Local dog trainer Steve Andrews offers some great top tips on dog etiquette when out and about.

With the dog population at an all-time high here in Suffolk it’s never been more important to look at some good old-fashioned respect and etiquette – but it’s not the dog at the end of the leash we need to look at. Here are just a few tips that will hopefully help all dog owners enjoy their dogs and their walks a little more.

  • Do start off on the right track in building value of you to your puppy/dog. Don’t build value in other people and other dogs. You can do this by making your dog earn the valuable resources in life such as its food, toys, affection, and freedom.
  •  Do use a training line and teach your dog a reliable recall in a quiet environment first then proof the recall around increased distractions.
  • Don’t think that socialisation is letting your puppy/dog run up and play with all the dogs on the park. In fact, this is a poor way to socialise your dog and can often quickly cause conflict between dogs that don’t know each other with one or both being injured.
  • Don’t be that person that shouts out “Don’t worry he’s friendly.” An on-leash dog on the park could be on leash for a reason. It could be a genetically insecure dog; it could have been attacked by another dog and is now reactive when put under too much pressure. It could be working with a trainer to get over issues and your dog running into it has now set it back in its training.
  • Do recall your off-leash dog when you see an on-leash dog approaching. It’s highly unfair on the  on- leash dog to have a dog run up to it and may force that dog to exhibit fight or flight behaviour.
  • Don’t be offended if another dog owner or member of public asks you to call your dog and keep it under control – it’s your obligation to train and control your dog at all times whilst in a public space
  •  Do ask permission before you attempt to stroke or engage with another person’s dog.
  • Do socialise your dog by teaching it that everything around it is neutral other than you! Taking your dog up to other on-leash dogs can cause conflict and quickly build optimism of a meet and greet. When this is not on the cards you can often see dogs become frustrated and this can result in your dog becoming reactive to other dogs.
  • Do control your dog’s level of freedom if it’s on a retractable leash (flexi) whilst walking around around other dogs.  Whilst it is on a leash letting your dog run towards and around other dogs and people can cause problems for other dogs, as well as wrap around owners’ legs.
  • Don’t judge!  That owner with the reactive/aggressive dog could well have adopted it and is trying to work it through some negative behaviours (if all safety protocols are being adhered to with a leash and muzzle then all is good).  If you get a chance to congratulate them on trying to give a dog a better life!

If we can all remember to respect each other’s space – there’s plenty of it in and around our beautiful town – respect each other’s dogs, train and build solid and reliable behaviours in our dogs we will all enjoy them so much more!

For more information awww.steveandrewsdogtrainer.comwww.steveandrewsdogtrainer.combout Steve’s dog training, visit www.steveandrewsdogtrainer.com

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