In 2007, I wrote “The Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette.” The book demonstrates that well-mannered people and their well-mannered pets are more pleasant to be around, are treated better by everyone, and get invited to more places including restaurants, parties, vacation homes and more. This is especially true during the summer season – so I decided to provide you with a cheat sheet or crash course in summer pet etiquette. Here are eight tips to polish your pet performance in the summer’s heat when manners have a tendency to get lost in the pack.
Walking the Dog Walk. Use a four or six foot leash for control walking. Use a retractable leash in the park so that your pet can romp and run ahead.
Doggy Doos. Be kind to others by always picking up after your dog using a plastic bag that can be tied or sealed to contain the unpleasant odor. Deposit in appropriate waste receptacles.
Help Keep Your Neighborhood Beautiful. Neighborhood residents spend many hours and dollars keeping their community looking good. Give’ em a break. Keep your pet from out of neighbor’s front laws. Your dog could tramp delicate flowers, and his “fertilizer” is not the kind that residents wish to see or smell!
Meet and Greet. Although it is always fun to meet and greet new pet parents and their charges, do so politely and carefully. Ask other dog owners if their dog is friendly before allowing the canines to approach and sniff each other.
Make friends not enemies. Be on your best behavior by bringing a healthy, parasite-free and social dog to the dog run. While at the dog park, never reprimand or give food to another person’s canine. Most importantly, don’t bring toys to the dog park unless you want to share them or don’t mind them being destroyed.
Eating out. We all love to eat outside when the weather gets warmer, so why shouldn't your dog? Show consideration for others; take your dog to a restaurant only if she is not going to bark for attention, beg for food, and generally annoy other patrons. And don't expect your waiter to service your pet. Bring your pet's own accoutrements like portable water and food bowls. Leave at least a 20% tip for those waiters who provide excellent, pet-friendly service to you.
Be a Good Guest. When visiting family and friends in the beach, don’t assume a weekend invitation is for you and your dog. Call and confirm that your four-legged friend is a welcome addition and that she can enjoy herself without creating stress for you, your hosts or their other invited guests. Travel with a housebroken dog, bring all pet supplies necessary, and take care that nothing in your host’s home is destroyed, broken or covered in fur during your stay. Also, just in case, find out the name of a local pet sitter or dog kennel by visiting the websites of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Pet Sitters International or the American Boarding Kennel Association. Within 24 hours of your departure, send a thank you card from both of you.
Travel with social graces. When staying at a hotel, make cleaning up after your pet as easy as possible for yourself, your pet and the housekeeping staff. Feed your pooch in the bathroom so that messes can be easily wiped off the tile floor, and carry some moist towelettes in your luggage to wipe up the crumbs or slobber. Keep your pet in the crate when housekeeping is cleaning up your room. If your dog likes to sleep with you in bed, bring an extra sheet or blanket to prevent shedding or soiling on the linens. Most importantly, when you check out make sure you leave your room like you found it when you arrived – intact!
Look presentable. If you are worried that you and your pet may not be as presentable as you should be, take your dog to the groomer for a good summer haircut and bone up on your manners in obedience class. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations of canine professionals in your neighborhood.
So, whether taking your pooch for long walk to explore a new neighborhood or retreating to the beach for the weekend, being out and about more means being mindful of your manners. Remember that you and your pet are goodwill ambassadors for dogs and their owners. Obeying local health ordinances (i.e., pooper scooper, licensing and leash laws) and having a clean, well-mannered pet is a great way to make a favorable impression.