Written by Aurora James for LAA Pet Talk. Aurora believes there are no bad dogs. She created DogEtiquette.info to share her dog training tips and advice to dog owners everywhere. DogEtiquette.info welcomes and encourages anyone to use its infographics in their writing. It simply ask that you please cite and link to them as the source.
Dog etiquette is important. As of 2012, 36 percent of U.S. households owned dogs. That’s 43 million households, with a grand total of 69.9 million dogs. So, there’s a strong likelihood that you own a dog or have a neighbor who owns a dog. If that’s the case, here some etiquette tips for all the dog owners who are also trying to be good neighbors.
Installing a Fence
A good first step is to install a fence around your yard. According to Home Advisor, the average cost of installing a fence runs between $1,643 and $3,857. However, you’ll probably find that it’s worth the money. A good fence ensures that your dog won’t run away or trample through your neighbors’ lawns. Additionally, it gives your dog a sense of order and place, allowing it to roam while also keeping it safe from thieves, or (especially for small dogs) predators like hawks or coyotes. Make sure to install a doggie door to let your pooch access the backyard whenever it wants. Just like us, dogs need exercise to lose weight and not feel cooped up or depressed.
Picking Up After Your Dog
Another etiquette tip is to pick up after your dog. Leaving your dog’s waste on the sidewalk or the grass is unsightly. Of course, this courtesy is more than just cosmetic. Feces can attract rats or drop into the sewer system, contaminating the waterways. Some of the diseases that fester in dog poop include E. coli, giardia, salmonella, and roundworms. Left out in the open, they have a way of getting into the digestive tracts of other animals, or other people’s dogs, and then into their homes. So keep a doggie bag handy whenever you and your dog pop out for a stroll.
Keep It Down!
For centuries, people have kept dogs because they act as our sentries, pricking up their ears and barking if a trespasser approaches. They can also bay at the moon, howl for no reason, or yap at other dogs. Try to keep the decibel level down, especially at night. Maintain a household schedule to minimize the chance that your dog will yowl out of confusion. Then keep that schedule going into the evening hours, which will calm it down because it’s used to your bedtime pattern. Pet it and play with it throughout the day so that it doesn’t feel like it has to raise a ruckus to get your attention–and wake the whole neighborhood in the process.
Perhaps the cornerstone of being a good dog-owning neighbor is teaching your dog how to behave in public. A lot of that education starts with you. Be a considerate dog walker. Always keep your dog on a leash, and pay attention to where you’re going so that your dog doesn’t bump into a child or dash across someone’s yard. Also, be mindful of where you let it urinate. (Avoid parked cars or someone’s lawn or mailbox.) Regularly visit the vet, keep your vaccinations current, and make sure your address and phone number are engraved onto your dog’s collar. Finally, introduce it to the dog park, so it can play with other dogs.
Balancing the roles of good neighbor and good dog-owner isn’t impossible. Just make sure your dog is as well-mannered in public as it is in your house. You’ll know you’ve done a good job if your neighbors bend down and ruffle your dog’s ears when they pass you on the sidewalk.
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