Dog Ownership Etiquette- Tips for First Time Dog-Parents

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Dogs are amazing creatures that can light up our lives; however, for first-time dog-parents, the responsibility can be a bit overwhelming. Mainly if you adopt a young pup, you will have to start from scratch to train your canine and teach him acceptable behaviors. Many times a pooch is blamed if he doesn’t act in a specified manner although it is the owner’s fault for not raising him right.

Yes, the responsibility is enormous and will be a learning experience not just for your pooch but you as well. If you are a worried dog-parent, here are seven tips and tricks that will teach you the do’s and don’ts of dog ownership etiquette and how you can help your pup behave better around strangers, new dogs and in public places so keep reading:

Follow the Leash LawsLeash Laws + Socialize your dog

It is necessary to keep your canine on a leash when you take him out. Sudden encounters with an unleashed dog can be unpleasant and even intimidate many people. Your dog may also get lost, suffer an accident or pick a fight with another dog so make sure your furry companion is kept safe on a leash.

Socialize Your Dog

I can’t stress enough on the importance of socializing your pooch; it plays a vital role in shaping your dog’s behaviors. For instance, aggression is mainly caused due to fear of the unknown, so it is essential for you to teach your dog through positive experiences that it is fun to meet new people and dogs. Take your pooch to the doggy park and supervise his interactions with the newcomers. Don’t let him jump on other dogs and immediately intervene if you spot the risk of a fight breaking out.

Teach Him How to Greet StrangersGreeting Guests

Some dogs get super excited upon meeting and greeting people whereas others may get intimidated or aggressive. All these behaviors can be a cause of trouble; an overexcited pooch can jump on house guests and cause injuries or discomfort. Train your dog to be calm when meeting strangers, teach her to sit when the doorbell rings and after the guests walk in. Also, its best to exercise your dog a bit before so she can expend the excess energy.

Clean Up After Your Pooch

Don’t leave your dog’s poop on the sidewalk or in the park; it poses serious health risks for humans and other animals if touched or ingested. You also don’t want to spoil your neighbor’s day after he/she mistakenly lends in a pile of poop, so ensure that you clean up after your pooch. Always carry extra waste bags and dispose of poop in trash cans.

Taking Your Pooch to the Dog Park

You need to be cautious while taking your pooch to an off-leash area in the park. Ensure that your dog is exercised a bit beforehand (practice a bit of obedience training as well)and then head to the park, this way your dog will be calmer and display good doggie manners. Don’t get distracted in your conversation with other dog-parents; instead, walk with your dog to avoid fights or dangerous situations.

Find Out the Causes for Excessive BarkingDog Aggression Towards Other Dogs - how to socialize an aggressive dog

Barking is a form of communication for our canines, and some of it is okay, but excessive barking can become a nuisance for you and the neighbors. If you find your dog barking without any apparent reason, try to find out what might be the cause. If there are specific factors that trigger the behavior, work on eliminating these, for instance, if your dog barks due to boredom find out ways for your dog to expend his energy, get him mentally stimulating toys. When the behavior is due to separation anxiety or any other fear, then train your dog to overcome these and desensitize him to the stimulus.

Find dog barking deterrent or anti-bark device here.

Prevent Your Dog from Destroying Someone’s Property

Alright, so I do understand that it is impossible at times for dog-parents to prevent their pups from causing damage to someone else’s property or belongings but there are times when this can be controlled.  For instance, I have seen people who let their dogs urinate on fire hydrants or their neighbor’s lawns, shrubs, mailboxes, etc. Make sure you carry extra baggies on walks. Even if your dog manages to chew your friend’s shoes, the responsible thing to do is to own up the mistake and either replace the item or pay its monetary value. Don’t shout or punish your pup, instead focus on training your dog using positive reinforcement to correct these behaviors.

Lastly, make sure you care for your furry companion, it is essential to invest time in-house training and teaching basic commands. Our dogs may develop other behaviors that can be a cause of trouble and embarrassment for us such as destructive chewing (A friend’s chi chewed on her neighbors designer shoes, and she had to reimburse $600 as a token of apology, so you get the idea how much can such destructive habits cost us.)

The situation would have been prevented by training the dog to chew on objects made for this purpose such as toys or some types of bones that are safe for feeding. The same rule applies to other behaviors such as biting, aggression, etc. And the most important part, no matter how frustrated you may be, be patient with your canine and keep trying. After all, we can’t find another replacement for the love of our dogs.


Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.

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