I just want to take a few minutes to emphasize proper etiquette when meeting dogs in public.
- The first and best option is to Leave them alone – leave their owner alone and allow them to work as a team (I often smile and maybe wave or give them a thumbs up without being intrusive).
- The second option is to ask the handler from a short distance if you can pet their dog and wait for the answer. Some owners may say yes, some may say no and some may say yes but have instructions for how to safely allow their dog to say hello to you.
- If the owner says no, DO NOT swear, yell or act entitled. The dog is not your property. Throwing a temper tantrum and acting entitled just makes you look silly.
- If you are taking your young puppy in a pet friendly store, bring a towel or blanket and place them in the cart. Do not let everyone pet your puppy. You want that socialization experience to be positive. Too much touching, petting and grabbing can begin to make a puppy uncomfortable.
- Do not allow your on-leash dog to greet another dog on leash. Most times this ends in a dog fight and allows your dog to lose confidence in your ability as a handler to keep them safe. Keep your dog next to you and reward them for paying attention to you!
- If you take your dog in public places, respect the facility. Please keep a close eye on your dog and if they make a mess, clean up after them. Even if you need to ask an associate for clean-up materials, please don’t leave a mess behind for another customer or employee to find. (taking dogs in public is a privilege but if dogs start peeing on merchandise or leaving messes in the aisle, those privileges will be revoked).
I take dogs in public often, but I usually wear a backpack with clean up supplies and treats. And if I allow my dogs to get on something, I make sure it is safe and isn’t anything that is going to damage or affect the product. Pallets, cardboard boxes, salt blocks, heavy equipment or items that paw prints won’t hurt are safe.
Lastly, if I am talking my dog into a store, I try to make a purchase of some sort. I usually combine my session with an errand to pick up something I need as appreciation for allowing me to come into the store. And lastly, make sure you are not blocking an aisle or products. Move out of the way for any customers or patrons of the store.
Limit your pet visits to stores that allow dogs. Do not take your personal dog into grocery stores or stores that do not allow pets. And DO NOT pass your poorly behaved, poorly socialized dog off as a service dog so you can take them with you wherever you go. That is fraud. Those dogs make it difficult for actual service dogs to do their job and assist their handler.
Respect other dog owners, respect service dogs and the jobs they need to do, respect the facilities that you are visiting and respect your dog enough to ensure going out in public will be a positive experience for them. Sometimes starting at a park or parking lot for a few weeks is needed before setting foot in a store to set your dog up for success.
This sounds like a Debbie Downer post, but it is important to be aware of everyone we are exposing our dogs to and have respect for the stores and their merchandise. Visiting stores with our dogs is a privilege and I don’t want businesses to take that option away because of bad manners and disorderly dogs.