Dogs are quite similar to two-year-olds. In fact, you could say that a dog is a two-year-old in a dog suit. And just like we have to socialize our toddlers and gently train our kids about proper behavior at home and out in the world, courteous, responsible dog owners need to spend the time necessary to ensure their pups also follow proper etiquette. Below are some tips on being a conscientious dog-owning neighbor.
Use a leash
It doesn’t matter how well you know your dog. You can’t predict 100 percent of the time how he’ll react to an unfamiliar scent, sound, or situation. Leashes keep dogs safe and protect those around dogs, too. Check out these five easy rules for dog-walking etiquette.
Contain the canine
Have a yard that’s perfect for running? Great! But if it’s not enclosed by a fence, you might want to add one to keep your pup from paying unwelcome visits to your neighbor. The average price to install a wood fence in Charlotte is between $1,554 and $3,372.
Respect other dogs and their owners
Not all dogs enjoy exuberant greetings from happy pups, and not all dogs are friendly. If you’ve got a super-social dog who enjoys greeting everyone, remember that all dogs don’t share that same outgoing personality. Ask the dog’s owner if it’s okay for your pups to meet before assuming that the other dog will be equally enthusiastic.
No one likes to smell—or worse, step in—a pile of poop. Feces also can harbor harmful bacteria and parasites, including hookworms. When your dog makes his deposit, clean it up.
Spay and neuter
Fixing your dog won’t emasculate him. Neutering males helps reduce aggressive behavior and territory marking. Neutered males are also less likely to develop testicular cancer or prostate issues. Non-spayed females are more likely to develop urinary tract infections and breast cancer. For some more benefits of spaying and neutering, visit the ASPCA site.
Go to school
Whether you’ve got a new puppy or adult dog (and yes, you can teach old dogs new tricks!), enroll in an obedience class. Working with trainers who help you to interpret your dog’s body language, barks, and triggers—and maybe even a little psychology—helps you to build a strong, trusting relationship with your pooch.
Redirect inappropriate barking
You might not want your dog to participate in Twilight Barking, a term coined by “The Hundred and One Dalmatians” author Dodie Smith that said all dogs needed to keep in touch with friends, share news, and enjoy gossip. But barking is one of a dog’s main methods of communication. You can use positive training techniques to help your dog distinguish when her barking is (and isn’t) appropriate.
Apologize, then make it right
If your dog destroys or breaks something that doesn’t belong to you, do what’s necessary to make it right. Fix or replace the item and apologize to your neighbor.
Be aware of others’ feelings
Some people aren’t pet people. They might have allergies or feel intimidated—and that’s okay. If you’ve got visitors, including your neighbor, and your pup’s acting a little crazy or you sense your company’s discomfort, escort your dog from the room and set her up with a treat away from the action where she can safely relax and not make anyone feel uncomfortable.
Collar your dog
Even if your dog spends most of her time in the house or fenced-in yard, some pups are natural Houdinis. Make sure her collar includes a tag with updated contact and vaccination information. It’s also not a bad idea to have your dog microchipped.
While those sad, droopy puppy dog eyes might prove irresistible, a begging canine gains few friends. Train her alternative begging behaviors, like a “sit-stay” outside the dining room. If she’s a little stubborn, feed her first and then consider putting her in another room or her crate while you eat. If she’s a habitual offender, here are six easy steps to break the begging habit.
Keep your dog’s tail wagging to the right (he’s happy!) not the left (he’s afraid!) by socializing and training him to fit into your life and your neighborhood. Everyone will thank you for raising a well-mannered canine.