Minding your manners in the canine world Knowing the basics of pet etiquette helps everyon

Manners and etiquette is equally important for people and pets.

Etiquette includes basic training and awareness, said Kathy Belec, owner of Raise the Woof and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA).

Kris Rooney, the head trainer at Dogspaw also with CPDT-KA, explained etiquette includes teaching dogs impulse control, like accepting treats politely. Training your dog to obey commands like sitting or staying helps develop manners. Teaching your dog a focus command (a word or signal) is also useful.

“Your dog will focus on you instead of distractions like cats or other dogs,” said Belec.

If you get a puppy, socialize it by exposing it to sights, sounds, surfaces, people, and animals early on.  

“Socialize your puppy to things they’ll encounter in the world,” said Belec. Go slowly so the puppy doesn’t feel afraid or overwhelmed. Unsocialized dogs can become fearful.

“Don’t take an unsocialized dog to a dog park; it can lead to dog fights,” Belec added.

It’s not just up to pet owners, either. Asking permission to pet a dog is crucial.

“It’s really important you teach kids that even if the dog is still a puppy,” said Belec.

When someone asks to pet your dog, know your dog’s body language. If your dog hides behind you or you can see the whites of the eyes, your dog isn’t ready. But if your dog is relaxed and its tail is wagging, it’s likely fine.

Don’t pet a dog on its head.

“Most dogs don’t like being petted on the head,” said Rooney. “Scratch on the chest or shoulder. Crouch down and turn to the side.” Dogs greet each other from the side, not nose to nose.

Belec suggests greeting a dog at a distance. “Dogs have space just like people.”

And if you come across an aggressive dog, don’t run, as it can trigger a dog’s prey drive, the instinct to chase.

Rooney advised, “Stand still, tuck hands in close to your body. Be still and calm.”

“Don’t make eye contact. Ignore the dog—freeze. Be as boring as possible,” added Belec.

Featured Image: Both pets and people should know about things like training and body language. | Pixabay

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