I’ve always been a cat person but when I moved in with my partner, I also inherited a new furbaby dog – Gizmo. I had my own crash course in learning how to care for a dog (albeit unproperly) when I first arrived because my partner was away on business and so I had to care for Gizmo for the first 2 weeks on my own and just winged it.
Up to this point, I had never owned a dog or had to take care of one, so it was new to me. But since I’ve had cats in the past, I figured it would be pretty similar, boy was I wrong. In those first 2 weeks, I basically undid all the hard work and training my partner spent years developing with Gizmo.
So now we’ve started back in with the routines and rules that I so haphazardly flinged aside in those first few weeks I took care of him, and his behaviour is much better. As a new dog owner I’m noticing other people and their dogs and seeing a lot of not so great behaviour which I find rather unfortunate because they give the rest of us dog owners a bad rap. Dogs are like children, they need structure, and if you don’t give it to them, you run the risk of raising an unruly dog that may wreak havoc. Here are just some things as dog owners we should all take into account:
Just because you have a dog, doesn’t mean you get to hog the whole sidewalk and let your dog roam everywhere. Not everyone likes dogs and you shouldn’t assume that they do. You and your dog are not the centre of the universe.
Please pick up after your dog
People who have dogs you NEED TO PICK UP AFTER THEM! Your dog is not a wild animal walking around on its own doing its own thing. You are responsible for them, and this also goes hand in hand with the be considerate point. No one wants to look at or smell dog feces and as an owner I’m sure you feel the same whay (which is probably why you just left it there) but if you own a dog, you need to take responsbility for that ownership and not shirk your duties.
Keep your dog on the leash at all times (unless you’re in a designated off-leash area)
I really get annoyed by people who just let their dogs roam everywhere withouth a leash, especially in public parks. I don’t know how many times, we’ve been at the park, enjoying a little picnic on a blanket when I dog just runs up and starts sniffing at all our food and trampling over our things. Plus it gets Gizmo all riled up because he’s quite protective and and he gets upset. I love dogs and sometimes when an unleashed dog comes running up and sniffing, I admit, I get sucked in and give the dog attention. But not all people like dogs and especially some dogs can be unpredictable, so I’d rather the owner be close by to control the dog, instead of a hundred meters away, yelling at the dog to come back.
Keep your dog on a tight leash
A side walk or trail or path is meant to be shared. Also, in North America you should always walk on the right side (don’t get me started about that – that’s for another post). Anyway, same with walking your dog, please try to stay on the right as much as possible and also, keep you dog on a tight leash. Letting it walk ahead of you or way to the left on a slack leash isn’t helping you, the dog or the rest of the people trying to walk. You are allowing your dog too much control when you let them pull you along – who’s the alpha in the relationship? So if you
see a bunch of people walking the opposite way down the sidewalk, just do a very simple thing – reign the dog in and keep them close to you. And if the dog does get in someone’s way, please don’t give that person a dirty look and huff and puff as if it’s a huge inconvenience for you the dog owner because the other person has to say excuse me and figure how to navigate the wide berth you have given yourself, your slack leash and your dog that’s wondered off. It’s OK and encouraged to say sorry and try and move you and your dog out of of the way.
Pay attention to your dog
Again, think of dogs like children, you wouldn’t just walk off, talking or texting on your phone while they’re trailing behind you getting into all sorts of trouble (well, hopefully you wouldn’t do that as a parent, but obviously that’s not the case either…) but anyway, I’m aiming for the best case scenerio. OK – I get it, sometimes you need to send a text or make a call while you’re walking your dog, but I’m sure for those 15 minutes you can get off your phone and pay attention to your dog. I’ve encountered many occasions when people are so immersed in their phone that they have no idea tha their dog is relieving themselves where they shouldn’t be, or the dog wants to relieve themselves, but the person is so busy texting and walking that they could care less that the dog needs to take a pit stop. Your dog is not arm candy, if you own a dog, please don’t treat it as a piece in your collection of accessories.
These are just a few things we as dog owners should be aware of. I know there are more things I can write about, but for now I’m going to leave it here, as I feel these are the most important ones to note. Please love and respect your dog, in fact, please just love and respect all living creatures (animals and humans alike).