Ready for those Springtime Walks with Fido? Better Learn the “Rules of the Road” First!
Jessie, the experienced human walker: Yes, you read that correctly. Just as you humans walk your dogs, dogs also walk their humans…and that is usually the way we prefer to see it, despite your intentions otherwise. Taking a walk with our humans is always fun, but one must keep at top of mind certain “rules of the road,” or dog walking etiquette.
After browsing on dogster.com, I came across some helpful advice from some well-intentioned humans. Read on!
Dogs are constantly put into situations that require them to defend their space, which inevitably sets them up to fail at those meet and greet encounters on a walk. In a natural setting for dogs, upon noticing one another, they will initially show the side of their face and body to each other. They display their sides first as, in their language, staring head-on is interpreted as a challenge. Some dogs may even begin to sniff the other dog to suggest he is not a threat. And be prepared for those nose-to-butt encounters. It happens. That’s the way we roll!
Because humans often misread some of the aforementioned signals, it is our responsibility to clue you all in.
When you are on a walk with your dog and come upon an unknown dog, avoid those greetings. If, however, the two dogs have met before, then by all means, allow them to meet and catch up. If they have met before, then they instinctively know what to expect of each other.
If you would much rather your dog remained focused on you instead of on other dogs, keep treats handy in your pocket! (The good ones, too. Not that lame, bargain bin junk that has no flavor!)
By all means, do not allow your dog to invade another dog’s space! And, of course, ensure that your dog’s space is not violated, either. Just because another human declares that his dog just wants to say “hello” to yours is no reason to put your dog in an uncomfortable situation. (Would you like to be forced to meet and greet nearly everyone you pass by as you are out and about during the day? Think about that for a minute!)
If all else fails, consider going for those relaxing four in the morning walks! We bet you won’t encounter too many folks out there at that hour. However, watch out for those pesky rabbits on the loose!