Dog Etiquette in Public
Our dogs are members of the family, and we would love to take them everywhere with us. Always consider how comfortable and safe your dogs feel in the public. Crowded places and events may be stressful for some dogs. Ensure that the venues are dog friendly and always bring plenty of water, a travel bowl, training treats (if needed) and poop bags for your dog.
Pay attention to his body language. For example, let’s say you’re out and about with your dog, and a stranger approach, wanting to pet him. If your dog becomes very still, his body stiffens or he seems to want to avoid the interaction, he’s probably not comfortable in that situation. For him to feel safe, it might be best to decline the person’s request to pet him.
Most public spaces have leash laws, so be sure to respect them and only let your dog off-leash in places where it is allowed.
Dog behavior etiquette tips
Here are some other tips for good dog etiquette in public:
- Try not to allow your dog to jump up on people; even if your dog is friendly, it’s not polite behavior.
- Be especially careful not to let your pooch jump up on small children or the elderly, since he can potentially scare or injure them.
- Don’t let your dog approach someone unless that person solicits attention from your dog.
- Bring training treats with you and use the opportunity of being out in public to teach your dog polite greetings.
- Get down low so that you can effectively manage an interaction your dog has with a child.
- Be prepared to gently interfere if a child is behaving inappropriately with your dog.
- Train your dog positively to wear a muzzle if your dog has a history of aggression.
- Excessive barking can be unpleasant to other people.
- Remember, “he’s friendly” is not always appropriate. Unfamiliar situations can make the friendliest dog very stressful.
- Dog fouling (picking up poop after your dog) consistently ranks as the number one thing local councils receive complaints about. You must scoop that poop in public places. Dog poop not cleaned up can cause illness in people, livestock, and wild animals. If you can't find a rubbish bin while out and about then you need to take the poo bags home with you and use your own bin. It might seem like not much harm has been done, but canine faeces can contain parasites that, if not cleaned up, can spread to grass. If this grass is eaten it can cause pregnant cattle to lose their young, as well as blindness in humans.
- Dogs should not be allowed to ‘worry’ livestock. Even if your dog does not bite livestock, chasing or barking at them can cause pregnant animals to lose their young through stress. If you are walking across farmland where you can see livestock, or even if you think they are nearby, it’s important to put your dog on a lead. Even if your pet does not usually chase, they may become excited by unusual smells, sounds or movements and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Farmers can also shoot dogs they believe are worrying livestock on their land.
- The Highway Code requires dogs (and other animals) to be ‘suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly.’
- Dogs need to have two forms of identification when in a public place - microchipping and a collar with a tag with owner’s name and address.