeping with us.

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mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Sat 25-Jan-20 19:16:55

I feel very sad when I meet the (thankfully few) people who do not let their dog interact with other dogs. There is one lady in the next road to mine who, from the moment she got her red setter puppy, announced that she was going to bring the dog up not to have any interaction with other dogs or humans. Some years have gone by and, thankfully, her dog is still showing a lively interest in all other dogs and also people (it hasn't given up hope!) and seems very sweet and friendly - I do believe the dog's owner is very fond of it just not so keen on anyone else! Sometimes mine passes it and gives it a sniff before it is rushed away. On the flip side of this I sometimes meet people with new puppies/dogs who ask if their dog can say hello to mine (she is quite laid back) and I am very glad to stop and let them meet. I believe that meeting other dogs is a highlight of most dogs' walks.

DogInATent Sat 25-Jan-20 20:44:45

Dog socialisation is more for the benefit of the owner than the dog. It's convenient for us if our dogs get along with other dogs. I doubt the dogs care much about it either way.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sat 25-Jan-20 21:01:21

It's convenient for us if our dogs get along with other dogs.
It's more than just convenient for us, it's safer for the dogs themselves. A poorly socialised dog which cannot read other dogs is likely to end up either biting or being bitten. Besides, many dogs get considerable pleasure out of playing with each other.

CatUnderTheStairs Sat 25-Jan-20 22:23:09

No I’ve seen lots of dogs playing who obviously get a lot out of it.

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