Walking Your Dog: On-Leash Etiquette

As dog owners, it's important to have proper etiquette while walking your dog on a leash. Many owners feel their dog's improper behavior while on a leash is cute and acceptable but the truth is, it can be very annoying and inconsiderate to other dogs and people.

Last week I was walking a dog-aggressive dog on the leash that had come to the canine center for some training. The dog becomes aggressive when other dogs try to sniff or come near him (basically the dog is scared). In the midst of the walk, another man walking his dog, walked right up to me with his pooch.  I tried to tell him to stay away but he was oblivious—he had his headset on and was listening to loud music.  By the time he finally took his headset off, I was in a situation between the two dogs.  Everything ended up fine, but it dawned on me how totally rude this gentleman was. What gives him the right to have his dog walk up to any dog he wants to greet? Many dogs are aggressive on leash.  As an aggression specialist, I see many clients that have aggressive dogs and they are petrified to go outside to walk their dogs, because of other dogs coming up to theirs. People need to ask before they approach “Is your dog friendly? No, I’m sorry he is dog sensitive.”  This kind of interaction is all that is needed.

I have an old antique house that is positioned right on the road. Last year there was a woman who walked her miniature dachshund everyday on her morning walk right in front of my home. Inevitably the dog would relieve itself right where we all would walk to get to the cars, and I typically was the one who would step in it. To my amazement she never picked up the poop this little fellow would leave behind. I know she probably thought it was such a small deposit that no one would notice. Unfortunately she would do these morning walks after I had left for work and I was having a hard time catching her in the act. One morning when I was home and upstairs working in my home office, I had a great view of the street below. I saw the women walk her dog right in front of my front gate and relieve itself.  I ran down the stairs and outside to confront her. She turned bright red in embarrassment and said she never noticed her dog doing this.   Of course that’s what she would say.  It is so important to clean up after your dog, no matter what size he is. If you forgot to bring a plastic bag, go back and clean it up after you get home, or at least get a big stick and flick it into the woods so that it is not in the path of pedestrians.

How about the person who lets their dog jump on you when greeting (when they are on a leash). Two weeks ago my neighbor’s Boston Terrier jumped all over my white pants right before I was about to leave for dinner. What I don’t understand is that I see this dog jump on people (upon greeting) all the time. Why my neighbor does not fix this, I will never know. It is so easy to control a dog on leash, and if you know your dog is a jumper, don’t let him jump on people. If you can’t fix this behavior yourself, get professional help. Of course I have offered to help my neighbor with this issue, but he is a bit stubborn and is convinced he can fix this himself. It’s been two years…….no improvement! Oh well…….    

Come When Called Checklist

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Learn why your dog is jumping up on people to greet them and how to fix this very common problem. It's easier than you think!


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