You already know your dog is wonderful company and bringing him to your favorite local spots seems like a great way to spend quality time together. Although it might be hard to imagine that others don’t share your view, not everyone appreciates the owner who travels with his dog. Your dog might also find trips out on the town overwhelming, so practicing safe dog etiquette assures his safety and enjoyment for all.
Knowing the Rules Before You Head Out
The first and biggest part of bringing your dog to any new location is to know and abide by the rules. If you’re planning a day at the beach, make sure it’s dog-friendly before you arrive. Planning a day at the park? Check to see if there is a special off-leash area for your dog to roam free. If shopping or eating out at your favorite café is on the agenda, find out in advance if they welcome dogs.
Also, most places you plan to visit will have a leash law. Do not allow your dog to walk off-leash in a leash-only area. If off-leash walking is a must, do your research in advance. Leash laws protect you and your dog, as well as others.
Keep Vaccinations Up to Date
How would you feel if your dog spent the afternoon playing with a dog who had not been vaccinated against rabies or kennel cough? Probably not great, which is why you need to make sure your own dog is current on his vaccinations.
Approaching Others with Caution
Even the friendliest dogs can become defensive or aggressive when confronted with an unfamiliar situation. Never let your dog roam off-leash in an area that doesn’t permit off-leash walking. If your dog jumps or behaves aggressively with another person or dog, remove your dog from the situation immediately.
Never let your dog approach a strange dog without paying close attention. Baring teeth, growling, snarling and raised fur indicate an escalating problem.
Cleaning Up After Your Dog
When spending the day outdoors with your dog, you should plan to clean up after him. Bring plastic bags with you, along with antibacterial wipes. Always clean up, because dog poop can spread disease between dogs. If your dog finds poop — and chances are he will — don’t let him get too close. Parasites from dog poop can make your own furry friend quite sick.
If your dog doesn’t know sit from stay, then heading out for a day together may not be in your best interests — or his. Well-trained dogs always respond to basic commands, even when the atmosphere is busy.
Your dog should always come when called, drop unwanted objects, and sit and stay without difficulty. If he cannot reliably demonstrate these skills in familiar territory, he won’t be able to manage dangerous intersections, interesting smells and other distractions without risking his safety.
As tempting as it may be to run into your favorite pharmacy for an unplanned errand, if your dog can’t accompany you, you must be prepared to leave it for another day. Never leave your dog tied to a post or otherwise left unattended. Not only do you risk losing your favorite pooch, you’re also exposing him to potential harm.