Etiquette for dog owners: tips for peaceful coexistence

From scuffles or biting injuries among dogs to verbal disputes between dog owners to arguments about the four-legged friend or family: No one really wants to do that, and yet such situations are not so rare. Basically, however, quarrels of any kind could be avoided quite easily if all parties involved would adhere to a few rules. That’s where our ultimate etiquette guide for dog owners with tips for peaceful coexistence comes in handy.

1. avoid meaningless “saying hello” among dogs

Surely you have already met dog owners who have asked you the following question or maybe you have asked it yourself: “May they say a quick ‘hello’ to each other?”. There are many dog owner:s whose eyes light up at this question and who naturally welcome the greeting of their four-legged friends. But then there are also those dog owners:inside who deny this question and move on. In many cases, however, they are right! Simplest example: both dogs are leashed. How meaningful is it in such a moment to let the dogs to each other? Tendency zero! No matter if the dogs get along well or not, by limiting the interaction radius they could neither flee nor play. If the whole thing then still takes place at a street, the chaos is perfect. In addition, the dogs already know everything about the oncoming conspecific, which is important for them. Thanks to their extremely good sense of smell, they could even tell us at a great distance what the mate or rival had for breakfast. In addition, there are also dogs that don’t want to meet conspecifics at all, for example because they have a fundamental issue with other dogs. Also ok! So if you avoid “saying hello” from the start, you save yourself and the other person stress and the need to explain. And also so some dog will thank you very much. If, on the other hand, you have the feeling that the dogs get along very well and would like to play together, ask instead if you want to let them run together in a meadow.

Fun Fact: Do you know the meaning of a yellow ribbon or scarf on a leash or collar? This is a sign that other dog owners do not want contact, for example, because their dog is in training or afraid. If you respect this, much is gained!

2. the requirement to leash with oncoming dogs

A situation that often causes great uncertainty among dog owners themselves is the encounter in the free run. You may know this: You see another dog from a distance and first try to assess whether it is coming towards you or whether it will turn off first. If this is not too obvious or unlikely, you try in the next step to recognize whether the dog is leashed. Afterwards you still consider if you don’t know each other and what you should actually do yourself: Dodge? Leash? Approach? A golden rule says: If a leashed dog comes towards me, I leash mine as well. And we would sign this rule to 90%. 90% because there is an exception, but at the same time it is a basic rule: As soon as another dog or person comes towards you, you immediately bring your dog to you and make sure that he stays in your circle, i.e. that he does not move more than one meter away from you. If the other dog or person comes closer, take your dog in your foot. If you notice insecurity in the approaching person, give him or her a short hint that you keep your dog with you. If your dog does not remain reliably in the foot or you run the risk that he cancels this command in the distraction, then please leash him beforehand. Why so strict? Because it gives you time to assess the situation. Because it is a command of politeness that no strange dogs sprint towards someone without being asked. Because you protect yourselves and your animal with it, since not each kind comrade is well-disposed to the other. The only exception for leashing should be if the oncoming dog is already sprinting towards you and you see no chance to stop it.

3. the requirement of walking at heel with oncoming people.

Similar to commandment number 2, this point should also always apply when you meet other people without a dog. Whether cyclist, walker, jogger or or or – As soon as another person comes towards you while walking, politeness alone demands that you signal to the other person that there is no danger from you and your dog. The best way to do this is to bring your dog to you, leave it with you (preferably in your foot) and inform the other person if necessary. Why should you do this? Because there are people who are afraid of dogs. Maybe you know that your dog is not doing anything. But how should the other person know? For some people, the fear is so deep that it will not calm them down if you say “He won’t do anything! Besides, isn’t that what everyone says?

4. communication among dog owners before the dogs interact with each other.

It sounds so simple and yet it is often not self-evident: to agree together and in advance that both dogs are allowed to run or play together. In practice, it usually works like this: One dog is not leashed anyway and the owner or the owner is zero interested in what Hasso is doing. Before you could react yourself, Hasso has already sprinted to your own dog. Leaving him on a leash is not a good idea when a 45kg dog is rolling towards you. So you quickly give your own dog the command to run, so that at least the training progress is not endangered. Hardly the dogs have met each other, as if one had suspected it, there’s already the first scuffle. This has the advantage that Hasso’s owner has woken up, but unfortunately he is of the opinion: “They’ll sort it out among themselves”. Sure, one would have this calmness perhaps also, if the own dog would not be weight-technically inferior. Honestly: This simply does not have to be! Let’s please talk to each other beforehand. A few sentences are already enough. For example, ask whether the other dog is compatible and agree beforehand that in the event of a scuffle you will take both dogs out (each his) and simply move on. Or ask the other person if he or she would like to let the dogs play. And even if he or she says no, don’t take it personally. Sometimes we humans have issues or reasons that we don’t want to share with everyone. With mutual consideration and tolerance and above all communication, nothing should stand in the way of a peaceful dog encounter. Here we are all asked.

5. female dogs also have a right to their privacy

The next point is so absurd that it is hard to believe that this one is included here, and yet such situations happen regularly. Mostly they start with the question “Is this a girl?”, which of course is asked by dog owners with males. The fact that there is no greeting beforehand, forgiven. Who now makes the mistake and answers with “Yes”, the follow-up question “May he sniff?” could make him fall from faith. Even more impertinent is only, if they come immediately here, underlaid with the remark “He wants to sniff only briefly”. A request to all, who feel caught now to have behaved already once in such a way: Leave it! Probably the people do not even mean it badly, but that is really no kind. To say nothing of the fact that it hardly goes more distant and more impolite.

6. remove poop should be self-evident

Yes, the matter of removing or not removing poop has probably already caused one or two neighborhood disputes to escalate. Some residents are so angry about the issue that they feel compelled to put up rudely worded signs on their properties asking them to remove the piles. It doesn’t have to be that way. And yes, most dog owners:inside now carefully clean up their dogs’ messes. So let’s continue to be considerate and pick up even the pile in the deepest bushes.

7. the thing with the males and peeing on objects

Which dog owner does not know this: The own dog stops at every corner and must inspect the marking of the predecessors to the smallest detail. What is only annoying for other dog owners:inside, can become a real problem for owners or communities. Some male dogs even go so far that they do not stop even in front of parked cars. However, since urine is acidic, regular treatment with it unfortunately doesn’t do most objects any good at all. Too much of it can lead to yellow spots on the lawn or damage to buildings. In Berlin secondly even trees had to be felled, because they could not withstand the flood at Hundepippi. In other cities already street lamps had to be sawed off and exchanged, because also here too many dogs marked. And perhaps the one or other dog owner of city trips knows this himself: You are with your darling in a foreign city on the road and do not find a green strip, because all facilities are fenced so that the dogs do not get there. Therefore, please let us make sure that our darlings do not mark everywhere as they are funny or at least certain objects, buildings or trees on highly frequented streets are spared.

8. jumping at people as an absolute no-go

Yes, sometimes the joy at the greeting is just too great and the visitor is greeted directly times by wild jumping and bang, the designer part is broken. Or the treats that the other dog owner has in his pocket smell so delicious that the dog jumps at him with his muddy paws. What still seem quite funny with smaller dogs, can lead with middle-sized four-legged friends already to the fact that one can falter. So, dear dog owners: Let’s pay a little attention to each other and wean our dogs off jumping at an early stage.

9. feeding at the table please (if at all) only when you are alone

Sure, you love your dog and want only the best for him. But whether that includes human food, which can even be harmful to dogs, is another question. Apart from that, many people, and even some dog owners themselves, find it rather semi-appetizing when they are permanently looked at or even nudged by a dog while eating. And since we love our friends and family members too, let’s either avoid feeding at the table or push it to times when we don’t have visitors at home. And please do not feed your dogs at the table at all when you are visiting somewhere yourself, let alone in a restaurant.

10. dog stories mostly love only dog owners:inside

This commandment goes a little bit to the marrow. And yet, many dog owners would love to do nothing else all day but…? Letting the rest of the world know how great their dog is. And, of course, it’s no different for us. Still, many non-dog owners don’t find it easy to understand certain stories of a happy dog-human relationship. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your pets, of course. But try to observe carefully how your counterpart’s receptivity to dog stories remains at the initial level. And maybe there are even people who can’t do anything at all with stories about your dog, except for the info that he or she is doing well. But isn’t that ok too? Surely there are also topics you are not interested in. And that’s what good communication is all about: Finding common ground.

You might be wondering where the fun is supposed to be with all these rules? Do not worry! The more routinely you stick to certain rules, the less stress you will have in case of doubt and the more freedom your dog can enjoy. For example, anyone who has ever had to go to the veterinary clinic with a bite injury or can only enter the park as soon as all the other dogs are gone, knows exactly that such situations are also extremely far from the topic of fun.

And even if you don’t follow the tips or meet other people who don’t make it easy for you, try to stay nice and friendly and talk to each other. Sometimes you can achieve more with an honest conversation than you actually think and clear up misunderstandings. And at the end of the day, we’re all just people.

Image by macrovector on Freepik

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