Beau Speaks: Dog Walking Etiquette Part 3 - The Trupanion Blog
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Beau Speaks: Dog Walking Etiquette Part 3

Hi, it’s Beau. So, in Part I of this series, I detailed the proper way to pick up after us and to dispose of our…left overs. In Part II, we discussed the art and science of leashes. In this final installment, we will review ways to avoid potential trouble.

It seems strange to me, but most people don’t understand us. They forget that, like their children, we have to be taught the meaning of a word. We’re not born knowing human language, and we’re limited in both the amount of words we can learn and the opportunities to learn them unless you dedicate the time to teach us. So, I guess, I would recommend that you get to know your dog and how s/he will act or react in different situations. Remember that, though we’ve been with you for millennia, we’re still very instinctual, so we react to things. For example, some of my brothers and sisters really dislike uniforms. Me? I like our UPS man because he always has cookies (I did mention I love food, right?). They’re not as yummy as Beau’s Bits™ or Beau’s Ohs!™, nor as healthy, but they do in a pinch. Another thing you would be wise to remember is that, instinctively, we’re hunters. So we like to go after things that move. And the faster they move, the more likely we are to go after them, like bicycles (how do you stay upright on those things?) or skateboarders. And, as you all know, critters like squirrels, or perhaps another dog.

dogs playing outside grassNow, if you work with us you’ll be able to curb our instincts. But, until you do, it is best to avoid situation that trigger them. Remember that we’re really very attuned to you. So we pick up your feelings and emotions instantly and react to them. If you become afraid of another dog, we will too, and we will try to protect you because you are the most precious thing to us…well, food…no. No, you are! But…yum…food!!! I digress. So when you come upon a situation where I could react, it is important that you remain calm and not make a big deal of it. You might even move in a different direction, or switch sidewalks.

Of course, it is best if you notice situations that are potentially troublesome before they occur. So walk with your head up and eyes forward, scanning ahead. I don’t mean like Rin-Tin-Tin on a mission, but just remain alert. This will help you spot potential trouble. Moreover, this is a posture that feels calm and assertive to us, which helps us remain calm and submissive.

There will be times when you can’t avoid a situation. Again, at such times, it is best if you remain calm. The more troubled you become, the more I will sense it and become worried that I need to protect you. So, give a friendly warning to the other person such as: “She can be a little leash-aggressive” or “He doesn’t like small dogs.” This lets the other person know that your dog has certain issues, and they won’t be startled and take appropriate steps to mitigate the situation.

So, that’s it for now. I’m going to get my leash and see if JP will take me for another walk. I like them because when we get back I get a treat or two (I did mention I love food, right?).

About the author, Mr. Beaujangles

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