Owning a dog is a big responsibility. Most of us get a dog and strive to be the best owner possible. In my many years of owning dogs and other animals, I have sadly seen all of these habits. These habits show disrespect not only to other people, but their pets and the environment as well. Do the right thing, be a responsible dog owner!
1. Leaving poo behind or hanging it up
The amount of dog poo I see left in my area is gross. Like, the last thing you want is to step in dog poo while you are picking up your dog's poo (Yes this has happened to me and I was fuming!) The other issue I see is bags of poo being left hanging in a tree like a smelly bauble. Again, can we say disgusting?! Not only is it unsightly, but some bags are not biodegradable and will stay there for awhile, bringing more harm to the environment. Dog fouling is under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 with on the spot fines of up to £80. Ensure you bring plenty of bags with you on walks. You can never have too many!
2. On the phone your whole walk/time out
While there are occasions you may need to take a call while out with your dog (we are human after all), it's just best left for another time. I've seen people on the phone chatting away while their dog is off running around and the owner is just not paying attention. This can lead to issues if your dog goes bounding to a reactive or elderly dog. Dogs are mischievous and anything can happen in a blink of an eye. Dogs need love and attention. No point in having a dog if you have no intentions of spending quality time with them. It's always better to be ready and prepared. Your dog will also thank you for being there for them and not ignoring them!
3. Letting an off lead dog go with no recall
This one at the moment is a real problem and is my biggest pet peeve. We all want dogs to run free and have a good time, who doesn't? However this can really bring some big consequences with it if not managed properly. Off lead should only be done in safe areas away from traffic. Your dog should be coming back every time when called before you even entertain letting them off their lead.
I only offer solo walks which means I have a few clients that are reactive or shy and do not enjoy another dog's company. So when I see another dog running up unattended or has poor recall, I have to be my client's guide to calmly lead them away from the situation. It also means I may be forced to change my walking route because someone is not paying attention and is letting their off lead dog interrupt others. Off lead dogs can really hurt a shy or reactive's dog's confidence. Be courteous to others and ensure you don't have this habit!
4. Peeing on other's property
Dog urine contains salts and other compounds that can leave stains and marks on property. It also carries a strong smell that no one wants lingering around. But most of all, it's just plain rude to allow your dog to have a pee on your neighbor's fence, shrubs, flowers, or bins. Male dogs do have the tendency to urinate frequently to mark their territory, but this is still no excuse. Your dog will be able to wait long enough to a more appropriate spot to relieve themselves. This sets boundaries for your dog and that they cannot just go wherever they please.
5. Endless barking or howling
If your dog is barking or howling constantly, there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed with a vet or behaviourist. There are many ways to solve this issue other than making it everyone else's issue. Popping your dog in the back garden to just settle down or stop barking may save your ears, but your neighbors may have a different opinion. People will soon take a disliking to your dog (and you) if you are not careful in how to approach this issue.
6. Allowing dogs to jump
Dogs are friendly, we know! And jumping is usually a greeting trait of a very energetic and excited dog. But it's just not good manners or training to allow a dog to jump all over another person or another dog. Jumping up on a person could cause them to fall and injure themselves. Or they just might not be too keen on dogs. If your dog jumps all over another dog, this could bring out a nasty fight. If you know your dog can be a bit too excitable around new people, ask them to sit before the other person or dog approaches. If they are off lead, you are better off recalling and putting them back on the lead so that the other person can pass uninterrupted.
7. Forcing Friendly
Forcing a dog to be 'friendly' or sociable can lead to bites quickly. It can also cause them to fear other people or animals by not enjoying the experiences your have made them tolerate. This includes forced hugs, petting, or greeting other new dogs. A fearful dog may lash out to defend itself and it's usually then the dog that is blamed for it's behaviour and not the owner. Listen and pay attention to your dog's body language and behaviour. If they seem uncomfortable, do not force it. Each dog has their own personality and personal boundaries. Forcing is rude to the dog, but also irresponsible.
8. Saying ''They're friendly'' to excuse poor behaviour
Too many times have I seen a dog coming at me full speed with the owner frantically recalling and the dog not listening. After about 5 or 6 recall attempts, the owner just seems to give up and instead shouts to me, ''it's ok, he/she is friendly!'' I am glad your dog is friendly, but what if the dog I have with me is not? Dogs must be taught the manners and skills they need to be part of the community. It's up to the owner to do this. Allowing an untrained dog off lead is negligent and irresponsible. It could lead to a fight with another dog or an altercation with another person. It's just not worth it! Be thoughtful and keep your dog on a long line until they're ready to be let loose without bothering other people out on their walks.
Do you have any other annoying habits you've seen? Let us know!
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