Summer is over. Everyone is back from vacation. The weather is cooling off. You know what this means?
That’s right, dog walkers are back!
Over the last few weeks, I’ve observed that spots that were nearly empty all summer long are filled with families and dogs all trying to enjoy the last of the warm weather and sunshine. I am right there with them.
Unfortunately, along with more people come more potential problems. So, what can you do to minimize problems for yourselves and your neighbors and make sure everyone has the best possible walk?
- Leash your dog. I know, I know, your dog is friendly, or well-trained, or [your description here], but—unless you are walking in an area where off-leash walking is explicitly allowed—do everyone a favor and keep your dog on a leash. Why? Because you never know when the unexpected will happen: a loose dog, a family of deer running across your path, or a family whose children are afraid of dogs. You will save yourself from a lot of potential problems by keeping your dog leashed up.
Watch your environment. Things happen. You may have worked on reactivity and leash manners until you think you could walk by anything, but you never know when a beaver is going to cross the road, and that might just be the thing you’re not ready for.
- Talk to other people. Your dog isn’t good with kids? (Or you aren’t sure.) Talk to those kids running towards you, before they get too close. Your dog loves to greet every dog he meets? Ask the person coming towards you if their dog is friendly before they get too close. And listen to what the other person says. This only works if communication goes both ways.
- Pay attention to your dog. This is a pet peeve of mine. So much so, that I have written an entire other blogpost about it, which means I don’t need to talk any more about it here. Right?
- Clean up after your dog. I would think this was just common sense, but I almost stepped in something unpleasant of canine origin in a field near my house yesterday, so I guess it’s not. Whether you use newspaper bags, special poop bags, or something else, carry them with you, ok? And, if you’re caught by surprise, ask another dog walker nearby. We’ve all been there. They’ll share.