Doggy etiquette: 7 tips for an enjoyable walk
As a pet sitter at Pawshake, you'll want to be a shining example. Those of you offering dog walking services in particular, will need to be familiar with the manners that are expected in dog friendly walking areas and off-lead zones. Naturally, you'll come across plenty of unleashed dogs - and their owners! - in such places. This can be a lot of fun, providing that you're considerate of each another. In order for dogs and their owners or pet sitters to enjoy a pleasant walk, it's therefore important to be aware of the unwritten rules. Apply these simple guidelines, and you can be sure of fun and stress-free walkies with your four legged friend!
1) Leave leashed dogs well alone
That goes for both you and your tail-wagger. The dog is on a lead for a reason, a reason that you're not aware of. She might have a physical problem, be aggressive, timid or perhaps on heat, for example. Keep a suitable distance, unless her owner indicates that it's okay to approach.
2) Don't let dogs 'work things out for themselves'
This is a mistake. Avoid tense situations, as these can quickly get out of hand. If a dog doesn't appreciate the company of other dogs, then give her a wide berth. And never allow your four legged friend to chase after other dogs. You might think: 'she never does any harm' but you don't know the other dog. She could be fearful, insecure or even traumatised. And, you want to avoid a doggy scrap at all costs!
3) Make sure that your dog doesn't chase after runners / horse riders / cyclists
Even though you know she only wants to play, it can be extremely bothersome when your dog runs after other people: yes, even in a off-lead area. After all, this area is intended as a place for humans and animals to come safely together, not as a haven for your dog to run amok. Keep your faithful friend visibly under control, and if you're unable to do so: then keep her leashed instead.
4) Playing might be fun, but...
Always intervene if the other dog doesn't want to play, becomes fearful / angry, or her owner doesn't like it. If the owner asks you to keep a distance, then do so.
5) Clean up your dogs poop
Okay, it's not always pleasant, but do it anyway. Even where it's not 'mandatory'. This not only fosters goodwill with non-dog owners, it also enables you to benefit from clean, poo-free dog walking areas!
6) Treat each other with respect
So many people, so many dogs, all of whom are different. Be considerate and treat each other with respect. Be friendly too, and keep an eye on the body language of other dogs. Don't know much about doggy language? There are plenty of good books, such as Calming Signals, on this very topic!
7) Keep an eye on your dog and enjoy each other's company!
Finally: enjoy! If you make the most of your dog's walk, then you'll get a lot more out of it. Playing with her favourite ball, running and generally frolicking around, will increase your bond with your pet. Don't spend the entire walk glued to your mobile phone, but rather look around you. Always pay close attention to your pooch, so you can anticipate and react to any unexpected encounters within plenty of time. And, most importantly, make sure you have that next poo bag at the ready...