Dog Owners and Etiquette

(36 Posts)
IVFNewbie Thu 27-Aug-20 12:50:25

Hi! We are quite new to dog ownership. What is the accepted behaviour for when you meet other dogs when out for a walk? Do you let the dogs sniff each other? play with each other? Or generally ask the owner first?

OP’s posts: |
Bergerdog Thu 27-Aug-20 13:46:44

Personally I don’t allow my dogs to socialise with any dogs we meet outside.
I would allow them to play on organised play dates or walks, for example if I meet a friend for a walk but never a dog I don’t know that we just come across.

I’ve spoken to my trainers extensively on this but it’s mainly because it’s hard for dogs to differentiate being allowed to play and not. I don’t want my dogs to run up to other dogs and play with them straight off or any number of reasons, maybe the other dog isn’t friendly etc. I feel like if they never learn this behaviour it’s easier than trying to teach them to stop doing it. From day one I teach recall, treat, lead, walk past and ignore and then they are allowed off lead again. As a result I have never had an incident of my dog/s approaching another dog for any reason- they know it’s not an option and don’t see dogs being walked as any source of play or fun.

Also my walks are for training as well as enjoying. I want my dogs to see me as the source of fun, not other dogs. My dogs think I’m more fun than that dog in the horizon and so choose to stay grin

Finally, I’ve had incidences in the past where dogs have been hurt or bitten by other dogs and as mine are very big I don’t want someone blaming mine if something goes wrong. People are quick to blame someone else!
Everyone has a different opinion on it but personally I don’t think mine suffer at all from not running off with random dogs. They socialise in a controlled manner, with friends dogs I know are friendly and well mannered or at training classes and also eachother which I think is enough! Most dogs I come across outside are rude and have no idea of dog etiquette as they have never been taught! Running up to dogs and leaping at them to play is plain rude and not friendly at all.

I also don’t bother with lead greetings. They can increase tension as neither dog can escape and face to face greetings can be confrontational. A quick hello to both human and dog is enough!

I know I sound like a misery but I wish someone had told me this 20 years ago!

BackwardsGoing Thu 27-Aug-20 14:05:51

I'm the polar opposite to @Bergerdog grin so this might not be that helpful.

I'm happy for my dog to be off lead (where appropriate) and for any dog to say hello. Occasionally there are scuffles as they misinterpret each other but hey, that's part of their life and learning.

In fairness my dog has perfect recall (nothing to do with me, he's just built that way) and isn't very interested in playing with others. I dog-sat a border terrier pup for a few days who couldn't be trusted to play nicely so I was much stricter with him.

Bergerdog Thu 27-Aug-20 14:13:33

@BackwardsGoing it would be boring if we were all the same grin

In fairness my dogs are on average 60-70kgs each. People are usually very unimpressed by a giant approaching even friendly, happy ones. God forbid my German Shepherd ever looked at a dog either...she has people scooping up fluffies and running before she’s turned her head, poor girl grin. Mine wrestle together but I think anything even half the size would be squashed flat by accident.

BackwardsGoing Thu 27-Aug-20 14:16:54

You know I'm going to have to see a picture of your dogs now don't you? They sound fabulous, I love big dogs.

I think it's sensible for big breed owners to be more circumspect. Although that border terrier pup I mentioned was a horror! (He's calmed right down now he's passed 2 and is absolutely adorable)

goodwinter Thu 27-Aug-20 14:20:11

Please ask first! My number one plea would be to put your dog on a lead if you see an off-lead dog approaching, or at least be 100% confident that your dog won't run up to a dog on a lead without you checking that it's ok first.

I'm generally happy for my (on-lead) dog to stop and have a very quick sniff, but not always, and unfortunately a large number of owners just don't seem to care what their dog is up to and who they might be bothering. It really ruins our day sometimes.

goodwinter Thu 27-Aug-20 14:21:44

Ugh, sorry, that should be if you see an ON-LEAD dog approaching!


Crocky Thu 27-Aug-20 14:33:58

I have a very anxious German shepherd. We are working on training and getting her to ignore other dogs on walks. She was bitten by an off lead large breed dog a few months ago and needed treatment. She hates any dog getting close.
Please check very clearly with any owners before approaching.

Spidey66 Thu 27-Aug-20 14:56:45


I'm the polar opposite to @Bergerdog grin so this might not be that helpful.

I'm happy for my dog to be off lead (where appropriate) and for any dog to say hello. Occasionally there are scuffles as they misinterpret each other but hey, that's part of their life and learning.

In fairness my dog has perfect recall (nothing to do with me, he's just built that way) and isn't very interested in playing with others. I dog-sat a border terrier pup for a few days who couldn't be trusted to play nicely so I was much stricter with him.

I'm much the same. Mine usually likes playing with other dogs, though a bit less now she's older-shes 18 months now so lost a bit of her playfulness.

AmberShadesofGold Thu 27-Aug-20 15:07:02

I agree with Bergerdog. Social greetings on walks are not needed and can sometimes cause issues in dogs who find them more rewarding than listening to their owners. It is far easier to be strict to start and relax this rule once you have an adult dog and can judge how they behave, than to undo puppyhood experiences of funtimes running off with another dog and ignoring your recall.

On lead dogs should always be left alone, unless the owner indicates otherwise. There are lots of reasons dogs are on lead, and all require them to be left in peace. A friendly dog that approaches oan on lead dog and causes a reaction from them can set back reactivity training. Ditto if someone is trying to train their dog to leave others alone, a friendly dog providing the unintentional "reward" of play can undo this. A friendly dog that bumps an injured dog can set recovery and healing back.

Off lead dogs are fairer game but you should always have the ability to recall your dog away from them so if this isn't in place then clip them on a lead.

Is my take, anyway.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Thu 27-Aug-20 15:26:32

Meeting other dogs, playing, sniffing and mooching around with other dogs is part of the fun of being a dog. I wouldn't choose to deprive my dog of that fun. I always think that one of the purest pleasures of dog ownership is watching them rough and tumble with a dog friend in a park.

I almost always walk DDog in busy city parks where there are lots of other dogs, and you'd have to be a loon to walk a dog-hating dog there. My general rule of thumb is that
a) if the dog is off lead it's usually friendly
b) if the dog is on lead, look closer. If the owner continues marching towards you and your dog, it's probably on lead because it has crap recall. If in doubt, avoid, or shout "is your dog friendly?"
c) if the other dog's owner looks like they're trying to avoid you, then there's probably a reason, which applies whether the other dog is on or off lead. For instance, my dog has a couple of breeds he hates with a passion, so we're going to give them a wide berth!

Personally I try to avoid greetings when my own dog is on lead as they can't express normal body language, and the fight/flight balance is tipped because they know they can't run away.

It's also worth reading up on dog body language, and what constitutes healthy play in dogs (reciprocity and balance being a big one!). Learning to recognise the difference between a play growl and a proper growl. Knowing that mouthing at each others faces is a normal part of play for a young dog. Learning to recognise when either your dog or the other dog is starting to feel uncomfortable and ending the play session if you notice this happening.

An occasional telling off is a normal part of a dog learning to interact with other dogs. It's one dog telling another to mind its manners, and that they're being over the top (and probably ignoring some "I'm not interested" signals from the other dog). Telling off shouldn't involve a bite; it can be as simple as a growl, or a no-contact snap.

I started off with an undersocialised 14 month old (and to be honest, not much idea what I was doing at the time!). Having let him prat about in the park with other dogs to his heart's content, he's actually got really good doggy manners now because he's had the opportunity to learn. He's far from perfect in other ways, but off lead in the park with other dogs he's very reliable.

Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Thu 27-Aug-20 17:58:39

I bought a puppy from my cousin which lives in Utah for 5 months ago. I paid $2200 inclusive transport. She came to Sweden(where I live) to work summer season and took the puppy with her to me.
She gave me a pedigree kennel paper and told me to wait before I register the puppy in my name, and there's wasn't any ownership transfer signature to my name. The paper havn't any value. I confronted her few days ago and she gets furious and told me I didn't paid for the puppy. My husband send her a $1000 check and transfer $1000 more, then I transfer $220 more for the transport.
I figured she doesn't have any licence to run a dog breed kennel and that's why can't signe the ownership transfer papers.
I have the puppy's vaccination card, passport, vet inspection and other papers on him.
I would like to report her for been running a illegally dog breed kennel but don't know where? Also would be thankful if someone have any experience on how to own your own puppy? How do I do?
Truly thankful for any answers

pigsDOfly Thu 27-Aug-20 18:02:18

My dog 's very picky who she says hello to.

She's small and will only willing greet other small dog's when she and they are both on the lead.

If she shows any inclination to greet a dog I will ask the owner if it's all right to say hello before I let her near the other dog. Usually though, she just walks past other dogs in the street.

In the park when she's off lead she tends to ignore other dogs. I've always been more inclined to get her to focus on me when she was off lead in the park, particularly when she was younger because that's where we did a lot of our training.

She's had one or two 'friends' when she was young that she would play with when she happened to meet them but she seemed to make friends with like minded dogs and their play was always very civilised.

I'm not a great fan of some of the wild behaviour I've seen dogs allowed to display whilst playing in parks tbh.

minnieok Thu 27-Aug-20 18:14:32

Use your judgement, if it's a dog also showing interest in yours it's fine to allow socialising, if it's an elderly dog, on a lead or a border collie playing obsessively with a ball/stick, stay clear. Yes I have the later and he doesn't do playing with dogs and is fed up with being chased by badly trained cockerpoos. Always look at the other dogs body language, laying flat waiting for a ball is not an invitation to play.

Wolfiefan Thu 27-Aug-20 18:23:25

Mine do play. But not with all dogs. Nothing that’s on a lead. Not if the dog doesn’t want to play for any reason. Not if the owner isn’t happy. And unless it’s a dog we know well it’s just for a minute or two then we move on.

AlwaysLatte Thu 27-Aug-20 18:28:04

I let my dog sniff another dog if it seems the other owner is also ok with that. But you can tell by their body language, both dogs and owners, whether that's ok. Mines always on a lead except in the fields where we hardly ever meet another person.

AlwaysLatte Thu 27-Aug-20 18:32:09

I was particularly pissed off a couple of weeks ago when a dog off lead came bounding over to mine. She hates over enthusiastic, bouncy dogs and started getting distressed by the boisterous attention. The owner didn't call it off (chatting to a friend) and took their time even though I called three times to come and collect their dog. I wish leads were compulsory in communal areas!!

Stellaris22 Thu 27-Aug-20 18:40:44

I always ask first when meeting new dogs and if I see an on lead dog mine goes back on her lead till they've gone or said it's ok to greet. My dog is super friendly and gets upset if she can't say hello.

But I love seeing dogs play and mine gets huge enjoyment out of it, more socialisation the better and we love meeting and playing with new dogs.

Stellaris22 Thu 27-Aug-20 18:43:29

Where I am there is a friendly dog park and we've been going since she was a puppy. I definitely think mine has learned great doggy etiquette from the older dogs and seeing them play and tumble always makes me happy, it's so joyful.

Borderstotheleftofme Thu 27-Aug-20 18:57:37

I don’t allow any interaction.
We walk past at heel

nothingcanhurtmewithmyeyesshut Thu 27-Aug-20 19:01:51

Ask the owner first. Yours might be friendly but theirs may not and dogs should not be allowed to greet each other on lead unless they know each other. It makes them edgy and is a recipe for trouble. As is making them meet nose to nose. Its a challenge to the other dog. Greetings should be off lead and nose to bum and only if both dogs are loose in an area designated for them to play like field or dog park.

Borderstotheleftofme Thu 27-Aug-20 19:07:38

Ask the owner first
I really wouldn’t judging by the number of idiotic people I’ve met who’ve told me their dog is friendly/just playing/wouldn’t hurt a fly when it isn’t.

My own dog has been picked on so many times she became quite aggressive in the end.

She’s fine now in the presence of other dogs so long as they don’t actually try to interact with her.
If I had my time again I would have focused on getting her happy and comfortable being in the presence of other dogs but never allowed any actual interaction, you can’t trust other owners and what they perceive as ‘friendly’ is actually really fucking rude in most cases.

Clymene Thu 27-Aug-20 19:17:25

My dog nearly lost an eye a couple of years ago to a 'friendly' dog so now he is on lead at all times around other dogs unless we already know them. If any off lead badly trained dog comes over, I shout at the owners to get it away.

As dogs can't generally distinguish between on lead and off lead dogs, I think it's safer to train your dog not to play with random other dogs.

Suzi888 Thu 27-Aug-20 19:22:49

I have a humongous, overly friendly Labrador. Pre covid took him to a dog park club.

I let him off as he’s so friendly and I walk him in the same places so get to know people.
However will put him on the lead if I can see someone is nervous or if someone is having a picnic- as he did once plop himself down on a blanket and help himself to a sandwich blush Which thank goodness the picnickers found hilarious.
I on the other hand was mortified.

ticktackted Thu 27-Aug-20 19:32:13

Mine loves playing with other dogs and I would say 95% of the other dogs & owners we meet are the same. If someone's dog is on a lead I call "do you want me to grab him?" Or similar, but most of them are happy with a quick sniff. We don't have that many friends with dogs, and ours gets hugely excited about every dog. I'd be really depriving him if I always stopped him. He's small & gentle though so doesn't really alarm people!

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