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The dog ownership etiquette series: do’s & don’ts in public:

It’s not uncommon for people to witness a dog act out or misbehave in public. It’s important to remember that dogs are animals, and they can act in ways that might not be considered proper, but dog owners can do lots to help guide their pet when it comes to doing the right things and the wrong things.


Since dogs are incapable of fully understanding what’s right and wrong, it is up to you as a dog owner to consistently train your dog, especially in public settings. To give some insight, we’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts for dogs when it comes to public spaces.


Do keep your dog on a leash in public at all times

By doing this, you’re likely following the bylaws where you live which also lowers your chances of getting a ticket. Keeping your dog leashed helps you keep control over their movements and who they associate with in public. It eliminates the possibility of your dog running off and getting overwhelmed around strangers. If you’re at an off leash dog park, consider if your dog is well suited for being around other canines and dog owners before letting them off leash.


Don’t let people approach your dog without consent

This can be tricky especially in situations where there’s lots of people. Many people think it’s acceptable to pet dogs without asking owners first and this should simply be avoided – maybe we can write a feature next on human etiquette with dogs! But in all seriousness, establishing a friendly way to ensure people ask your permission first is a really good idea. Sometimes dogs can tend to not like strangers and taking extra precautions can lower the risks of your dog reacting badly. Get to know your dog and feel out every situation differently before allowing someone into their space.



Do clean up after your dog

One of the most obvious public etiquettes is to clean up after your dog when they go to the washroom. Try to always have extra baggies with you at all times to ensure you’re never in a situation where you can’t clean it up. Whenever possible, avoid letting your dog use the washroom on private property and if ever faced with a hostile situation as a result of where they went potty, be polite and clean it up as quickly as possible.


Don’t bring your dog out on an empty stomach

It’s always a good idea to make sure your dog is fed before venturing out together in public. If they have a full tummy, that means they’re happy and less likely to be agitated by any strangers or distractions. It also means they are less likely to eat any food or scraps they might come across while out and about. Giving your dog food before going out will keep them energized and happy!


Do respect other people’s boundaries

Not everyone is a dog person – I know, crazy to believe! When you’re out in public with your pooch, always keep a close eye on what they’re doing and pay attention to the people nearby. If someone appears uncomfortable with your dog approaching, try stepping to the side or moving over to allow them to safely pass by. Some people experience anxiety when they see dogs for a variety of different reasons so it’s always best to assume that not everyone is going to want to interact with your dog.



Don’t let your dog constantly bark in public

If your dog is just a puppy or you’ve only had your dog for a short period of time, barking can sometimes be an issue. With consistent, positive training and time, your dog should learn to control its barking. Dogs will sometimes bark once or twice when they’re communicating with other nearby canines but if a dog starts barking uncontrollably, they could sense danger. Overall, it’s not acceptable to allow your dog to constantly bark at people so stay consistent with training.


Do pay attention to how your dog is feeling

Dogs have emotions just like we do, which means some days can be harder than others. If you’re in a public setting, always keep an eye on your dog’s overall demeanor. Being in public can sometimes be too busy for your dog causing them to become overwhelmed. If you notice your dog start to shy away from everyone who comes near them, it might be a good time to pack up and go home. Or, if you’re out with your pup and you’ve been walking long distances, make sure your dog is not overexerted and always be prepared with water and food just in case. Every day is a different adventure with your dog so do as much as you can to enjoy it!

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