Walking is the most natural thing to do, but not always when it comes to walking our dogs on a leash. Puppies think the leash is a toy to bite and tug on, while some older dogs like to jump, pull and lunge forward to get to where they want to go.
And for your exceptional cases, they’ll stall. They don’t want to go anywhere. Who’d ever think there was a dog that didn’t enjoy walking? Well, they exist, and you never know what category your dog will fall into until you get out there and start walking.
While some dogs naturally cooperate, most require training. And this How to Properly Walk a Dog blog series will help you to do just that. But first, in Part 1 we’ll cover the basics of dog walking etiquette to help ensure the safety of your dog and the courtesy of others as you carry out your walks.
As we continue through the series, you’ll learn actionable tips for teaching leash manners including:
- Part 2: How to walk a puppy on a leash
- Part 3: Teaching your dog to stop pulling on the leash
- Part 4: How to stop your dog from stalling on a leash
- Part 5: Stopping your dog from jumping or barking on a leash
Meet & Greet Tips:
Again when you’re out with your dog, an essential dog walking etiquette tip is to be considerate of others. Especially if you live in a busy city. So if you want to say hello to another dog on a busy sidewalk, pull to the side to avoid interrupting the flow of walking traffic. And when it comes to your meet and greets in general, first ask the other dog owner if it is okay.
If you have a super social dog, they’ll tend to pull or lunge forward to say hello to the next dog. While on the surface, this may appear to be harmless, it’s always best to ask first because you never know what’s going on with the other person’s dog. The other person’s dog could:
- Be a puppy awaiting their full set of vaccinations
- Be unfriendly or scared of certain kinds of dogs
- Have a contagious illness like kennel cough
Therefore, asking first protects your dog and is also courteous of the other person and their dog, in the event they have an issue.
Additionally, meet and greets should be with people who are paying attention. This means if someone is busy talking on their phone or picking up after their dog, then it’s probably not a good time to stop.
Also, it’s difficult to ask if your dog can say hello if the other person is occupied. And accidents between dogs can happen quickly. So as a precaution, you always want to be present and focused when approaching a new dog and make sure that the other person is also.
Curbing Your Dog:
Another critical dog walking etiquette tip is to curb your dog. Curbing your dog is essential. It helps you to be respectful of others so that they don’t step in the remains of your dog’s waste.
This tip is crucial for people who live in cities where you have to walk your dog outside every time.
The process of curbing your dog requires that you pull your dog to the sidewalk’s curbside so that they can relieve themselves. If your dog tends to go anywhere, like in front of a store or the middle of the sidewalk, it’s up to you to train your dog to go at the curb.
Again, who’s walking whom? As the dog parent, you have to take charge and guide your dog towards proper behavior.
I’ve helped train many of my client’s dogs to use the curb. I had a Greyhound that liked to go in the middle of the street! So sometimes it’s a safety issue that needs to be corrected immediately. Within three days, I had her safely using the curb.
Quick tips for curbing your dog are to:
- Walk your dog on a tighter leash
- Be very observant to notice when they are about to go. As soon as they signal they have to go
- Quickly guide them to the curb to use the bathroom
- Immediately afterward, reward them with a verbal cue like “Yes” or “Good Job!” You can also give them a small treat along with the verbal cue.
Tight Leash Waking
Also, walking on a tighter leash simply means walking them at your side, which is referred to as walking at a heel position. This way, you can guide and control the walk instead of having your dog lead by walking in front and ahead of you.
Walking on a tighter leash also makes it easier to sense when your dog has to use the bathroom, which allows you to guide them to the curb quickly.
Further, the treats are just for training wheels. You can stop treating once your dog is thoroughly trained and naturally goes to the curb. It should only take a few days. You don’t want them to always expect a treat. And you want to watch out for calories. So even if it’s a small treat, it’s fine to avoid unnecessary weight gain.
Further, in addition to curbing your dog, the most critical dog walking etiquette tip is to clean up after your dog.
Quick Tip: You should always carry waste bags when you take your dog out for a walk. And the best practice is to bring two for every walk.
They have waste bag dispensers that you can purchase in stores. But I’m not a major fan of them because it’s difficult to tell when you’re down to your last one. And if your dog has to eliminate twice during one walk, you won’t be prepared.
So to prevent the embarrassment of having to leave waste behind, carry two or more waste bags for every walk. This way, you’ll ensure that you’re always able to clean up after your dog every time.
An etiquette best practice tip here is to always read and respect the rules of a dog run before entering. Some are specific for dogs of a certain size, and some prohibit children, etc. Be respectful of the rules. They are drafted for the benefit of you, your dog, and your children’s safety.
Also, avoid dog runs if your dog has socialization issues. While you may want your dog to run free with others, if you’re not confident that they’ll get along with the other dogs, it’s not good to test it out at a dog run.
You have to work with a dog trainer if your dog has trouble socializing with other dogs. While your dog may be friendly at home, if they don’t know how to socialize with other dogs, they may trigger them, resulting in a fight and injuries.
So, get your dog the training they need, for their benefit and safety of other dogs as well. This way, you’ll ensure that your dog is properly socialized and can join in on the fun.
If you live in an elevator building, it’s best to ask people inside the elevator if they’re okay with your dog. Sometimes your neighbors may have visitors that are scared of dogs, even if they appear to be friendly.
While this may seem bizarre to us as dog parents, you must remember that people come from all walks of life and have various experiences. So just as a courtesy, it’s always best to ask.
And in general, if you have a very social dog, you want to make sure they practice elevator etiquette by having them sit calmly while taking the elevator.
Here again, is where you can use a verbal cue like the “sit” command to train your dog. This way, you’ll ensure they won’t jump on others while taking the elevator.
In closing, implementing these dog walking etiquette tips will equip you with the basics required for managing your daily walks. Keeping your and other dogs safe is paramount, as well as being courteous of others while you’re walking your dog.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s much easier to work on the more challenging issues like your dog pulling, jumping, or stalling on a leash.
So please stay tuned for our series by subscribing below. Next, we’ll discuss how to walk a puppy on a leash.