Each dog owner has her own set of “rules” she follows while out and about with her pup.
For example, I’m pretty firm with my two dogs and don’t let them get away with much. (Tough love.) I’m sure you have your own dog walking “rules” as well, whether as a fellow dog owner or when using a dog walking service.
And have you ever come across another dog on a walk and thought to yourself, “My dog would never do that!” Or, “I would never let my dog get away with that!”
I think those things all the time!
My 4 unspoken rules of dog walking
I thought I’d list out some of the dog walking “rules” I set for myself. In the comments, let me know which of these you follow or what else you’d add to my list.
1. I make sure I can control my own dogs.
Some dogs are really well trained or they’re naturally well behaved on walks. Others … not so much.
I have an unruly little weimaraner puppy named Remy. He has basically no self-control and no training so it’s my job to keep him in line anyway by preventing him from jumping on people or barging up to every dog he sees.
With Remy, that means walking him on a 6-foot leash (vs. a retractable leash) so he’s “reeled in” when necessary. It also means I step to the side so other people and dogs have room to pass without getting pawed at by my crazy puppy.
You know your own dog and what tools you need to be able to control him. Don’t hesitate to use the right training gear such as a martingale collar or slip lead.
2. I’m always aware of my surroundings.
I’m always looking up ahead so I know what people and dogs are approaching us. This allows me to move to the side as necessary to allow other dogs some space. Although friendly, my puppy is just plain rude, and I don’t allow him to jump on other dogs.
I also look behind me and I make sure to leave plenty of space when approaching “blind” corners. I never know when a reactive dog might be coming around the corner and I don’t want my puppy causing unnecessary stress.
Finally, I don’t wear headphones when I’m out walking my dogs because I want to be able to hear what’s around me such as traffic, runners or other dogs.
3. I don’t greet other dogs without asking first.
I try not to be one of “those people” who allows her dog to barge up to everyone. “Don’t worry, he’s friendly!”
- For one, my puppy needs to learn some self-control and has no business pulling me over to other dogs.
- Second, I can’t assume other dogs are friendly or that their owners want their dogs interacting with my puppy.
- Third, my senior dog has gotten a little more “grumpy” on a leash so I am now more understanding about giving older dogs their space.
4. Finally, safety.
I make sure my dogs’ collars fit properly (not too loose) and that they’re wearing their ID tags. When it’s getting dark, I do my best to carry a flashlight or wear reflective gear. At the very least, I remember that drivers are unlikely to see me.
And it goes without saying, but I always pick up after my dogs, as frustrating as it is sometimes when there is not a trash can for another half-mile! Sigh …
What “rules” do you try to follow that are similar to or different than mine? Do you have any pet peeves about other dog owners?
Want more tips on walking your dog? Check out these blogs.