When you live in the city with a dog, there are two kinds of rules you need to follow. First, you need to follow the laws set by the city, things like leash regulations and requiring a license. Then there are those "unwritten" rules that fall under the heading of "dog etiquette." These are things you come to learn in the process of owning a dog, and through observing the habits of other dog owners. And just so you don't have to learn them the hard way (translation: being read the riot act by another dog owner), we've compiled this list to help you.
Tips for city dog owners
- Your dog should always be leashed when you take him for a walk. Some municipalities require that you use a leash that is no longer than 6 feet, so check to make sure you're "leash legal."
- Always pick up after your dog. And don't use your neighbor's garbage to dispose of your dog's droppings.
- If you're approached by a fellow dog walker, shorten up on the leash to keep your dog close to you. If you want to allow your dog to interact with the other dog, check with the other person first. If they give you the indication that it's okay, let the dogs meet. But remain vigilant until the dogs develop a friendly rapport.
- Stay in control of your dog, especially if you use a retractable leash.
- Not everyone is a dog lover, so don't allow your dog to run up to strangers without their permission.
Manners matter in the dog park, too!
- Most local dog parks will post a set of regulations. Always observe those rules.
- Don't remove your dog's leash until you get to the off-leash area. This is for your dog's own safety, as well as for the safety of others.
- Always clean up after your dog. After all, it's a dog park, not a dog bathroom.
- Never lose sight of your dog or leave him unattended. It only takes an instant for your dog to get into mischief, or worse.
- Do not bring a female dog in heat. It's also not recommended to bring an un-neutered male dog to an off-leash dog park. This could lead to aggressive behavior, especially if another un-neutered male is present.
- If your dog becomes aggressive, put his leash back on and leave the park.
- If your dog is particularly possessive of his toys, don't bring them to the park.
By following these simple, commonsense rules of etiquette, city life can be a fun life for your dog.