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Dog Walking Etiquette

Owning a dog is one of life's great joys, but it's also a huge responsibility. As a dog owner, you are responsible (and often legally liable) for anything your dog does, and something as simple as taking your dog for a walk comes with a whole lot of rules you need to be aware of and follow.

When you take your dog for a walk around your neighborhood, it is your responsibility to make sure that both you and your dog show respect for other people, other dogs, and property, whether it is public or private. Stick to the following dos and don’ts when you take your dog for a walk, and you and your dog will become valued and respected members of your community.

Leashes - They're Not Optional!

  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times, not only for his safety, but for the safety of other dogs and people as well. They only time your dog should be off leash is when you are in a designated off leash area. This applies even if your dog is well trained.

Leashes keep your dog away from children, other dogs, and people who might not like dogs. They also prevent your dog from running off into the woods. This is especially important in Canada, where there may be bears, coyotes or other animals in the trees, all of which could hurt or even kill your dog.

Most importantly though, on leash rules apply to everyone. Even if you think they don't. Be courteous, and keep your dog leashed!

Prevent Property Damage

  • While you're out walking, you're responsible for anything your dog does. Whether that's jumping up on someone's car and scratching it with his nails or stealing and chewing a child's toy. Keep a close eye on your dog, and keep him away from other people's stuff!

Always Carry Poop Bags!

  • Always ensure that you have a bag with you, and pick up after your dog if he relieves himself during your walk. Make sure you dispose of those bags in a proper garbage receptacle too. Simply tossing a tied bag into the bushes defeats the whole purpose of cleaning up after your dog!
  • Don’t let him relieve himself on private property either. Whether it's a number one or a number two, if it's someone else's lawn, it's not okay!

Respect Boundaries

  • Don’t let your dog approach other people or their dogs unless you get the go-ahead from them. There are dogs and people who don’t like to have dogs they don’t know approach them, so make sure to keep your dog close to you if you are not invited to approach. Whether it's an aggressive dog talking a walk with his owner, or someone with a dog phobia, they have as much right to be there as you do, so make sure your dog doesn't ruin THEIR walk!

Avoid Confrontations

Not all dogs are friendly, and that's okay. Make sure that you don’t allow your dog to behave in a dominant manner with other dogs, as this will only start a fight, but do make sure that your dog stays close to you and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

If you know that your dog is unfriendly towards strange people and other animals, then make sure to only walk him around your neighborhood when it is quiet, such as very early in the morning, or late in the evening, to avoid any possible confrontations.

Always remember that if your dog harms another person or property, you, as their owner, could be legally liable for any costs, and even face criminal charges. It's not worth it. Be responsible, be respectful, so we can all enjoy our outdoor spaces!

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