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Part One: Lessons in Etiquette

  • Heidi

Be a Good Leader

The pandemic may have turned our lives upside down, but there were some good things that came out of it – like a surge in dog adoptions. People also flocked outdoors in droves, exploring areas near and far from home. The result? Lots of people enjoying time outside with their dogs!

Sharing experiences with your four-legged best friend can make everything better, but it can also cause problems if you aren’t careful. We’ve talked about good canine etiquette before. But, in this special two-part series, we’re taking a closer look at how to create good behavior outdoors.

To start, let’s look at how you can set your dog up for success whenever you head out.

Focus on Your Dog

First, for the safety of you and your dog, it’s crucial to be aware of your surroundings whenever you leave your front door. While it’s tempting to check your phone or call to catch up with a good friend when you’re out with your dog, these activities can become major distractions. When you use walks our outings to focus on your dog, it helps strengthen your bond. It can also improve their behavior, which helps both of you enjoy being outside together even more.

Consider Your Dog’s Personality

Does your dog like meeting other dogs or strangers? Are they nervous in strange surroundings? Keeping your dog’s temperament in mind when leaving home can help you make choices that foster a more positive experience. For example, if your dog becomes over exuberant when they see a dog or stranger, change direction to create enough space to pass at a safe distance. In some cases, that can even mean turning around and retracing your route to avoid any interaction at all.

Create Clear Expectations

Every time we do something around our dogs, they learn from it. Unfortunately, it may not always result in a behavior you want. On top of that, we often communicate confusing or mixed messages to our dogs. To avoid this common mishap, create clear expectations for your dog when you head out. This could be walking on a loose leash or sitting and waiting to cross the street. Once you set these parameters, be consistent so your dog knows what to expect every time you head out together.

Be Courteous

Sometimes, it can be hard to see the beyond our own world, especially when we’re having fun with our four-legged best friend. However, it’s important to pay attention to the people around us in outdoor settings. This could mean keeping your dog under control and on a short leash when passing people or giving other dog owners plenty of space if they’re working with their dog on the trail.

Stay tuned for Part Two of series where we share handling tips to help your dog succeed outdoors.

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