Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Dog-Walking Etiquette

LianneCatherine
July 5th, 2006, 03:17 PM
I have a REALLY amateur question, well because, that's what I am! I'm 24 with my first puppy ever, and I've found in the past 7 months that there are many MANY things I still don't know about dogs and "dog people."

For instance, when walking your dog and you see someone else on the street - how do you react? Should I move the pup over so that person can get by? Do I wait for a response from them, in case they want to pet her? If someone says "aww" should I let Audrie go up to them?

I don't want to offend anyone by either pulling her away or NOT pulling her away...what's the rule?

Then the situation is further complicated if the person has a dog too. The dogs will naturally check each other out and pull/bark,etc. if you don't let them sniff each other. I am terrified of anything happening to Audrie though, and I don't really trust other dogs. How do you know if another dog is going to be nasty? Do Yorkies have natural breed adversaries? How will I know if another dog is about to "snap?"

I guess the main question is: how do I walk her without 1) offending others, and 2) risking an attack? :confused:

jawert1
July 5th, 2006, 03:36 PM
My rule of thumb is giving a wide berth period (tho I have a leash aggressive Peach). We walk a specific route every day, one that is fairly open and gives me room to maneuver both dogs in the event another person or person w/ dog come our way. Personally, even if Peaches weren't leash aggressive, I'd still move as far off as possible, simply because one never knows *who* is a dog person and who is not, and with my 2 topping out at 60lbs, that could really freak someone out. Since you have a wee doggy, and a cute one at that, it comes down to what you feel are her best interests. If someone wants to pet her, you may want to insist on them asking first, which means keeping her closer, especially if you're on a walking path. That too means she's closer to you in the event someone else with a dog comes by, and more in your control. Honestly, I've had too many ppl let their dogs out on leash and get VERY close to us, thinking that my 2 are friendly because they're good together. I've also had kids run right up to us and not ask, which Simon is no good with children at all and Peaches just loves on them. I guess I look at it as I know my dogs are MUCH different than their outward appearance would deem, and so I treat others the same way, and if it comes across rudely, then oh well. Not to frighten you (or ramble), but I had a small Bichon Frise puppy charge us last Thanksgiving, barking and growling and trailing his leash (owner was a twit kid who just let him run without looking in the courtyard first). Peaches and Simon both were in a sit, and while Peaches is the one that worries me, Simon was the one that jumped and grabbed the puppy and proceeded to shake it violently (Simon is an English Pointer). Prior to and after this, Simon never again did anything like that and gets along wonderfully on leash with other dogs, and even plays (as best he knows how). You can never tell 100% all the time if another dog is going to react badly, and so it's generally best to socialize your puppy (through obedience classes - petsmart offers nice lower cost ones which I've taken Simon to) and make sure she knows her commands. You can't trust that other owners have done their homework, but if you've done yours, the chance of incident is decreased.

lewisw
July 5th, 2006, 03:55 PM
Then the situation is further complicated if the person has a dog too. The dogs will naturally check each other out and pull/bark,etc. if you don't let them sniff each other. I am terrified of anything happening to Audrie though, and I don't really trust other dogs. How do you know if another dog is going to be nasty? Do Yorkies have natural breed adversaries? How will I know if another dog is about to "snap?"
I guess the main question is: how do I walk her without 1) offending others, and 2) risking an attack? :confused:

That was a GREAT question. I was wondering the same . When I walk my Dani she LOVES to go up to people and jump up on them and kiss them (More so to strangers then us as far as jumping goes but that's another thread)

Okay people is no problem you can see they want her to come up to them but the question was good with other dogs as I am always wondering when I walk Dani and someone is walking the other way she wants to go see and smell the other dog. So far it has NEVER hapened that someone said please don;t let your dog come to mine other then once when two girsl were walking there dogs together and one said don;t let her go to mine as she is a real bitch . A small Bson Frise as well. The other dog that looked like a pit mix was so happy to get to smell Dani and I could see she was happy as her tail was going a mile a minute.

Best
Lewis

pitgrrl
July 5th, 2006, 07:05 PM
I think it's unfair to assume that every other person with a dog wants to allow them to meet, for a few reasons.
The person may be working on training, may be in a rush, or may have a dog aggressive dog. For example, I've worked really hard to get my dog aggressive dog to ignore any dogs we pass on our walks, but every dog that is allowed to run up to us makes this training harder.
I always give other people and their dogs lots of space and really appreciate it when others do the same.
If you want your dogs to meet, just ask while still at a distance. This gives the other person an opportunity to just say yes or no, rather than having to look like a bit of a freak when they say "stop, do not come any closer" or whatever.

Puppyluv
July 5th, 2006, 07:17 PM
I tend to watch how the other owner reacts as we approach. I watch their hands and their face, to see if they are reeling their dog in, or loosening their hold. Depending on what I see, I either let Layla go sniff around, or else tighten Layla's lead. Usually, when they find out she's a female, they let them sniff around, but not always. One thing I have to say is, if a dog is approaching, or if they are sniffing and you don't feel comfortable,. DON"T PICK UP YOUR DOG! Back away, reel her in, but don't pick her up. It screws up the pecking order completely. It drives me nuts when people do this.

Dogastrophe
July 5th, 2006, 07:47 PM
Regardless of whether the ppl coming towards me are "dog friendly" ppl or if they have a dog with them, I will tend to move mine over to the right hand side of the sidewalk / grass area off the sidewalk giving the person coming sufficient room to walk right past with no dog obstruction. How far to the right I move them depends on which dog or dogs I am walking at the time. My oldest will walk along the edge and, other than glance up, will not pay much attention to ppl (other dogs is another matter as he tends to pull toward them, which results in him being on a short lead tucked right next to my right leg).

My middle dog, while she is quite friendly with most ppl, is a natural born jumper. Given the opportunity, particularily if the person stops to say hi, she will attempt to jump. As a result, she gets put on a short lead when ppl are approaching.

My youngest one loves ppl and other dogs but tends to get under foot if left to the farthest reach of his lead. To avoid tripping anyone he gets pulled to the side.

Melei'sMom
July 5th, 2006, 07:59 PM
One thing I have to say is, if a dog is approaching, or if they are sniffing and you don't feel comfortable,. DON"T PICK UP YOUR DOG! Back away, reel her in, but don't pick her up. It screws up the pecking order completely. It drives me nuts when people do this.

Why? I would really like to know as I am one of those who will pickup my dog if a big one is too curious. she is very scared around big dogs.

kaytris
July 5th, 2006, 08:47 PM
a few reasons:

-the dog in your arms is confined and unable to retreat or greet in a normal manner (dogs meeting for the first time curve in and sniff butts, not faces) Thus, it may feel no choice but to defend itself from unwanted advances with growls and snaps

-the dogs on the ground can't sniff to say hello , so they will have no recourse but to jump up - which is unpleasant for the person being jumped on, and leads again to more defensive posturing by the dog in arms, as owner tenses up and gets upset

mafiaprincess
July 6th, 2006, 01:59 AM
For OB they always teach everything on your left. And I've found in real life sometimes it's helpful sometimes it's not.. So my dog has now learned pretty much every command both sides..

Whatever side she is on I move her onto the grass so the person walking by has like 2/3ds of the sidewalk to use.

As a pup she was jumpy with strangers and got kneed once because I should have pulled her back before it happened. It was my fault for being new and lacking etiquette.. I heard a story from a lady at the dog park. Same thing happened to her like 8 month old lab.. Guy kneed it so hard that it fell backwards landed on it's spine, broke it and had major nerve damage. Dog had to be pts it was apparently so severe and so high up the spine..

I find few people are all 'aww can I pet her' in the surrounding neighbourhoods so it's rarely an issue. It's better to be safe and just move the dog out of the way.

When it comes to dogs I seem to keep meeting aggressive one's and the owner's rarely say anything till they are ontop of each other. So I ask when we are like 20ft away if the owner hasn't purposely moved the dog out of the way (in which I'll do the same).

Only time I reel my dog in is on 75ft of leash in a park when we are playing where some idiot has let their dog off leash cause who cares about leash laws... I want her closer to me if their dog comes all the way over to say hello. I have no idea what their temperament is, and I don't want problems to happen that far away from me.

chico2
July 6th, 2006, 08:02 AM
I am new to the dog-walking thing too:confused:
I move over to the side with Bailey if someone approaches,Bailey will growl and bark at some people,I don't know why??
Others she's her regular sweet self...
As for meeting other dogs,I try to avoid it..
Baileys owner says,she can be agressive while on leash,but gets along great with others off leash:confused:
I would never dare letting her off leash,other than in my backyard.

LavenderRott
July 6th, 2006, 09:21 AM
Ok - I am old and therefore old school about the whole dog walking thing.

While I may not always expect my dog to be heeling while we are walking, I do expect the leash to be loose and there should be no funny business going on.

Along this same lines - I decide who will approach or pet my dog. Just because some one looks like they want to doesn't get it. If you want to pet my dog, use the manners that your mamma taught you and ask. Don't just assume that because he has four legs and hair that it is your right to get in his face.

I always yield the right of way. Always. It kind of goes with the above.

Joey.E.CockersMommy
July 6th, 2006, 09:28 AM
I usually try to give sort of a wide birth too - I can now get Joey to walk by nicely - but its pretty iffy if I let them meet. Joey will let the sniffing part happen for about thirty seconds - then its like get out of my space.

If another owner wants the dogs to meet - I will tell them know that Joey is not good with other dogs sometimes but we are trying to socialize him - it seems to take him a few times of meeting the same dog before he is comfortable with them.

With people most kids ask to pet Joey - I usually say yes now and make Joey sit before he is petted - if a child is carrying a stuffy I warn them as Joey will try to steal it. :D

I wont let Joey go up to people just walking unless they approach them first. I think you can tell by someones body language if they like dogs or not. :D

papillonmama
July 6th, 2006, 10:00 AM
[QUOTE=chico2]

Baileys owner says,she can be agressive while on leash,but gets along great with others off leash:confused:

[QUOTE]


My dog is like this too, she's aggressive on leash but if she's off leash she's very good with other dogs. Several factors work into this, first, she was never trained on the leash, until I got her at one, so she wasn't socialized to the leash, so her rambunctious behaviour caused her to act crazy on leash, causing whoever was holding her to pull her back. I also heard that dogs need space when they meet, to kind of assess each other, and not giving them that space makes it awkward for them. Also pulling your dog away from other dogs gives them the impression that other dogs on leash are to be feared, something that they should protect you from. I also think that my dog doesn't really know the "normal" way that dogs say hello. I got her at one, so the really important socialization ages were missed.

So my dog is okay at first if the other person lets their dog meet her, but then she'll turn away, possibly growl, if she's on leash. if the other person says no their dog isn't good or for whatever reason she'll almost go crazy to see them.

Off leash she's so different, she initiates play, even with big dogs who on-leash she would act afraid of. It is strange, but it has a lot to do with how much training they've had and socialization as well.

I always leave space to let people walk, and since most people around here don't want their dogs interacting, not sure why, honestly I think a lot of them are poorly socialized, just like mine, so I just smile, tell them Dory needs some more socialization skills, and see how it goes from there. If I know the dog doesn't like Dory, or vice versa, I'll just walk across the street, no biggy.

LianneCatherine
July 6th, 2006, 02:57 PM
Good feedback, thanks everyone! :D

I guess it's impossible not to offend someone along the way, but it's better safe than sorry! I will keep Audrie at a distance from dogs and people unless they ask to pet her.

:pawprint:

dogmelissa
July 7th, 2006, 03:42 PM
Why? I would really like to know as I am one of those who will pickup my dog if a big one is too curious. she is very scared around big dogs.


If your dog acts scared around things (big dogs, cars, motorscycles, etc) and you pick her up, you're reinforcing that this is something she needs to be afraid of and that you are "protecting" her from that thing. If you want her to be unafraid of things, you must not coddle her. Don't pick her up, don't say "it's ok punkin" or react in anyway. All of those actions/sounds tell her it's *ok* to be scared, and you don't want that. You want to completely ignore her reaction (unless she's running for her life, obviously) and do your best not to be nervous either. If you tense up with the approach of a big dog, she reads in your body language that *you* are scared, and so she gets scared too. Then you pick her up and she will end up being so scared of big dogs (or whatever her fear is) that she may resort to fear-biting or fear-aggression later.
Whatever the fear is, you have to do everything in your power to not get tense when you see it. Don't reel her leash in (unless you do this for *all* dogs), don't say anything to her, don't pick her up. Step off the path if you need to let the other dog go by or whatever. Best if you find a neighbour or friend who has a large dog that is good with small dogs and have them visit. Set up a "meeting" on a walk. If you have a happy conversation with your friend, and your dog has a happy meeting with the big dog, then she will be less afraid next time she sees a big dog. Let her play with big dogs whenever possible (under supervision so the big dogs don't accidentally hurt her).

It is very important that you do this now, before this problem gets worse. My dog used to be afraid of men, and walking him was very stressful for me, as he'd bark and growl and worse, lunge at men. Now, he's not very big, but if he were to do this to a child, or an elderly man, who then fell down and got hurt, I'd feel horrible, plus I could be sued! Or if he did connect with the person and they reacted by kicking, then my dog gets hurt. I've had to work on this for a very long time (over a year), and he isn't perfect yet, which is probably a lot to do with things that are my fault (I start thinking about how he's badly behaved as soon as I see a man ahead). But he no longer lunges at them. He will stop barking a lot faster now, and sometimes doesn't even bark at all, just growls when he sees a man. My dog was abused, so I don't want him to totally forget what kind of person abused him, but I don't want him to hurt innocent people, or make people scared of him either. So I'm doing everything I can to prevent that.
I worked at the local Humane Society for 3 years, and honestly the scariest dogs were the ones that were small and who had been coddled (ie picked up or removed from situations they found scary). They were the ones who were most fear-aggressive in the shelter. So please don't coddle your dog!

Sorry for the length of this,
Melissa

mastifflover
July 7th, 2006, 04:13 PM
Great advice Melissa. I am the owner of a very big dog who is not the least bit aggressive. But he has been attacked by quite a few small dogs and what really makes me mad is when the owners laugh and think how cute it is the little dog attacking the big one. Not. Luckily for me and the small dogs Bud would never intentionally hurt any dog. But when the owner laughs I usually respond with so if my dog retaliates will you still be laughing because I will not be, but if you trained your dog it might not get killed by another dog it decides to attack. I always give a wide berth to people when we walk Bud can be intimidating if you do not know him. but has a few fans on our walking route who know what a big baby he is.

Melei'sMom
July 10th, 2006, 11:11 PM
Thank you for the advice. I will figure out how to work on the fear of other dogs, because unforutanatly it is all other dogs she is afraid of. mind you, i haven't seen one smaller then her yet, but there are a couple she sees quite reqularly that are only marginnally bigger then her and she is scared of them too. I wold be hard pressed to find one smaller then her anyway.

I don't walk her on paths etc, because she can't do more than a block or so, then I have to carry her because she is tired...tiny legs lol.

She gets most of her excerise playing with the kids in the house and she does the 'shihtzu hot laps'

Joey.E.CockersMommy
July 10th, 2006, 11:30 PM
Joey is not good with dogs bigger then him either - male or female on or off leash doesnt matter. He will want to meet them and be all excited but as soon as the sniffing starts thats when he will snarl at the other dog. Anyways we are continously working on it - but I dont think Joey will be dog park dog - instead I'd like him to be able to be tolerant of other dogs and have few dogs he may be able to socialize with.

There is a rotti puppy living next door - he is now grown to the same size as Joey and will soon surpass him I am sure. They met once and Joey growled at him (then he was smaller then Joey) Thought that Joey would be more tolerant of a puppy but doenst seem to be the case. Yesterday they met again. Joey growled as I expected he would. I told him "no growl then they sniffed again - Joey growled again - but less aggressively this time - the third time I made Joey sit and the puppy sniffed Joey - Joey was pretty nervous I could tell - but didnt growl - he got lots of praise then.

Anyways I am not skilled at this either its a total learning experience - there is a few dogs now that Joey will tolerate - but it has taken Joey meeting them a few times.

Actually I have picked Joey up before too - but I will stop now :o I picked him up one time when the lab at the corner was lose and was literally running straight for Joey teeth barred and hair standing on end. His owner was running after him but the dog was going straight for Joey. Apparenlty we set foot on their property and the dog is very territorial - so if my dog were in danger of getting hurt I would pick him up.

Prin
July 11th, 2006, 01:25 AM
a few reasons:

-the dog in your arms is confined and unable to retreat or greet in a normal manner (dogs meeting for the first time curve in and sniff butts, not faces) Thus, it may feel no choice but to defend itself from unwanted advances with growls and snaps

-the dogs on the ground can't sniff to say hello , so they will have no recourse but to jump up - which is unpleasant for the person being jumped on, and leads again to more defensive posturing by the dog in arms, as owner tenses up and gets upset
Those and also that raising them up above the other dogs puts them in a dominant position (they can't normally snap a huge dog in the face, can they?) and as a result, both dogs can become more aggressive.

Also, believe it or not, if you have to get away fast, your dog can run better on the ground than in your arms.:D

When I walk my dogs, both of whom are not leash aggressive or dog aggressive, I never let them near other dogs we meet on the street. Why? Simply because if there is a fight, being on the leash is actually harder (IMO) because they get all tangled up and because they do become more aggressive on a leash than they would be off leash. And dogs on leashes also tend to overreact to everything, too. Not an ideal situation.

If you want to socialize your dog, have doggy meet-ups with people in your neighborhood or something. The sidewalk, where the dogs are confined by the boundaries of the actual sidewalk and by the leashes, is no place for socialization, IMO.

I usually walk straight by people with dogs and put myself between my dogs and the dog we're crossing. If their dogs are especially bad on a leash, because my dogs are fairly big, they tend cross the street... :o

About dog or non-dog people, with two big black doggies, you can tell very easily. People tend to start to smile if they are dog people and tense up if they aren't. I have found that if people think it is really important to touch my dog, they'll approach me. So as a rule, I give people ample space to pass me and DEFINITELY avoid the accidental nuzzle/crotch jab as we walk by (the dog goes to sniff and doesn't have enough time and then there's a collision resulting in Mr Businessman on the ground clutching his manhood...:eek: :o Big dogs, eh? :D)

Also definitely don't worry about being rude. REALLY, don't. You have to do what is right for your baby's safety and future socialization. Did you read in another thread, about the crazy lady following mafiaprincess- I posted a few days ago about how I met a dobie who could barely stand up because the owner let a drunk pet him and the drunk fell on him and broke his hip?:sad:

Safety first. Always.

mastifflover
July 11th, 2006, 08:03 AM
Oh prin that poor dobie. I never let anyone intoxicated near my dog Bud get nervous with people he does not know besides I cannot handle drunks

LibbyP
July 11th, 2006, 02:50 PM
Walking the big girl she is quite intimidating(if people ever knew she'd trip me running from the stranger they'd LOL) I walk her on a loose lease until I see someone coming with/without a dog I have her sit and wait until the people pass. I have to agree with the others advice as NOT to pick up your little dog, and not to coddle it if it becomes afraid.