Proper Pup Etiquette

Proper Pup Etiquette
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Bill Lindsey
We like to think our pooches are very well-behaved, but how they behave in public, among strangers and other dogs, is the true test.

Sit, Stay

A properly trained pooch knows basic commands and, more importantly, obeys them while out and about. Knowing “sit, stay, come” at home is great, but immediately complying with these commands is critical when in public places such as stores and dog parks and while being walked in the neighborhood, where your dog is exposed to distractions such as other dogs, strangers, traffic, and many unfamiliar, possibly unsettling sounds.

Contagious Congeniality

Dogs are magnets for children and a lot of adults, making it important that your pup is OK with what might be a constant stream of attention. If your dog is a sweetheart around you and the family but snarls or barks at strangers, consider adding a “Do Not Pet” patch to the dog’s harness or attach a red bandana or ribbon from the leash as a sign your pet needs some space.

Acrobatics Are for the Circus

Some dogs become excited or scared while out in public and jump on their owners or perhaps on people who come over to meet them. In addition to not being an example of good pup manners, this behavior can lead to cuts or scrapes on unprotected human legs, paw prints on trousers, and tears in stockings. Unexpected, unsolicited jumps onto furniture are another example of improper pooch behavior; “down” means no jumping.

No Surprises

Nature can come calling at the most inopportune time for a dog or its owner, so it’s best to be prepared. This starts with using the facilities before leaving home. Train the dog, using snacks as a reward, to let you know by means of scratching at the door or giving you a meaningful look when it needs to take a potty break. If an accident happens, clean it up promptly.

Chew Your Own Food

One of the worst things a dog can do is steal food from your plate, or even worse, from someone else’s plate. Don’t encourage bad manners by giving your dog bits of your meal as you sit at the table. A similar infraction is stealing food from a countertop, a crime more often committed by breeds such as Labradors than dachshunds—but only because dachshunds can’t reach that high!
Bill Lindsey is an award-winning writer based in South Florida. He covers real estate, automobiles, timepieces, boats, and travel topics.
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