Do NOT allow dog-to-dog meetings on walks
Some dogs get nervous when meeting other dogs. Your dog could be friendly as can be, never shown any signs of being aggressive, but still become leash reactive. And if not your dog, it could be the other dog.
You, as your dog’s leader, need to prove that you will advocate for your dog. By creating a structured walk you can let your dog that you will be there for him, to protect him at all costs… and this can only be done on a 6’ leash.
Walking Your Dog Etiquette Rule #4
Keep Your Dog on a 6’ Leash
Most cities and townships have a leash law, requiring you to have your dog on a leash while walking in public.
When walking your dog he should always be on a 6’ leash. Do not use a retractable leash, it is dangerous for you and your dog.
My favorite leash is a simple leather leash, read How to Choose the Best Dog Leash.
Even if your dog is off-leash trained, think about what would happen if your dog got spooked by something and took off. Or, if another off-leash dog started charging your dog! You would have no way of guiding your dog away from harm. Your dog may be friendly, but don’t assume all other dogs are.
Walking Your Dog Etiquette Rule #2
This is the number one complaint I hear in our NextDoor Neighbor app. Clean up after you dog… please!
Be prepared to pick up your dog’s poop every time you take a walk. Even if he just went, bring a bag… you never know! Leaving your dog’s poop in someone’s yard is a huge no-no.
Get a special poop bag holder that clips to your leash so you never get caught without a poop bag!
I can’t tell you how many times we see dog poop on our daily walks. It should be common courtesy to pick up after your dog, but for some reason, so many people decide not to pick up the poop. One of our neighbors even put out this dog statue that says “No Dumping!”.
Your dog’s poop can carry diseases even if he seems healthy to you. Dogs can get very sick by simply sniffing another dog’s poop that has worms, coccidia, and other diseases.
Just think if nobody picked up their dog poop, our lawns would be piled high with feces! Have you ever gone all winter without picking up your dog’s poop in your backyard?
Walking Your Dog Etiquette Rule #3
Don’t Feel Bad If You Don’t Walk Your Dog
This may surprise some pet owners, while others can completely understand, but I refuse to walk my dogs in my neighborhood anymore. As a professional dog trainer, I agree dogs need daily exercise. However, when daily walks become dangerous, it’s time to choose different forms of exercise.
How Often Should I Walk My Dog? Good Dog Tube
Ever wish you could peer into your cat, dog, skink, or betta fish’s brain? It would give you a far better perspective of the world—or at least help you be a smarter pet parent. We’re here to demystify your animals (to some extent), while also shedding advice on how you can best thrive together. Welcome to Pet Psychic.
Walking your dog seems simple enough—it’s just you, your pup, and the great outdoors. But without the right equipment and approach, a much-anticipated W-A-L-K can be disappointing.
Search for “walking a dog” online and you’ll find pages of photos with people holding leashes attached to a collar around a dog’s throat, which is exactly what the experts we spoke to advise against.
“I’m not a big fan of anything around the neck that’s pulling,” says Anna Mynchenberg, a manager at Bark, the company behind BarkBox. “I can’t imagine having any pressure on my neck, so I wouldn’t want to do that to my dog.”
There are simply too many reasons your furry best friend might pull on the leash, pressing the collar against their windpipe, says Kate Perry, a dog trainer based in New York City. That could choke them or, in a worst-case scenario where they leap off a bridge, leave them dangling by their neck.
You can avoid potentially strangling your dog by buying a dog harness. There are many to choose from, including models that can help keep an eager canine from pulling on the leash. Mynchenberg, who has a master’s degree in human-canine life sciences from Bergin University of Canine Studies, says she likes harnesses with handles because they offer an easy way to grab and hold your pet.
Going a little deeper, if your dog is stronger than you, or if you’re training a puppy, consider a front-clip or no-pull harness. Leashes that attach at the back of a dog’s shoulders only reinforce pulling, Perry says. But fasten one to the front, and it’ll block much of your pup’s power and keep them from yanking, she explains.
Before you strap on a harness, though, Perry recommends taking a few days to familiarize your dog with the equipment, as they may not be comfortable with it at first. That means creating positive associations by putting it on and taking it off multiple times in a row while giving them treats, and buckling them in during meals and playtime.