Proper Petiquette -How to Socialise with Pets!
Do you like to be social, but also like spending time with your pets?
It’s safe to say our furry friends play an important role in our lives and while we love and cherish these little creatures like humans, it’s important to remember that they’re animals who need boundaries. There is also a certain amount of consideration and etiquette required by us as loving, doting pet owners.
Etiquette For Dog’s and Owners
Dog owners have a responsibility to manage their pets’ behaviour and follow certain rules of etiquette. This also helps to teach our pets about acceptable social behaviours.
For most of us, these might go without saying but for new pet owner’s or younger members of the family, this list compiled by the Animal Humane Society serves as a guideline to ensure that you and your dog are being courteous community members.
- Pick up after your dog- Bring several bags on your walks to be sure you have enough. If you run out, either come back and clean it up later or ask another walker if they have a bag to spare. Some parks and walking tracks will also supply them on designated dispensers.
- Prevent barking- Practice getting your dog’s attention to easily redirect him if he barks at people or other dogs. If you know your dog acts this way, you might consider only allowing him in the yard when supervised.
- Only let your dog greet a stranger if they ask- The same rule applies if you see another dog and owner approaching. Ask first and respect the other’s response.
- Always leash your dog on walks- Not everyone is comfortable around dogs. Keep your dog close to you and stay alert to others. Your leash should be short enough to prevent your dog from contacting or jumping on passersby. Remember to respect any signs that prohibit you from having your dog off their leash in that area.
- Don’t play while on a leash- If you meet another dog on a walk (and it’s alright with their owner) let the dogs sniff each other for five seconds and move on. Letting your dog play with another dog while on a leash can result in injury and teach your dog that all dogs enjoy this kind of interaction, although many don’t.
- Be aware of other people’s feelings- If your dog does something to upset someone (jumping up, barking) apologise to them and take measures to prevent the situation from reoccurring.
Tips to Improve Your Pet’s Etiquette
Perhaps you have a new puppy in need of a little social interaction or a dog that needs some extra help in the etiquette department. Here are some great tips on some of the ways in which you can help your fur friend improve their petiquette.
- Expose him to new experiences- While it’s best to teach etiquette while your dog is still a puppy, you can teach an older dog how to be social without being aggressive or afraid. This might just take more time. Start slowly so you won’t overwhelm him or create a dangerous situation for your pet or for other dogs. For example, it might be a good idea to take him to a dog park but stay on the outside of the fence with him during the visit so he can see the others but not interact just yet.
- Walk him every day- It’s important to not only walk your dog every day but to make sure he’s comfortable during the walk. Taking him outside and letting him get used to seeing cars, birds, other pets, and people will go a long way toward helping him get socialised. Consider using a harness instead of a collar so that if he pulls he won’t choke himself. You might also think about bringing portable bowls on long walks so that if he gets thirsty or hungry, you can take a break and give him what he needs. Making sure he’s comfortable will help him stay happy, which is imperative during socialisation and etiquette training.
- Find out what’s wrong- If your dog is barking, showing signs of aggression, whining, or exhibiting other behaviours that prohibit you from taking him out, it’s important to find out the root of the problem. He may have separation anxiety or he may be afraid or anxious to leave the comfort of your home.
- Set up playdates- Once your dog has been to a dog park or other busy spots once or twice and has reacted positively, it’s a good idea to think about setting up a playdate with another dog who is either smaller or roughly of equal size and has a calm temperament. Set the date at a neutral location (such as the park) so that neither animal will become aggressive over their territory, and be ready to step in should either dog become irritated.
Teaching your dog how to be social and not to be scared in new situations takes time, so try to be patient.