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Owning a dog is a great joy, but it is also a great responsibility. Of course, you have a responsibility to give your dog plenty of love and care, but that responsibility also means being a good dog-owning neighbor. While you may think of etiquette as applying only to humans, etiquette applies to dogs too, both at home and out in your neighborhood.
Dog Etiquette at Home
- Greeting guests – If your dog acts out when people come over, whether you have a door dasher, an overexcited dog, or some other behavior problem, get to the bottom of it with some simple solutions. For a dog that gets overly excited, VetStreet recommends using a head halter or harness to keep your dog from lunging at guests. If your dog is prone to dashing out the door, keep them on a leash or use a barrier when guests arrive. As a long-term solution, work on training your dog to sit at doors and only release on command.
- Outdoor behavior – Time spent outdoors is when your dog has the biggest impact on neighbors. Your dog should never be allowed to wander loose outside your home. It is impolite to let your dog go into a neighbor’s yard, and it’s also important for your dog’s safety and the safety of others. Keeping your dog in your own yard is respectful to your neighbors and their pets. Even if your dog loves being social, a neighbor’s pet may not be as friendly and welcoming of your dog wandering into their yard. Installing a fence is an easy way to keep your dog safe in your yard and be respectful of neighbors. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install a wood fence in Houston is between $1,403 and $3,251.
- Being a good neighbor – Whether inside your home or outside, your dog’s barking is a noise that carries, so be aware of how much your dog barks and whether you should intervene. Barking is how a dog communicates, so a certain amount of barking is normal. But a dog that barks at every single sound, or who is left to bark incessantly outdoors, becomes a concern to you and your neighbors. If this is the case, anytime your dog barks inappropriately, call them to you and then reward them with praise and treats. Over time, this training will help reign in barking.
Out in the Neighborhood
- Be a polite walker – Being a responsible dog-owning neighbor extends to when you go for walks. Your dog should always be on a leash, for their own safety as much as for being polite to others who are out in the neighborhood. Be considerate about where your dog urinates too, taking care to avoid lawns, flowers, and mailboxes. And the number one rule of being a polite dog walker – always pick up their waste!
- Keep vaccines and identification current – Even when your dog is on a leash, being out in the neighborhood means your dog will be interacting with people and other dogs you encounter. For everyone’s health and safety, make sure your dog is always current on vaccines and has current identification with your contact information on their collar.
- Bring your manners to the dog park – Going to a dog park is a great way to help your dog get plenty of exercise and socialization, but etiquette rules apply to make sure everyone stays safe. Always clean up after your dog, just as you would on a walk. The American Kennel Club also says you should stay away if your dog shows any signs of illness, and when you’re there, keep a vigilant watch on your dog to make sure they never show signs of aggression.
You love your dog as a member of the family, so you should expect the same polite behavior from them as you would expect from any other member of the family. To foster that good behavior, train your pooch to behave appropriately at home, and make sure you’re respectful when out in the neighborhood. Follow these tips, and your dog will be a canine model citizen!