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Petiquette as a Dog Lover

Petiquette as a Dog Lover

September 9, 2021

We often cite the best ways to train, exercise, and pamper your dog. Have you ever given much thought to how you interact with dogs outside of your own? It’s an interesting question and we used to not think much of it ourselves. However, it turns out people are usually the most difficult variable when it comes to dog training – even the most well intentioned and experienced ones. So, we broke down a list of Do’s and Don’ts for interacting with new dogs in your life or even those you pass on the sidewalk.

Don’t Assume a Dog is Friendly

This one might seem obvious, but as a tried-and-true dog lover it’s sometimes difficult to accept. Not all Golden Retrievers are happy go-lucky and not all Toy breeds like being held 24/7. Assumptions about a breed can lead you to behave in a way that could irritate the dog or the owner or even get you snapped at. It is best to guess all dogs need space until told by the owner that it is okay to approach them.

Don’t Disregard the Owner

Social interaction isn’t always fun or easy, but it’s important to always address the dog owner before tousling the ears of their fluffy fur baby. This shows a level of attention and respect as well as offers a brief window where the dog owner can inform you if the dog has behavior issues, is in the middle of training, or if they simply don’t have the time to stop.

Don’t Sneak Them Food/Treats

Some breeds have to be very careful about weight gain (like King Charles Cavaliers) because of their propensity for heart problems. Because of this, their owners have to keep a watchful eye on how much sodium and general calories they consume each day, more so than a Lab parent per say.

Don’t Stick Your Hand Out Quickly

If the dog owner gives the green light, offer your hand to the dog with your palm facing up and let them come to you. This helps them get familiar with your scent as well as other smells on your clothes – like dog or cat hair from your own pets or even what fabric softener you use. A dog’s nose can tell a lot; and with over 300 million oral factory receptors that’s no surprise.

Do Always Ask First

Asking permission from a pet owner is still the best route even if the dog is the one initiating the belly rub session; it’s easy, and ensures everyone feels comfortable. It also lets them set the tone by leading their dog into the situation. For example, if training, they may want to have the dog lay down before you approach so let them initiate the interaction.

Do Keep it Brief

Unless the owner strikes up a conversation, assume they are somewhat tight on time. Their routine could include a walk for daily exercise or just a bathroom break, so it’s a good idea to keep things moving and be mindful of that. We know from experience that the time it takes to walk half a mile for most people may be around 10 minutes, but add a sniffy dog to the mix and it could take 30 minutes or more.

Do Be Gentle

Even if your dogs at home are used to rough-housing, it’s always better to give some soft pats and love to a stranger’s dog as you don’t know their background or history. Between the ears and on their haunches are safe bets of places they are dying to be scratched.

Do Enjoy It!

Soak up all the love. Friendly pups live for moments like this.

The list is just to serve as a reminder that there are lots of dogs out there and some will act differently than the ones at home.

This information isn’t to discourage you from asking to pet every dog you run into – dog owners are used to this and it can be one of the best perks of pet ownership! Keep these tips in mind to make sure you’re prepped and ready to be the best meet and greet they have all day.

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