Dog Walking 101: Are you breaking the rules?

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When it comes to walking your dog around town, there are both laws (in some areas at least) and unspoken rules to follow, especially if you don’t want to be known as the local “jerk”. Whether you live in the city or in a neighborhood, these rules, both spoken and unspoken, can help in making the city and the experience all around better for you and the people around you.

The first rule is to not trespass. While this might seem like common sense, it’s still important to consider. After all, you do have a dog and you do have to train them. With this particular rule, you want to discourage your dog from doing anything to the front yard of other people. This can range from walking on their lawn to even peeing on their mailbox. You want to be sticking to the streets and relying more on the grass strips that are scattered between the sidewalks and streets.

The second rule is to pick up poo. This is an obvious one and dog walkers should always be prepared for this. This means having a plastic bag or several of them that you can use to store dog doo. And actually, take the time to store it as well. Many people show off the bags look like they are picking up the poop only to stand back up and walk away without using it. Even when you train your dog to not poo on someone’s lawn, it’s disgraceful and unacceptable for the owner to leave the “poo to stew.”

The third rule is being mindful of people. What this rule means is that while your dog may not harm a fly and is the friendliest dog in the world, others may not be. They may not be an avid dog fan and may even hate dogs. Even if they are a dog fan, they may be focused on other things, whether they are biking or running to make it the bus, or perhaps they are on their phone. Regardless, you want to be mindful of other people and act accordingly. In most cases this means keep walking purposefully and calmly, letting you be in control of the walk rather than your dog.

The fourth rule is being mindful of other dogs as well. The previous rule focuses on people, but that rule also applies to others dogs as well. Don’t assume that every dog walker you run into is up for socializing with you or wants their dogs socializing with one another. Each person raises dogs differently so not every single dog is going to be prim, proper, energetic, and friendly. Be sure to take some time if the opportunity arises to ask whether a dog is friendly or not and whether the two of them can say hi to one another. May not be applicable in all walking situations, but you get the idea.

The final rule is to that it’s best to keep the leash on. When you’re in town this is obvious since there are cars everywhere and the last thing you want is for your dog to get hit. However, even in neighborhoods or trails, it’s better to err on the side of safety and stick to a leash and have your dog walk by your side. This is key because you have no idea what is going to happen. Whether it’s a flock of birds flying by or maybe even a cat darting across the street, a dog is easily distracted and could respond in a variety of ways. You can stay prepared by having them on a leash so your dog does nothing silly.

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