Dog Etiquette is a personal issue that can impact on public perceptions
Dog Etiquette is largely a personal issue. What I expect from my dogs and from myself is an expression of how I do things. Everyone else has their own way doing things. So what I say here is my point of view.
Chilly and Max are medium to large dogs. Chilly is 30kg and Max is 45kg, so when they go running up to people or dogs who don’t know them, it can be pretty frightening. Most people see the huge smile and the furiously wagging tail, but others are fearful of dogs or protective of their smaller dogs. So I have a command that lets Max, (in particular as he is the one who absolutely loves everyone and their dogs enthusiastically), know that he needs to check himself and slow down. I say, “gentle!” to remind him that he needs to slow down and approach in a gentle manner. Often he will then look to see if the person welcomes him over, or he will veer away and wait for me to take him over to meet his new friend.
In terms of dog etiquette, the important thing is that my dogs will react to my commands. This allows for a great deal freedom for them, as I am confident that they will come to me when called.
I do a lot of little things that constantly remind them that I am “she who must be obeyed”. Rituals like sitting and waiting for the command before they can eat helps, along with sitting before the leads go on or off. I give them a great deal of latitude but they know my word is final. I rarely need to punish, but if I do it is in the form of lost freedom. My dogs value their freedom so much it doesn’t happen often.
This discipline is balanced with a whole lot of loving. The very first thing that happens in the morning is big hugs and my total attention. They begin the day knowing they are a loved and valued part of the family. Any chance I have to cuddle them through the day and have a play is enjoyed by all of us.
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