You are in a grocery store and you see a little kid yelling, screaming, and tearing through the store running up and down the isles doing whatever they want. The first thing that runs through every person’s mind who is also in that store thinks “Control and discipline your kid or don’t take them out in public!”. The same goes for pets in public and surprisingly many dog owners have about as much control over their pets in public as parent do with their children. As a dog’s owner it is your responsibility to make sure your dog behaves in public. If you want to take your dog for a walk down the street or to play at the park, you have have a responsibility to the public to control your dog and maintain a safe environment. Nobody wants to hear and see an uncontrollable dog out in public, especially if the dog is prone to biting other people. However, if you do suffer from a dog bite, you might want to look into getting professional help from someone such as a Los Angeles dog bite lawyer as they are used to dealing with events like this.
A dog is technically “under control” when it is on a leash held by a person able to secure the dog. A medium to large dog would not be “under control” if it’s leash was held by a small child who would be unable to restrain the dog if it pulled the leash. Unless you are in a designated off-leash area, it is the law for dogs to be leashed at all times in public. The law applies to all dogs. As the owner you have a responsibility to the public. My friend had a Goldendoodle that was a bit of a terror in public but quickly responds to commands. If you want to learn more about the beautiful Goldendoodle, check out this website.
Even though in your opinion, your dog is “Friendly” and “off leash trained”, does not mean that dogs who are on a leash are friendly! I have seen it happen a million times – a person is walking their dog on a leash when another dog that is not leashed comes running up to them with the owners racing behind yelling “It’s okay! He’s friendly!” REALITY CHECK!!! The dog that is leashed may not be friendly! The leashed dog may be aggressive and attack the unleashed dog. The leashed dog may also feel threatened due to the fact they are restrained by a leash and can not escape this sudden advancement by the other dog. Just because your dog is friendly doesn’t mean everybody else’s dog is. So control and leash your dog to prevent unwanted confrontations and fights.
Not all people like dogs and a lot of them are afraid of dogs regardless if they are large or small. To a person who sees an unleashed dog in public their sense of fear is heightened. Unleashed dogs have the image of being vicious, aggressive and dangerous because there is no leash controlling them. Even a leashed dog can be seen as a threat to a non-dog loving person. Do not just let your dog walk up to or go near strangers. Dogs have a keen sense of people and they can sense fear a mile away. You do not know how your dog will react to each person they encounter. So keep a distance between your dog and strangers when out for a walk.
There are specific designated “OFF LEASH” contained fenced areas such as the dog park or the dog beach. Even when you and your dog are in an off-leash area, always monitor your dog’s behavior. You never know how dogs will react to each other. If you see your dog jumping on people, being a bully, humping other dogs, being aggressive or exhibiting other inappropriate behaviors put your dog on a leash and remove them from the area immediately.
Some people think that a jumping dog is rude, others think that licking is rude and dirty, and some do not like a dog coming near them at all. Yes, if dogs could talk they would protest all the rudeness that happens so frequently in their world. There are several dog behaviors that despite being normal are considered inappropriate in public. Dog owners should be able to recognize when their own dogs are being rude AND when other dogs are approaching theirs with impoliteness.
1) Humping is normal, yet rude and lewd. Humping other dogs is a normal and natural doggy behavior that is often considered by many other dogs and people to be unwanted, annoying and inappropriate. Many owners object very strongly when their dog is physically humped by another. It is probably best not to let your dog mount other park dogs at random to avoid other dogs and their owners from becoming upset and the possibility of a fight or attack.
2) Dogs jump to greet people — it is a natural submissive greeting behavior and they have to jump because we’re taller than they are. A dog jumping up can knock a person over & injure them. A dogs paws can get a person’s clothes dirty. A dog’s claws can catch on a person’s clothes and rip or tear them.
3) Doggy kisses or licking are not always a welcomed by others. Many people are turned off by the wet sticky mess. You’ve probably heard the myth that dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans’. Wrong. Dog spit isn’t chemically cleansing. It turns out that it’s the dog’s rough tongue that helps to physically remove contaminants from an open wound. As for the cleanliness of dogs mouths, people tend to brush their teeth regularly and rinse with mouthwash. Dogs tend to lick themselves and eat things off the ground.
The American Kennel Club has developed a certification program called the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program. It is geared toward teaching dogs to behave politely in public. The program consists of ten exercises that stress responsible dog ownership and good manners for dogs. Owners desiring to take the CGC examination
must first sign a Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, agreeing to take care of their dog’s needs and ensure their dog does not become a public nuisance. The ten exercises a dog must pass to become a certified Canine Good Citizen are:
Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger: In this test, the evaluator greets and addresses the handler only, ignoring the dog. The dog should stay in position, and should not show shyness or aggression.
Test 2: Sitting politely for petting: The dog may stand, but should not try to jump up on the person giving the attention, and must not show shyness or aggression.
Test 3: Appearance and grooming: This test evaluates both the dog’s behavior and the owner’s care. The evaluator inspects the dog, to determine if it is in good condition, healthy, clean, and groomed. The dog is also gently combed or brushed, and the ears and feet are lightly examined. The dog may change positions during this test. Dogs that pass this portion of the test are greatly appreciated by groomer and veterinarians.
Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead): One of the biggest challenges for dogs and their owners is walking on a loose lead. This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog, and that the dog is paying attention to the handler. The dog does not need to be in a formal “Heel” position, and does not need to sit when the handler stops.
Test 5: Walking through a crowd: This test is also a demonstration of handler control, in a more distracting environment. The handler and must walk close to several people but are ignored by them. The dog can show interest in the people but should not try to jump up on them, strain at the lead, or show shyness or aggression. Once you know that you’re dog is safe on a lead, then you could start looking at using a dog walking service to help you out when you don’t have time to walk the dog.
Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place: These commands are the basics of good manners, and again evaluate the handler’s control of the dog. The dog must sit and down on command, and then must stay in one of those positions (of the handler’s choosing) as the handler walks to the end of a 20-foot leash and returns. The dog may not change position until it is released by the handler.
Test 7: Coming when called: A solid recall is one of the most important commands a dog can learn, and can be life-saving in many instances. In this exercise the handler walks 10 feet from the dog and then calls it to come.
Test 8: Reaction to another dog: Dog-dog aggression is all too common, and even friendly dogs who are exuberant in play can pose safety concerns, especially if they are greeting on-lead. In this test two handlers and their dogs greet each other, ignoring both dogs. The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each other. Dogs do not have to be in any specific position for this test, but cannot try to go to either handler.
Test 9: Reaction to distraction: Distractions are a normal part of every dog’s life. How a dog reacts to these distractions will impact its acceptance in public settings. Dogs are presented with two distractions in this test, such as a chair being dropped, or a jogger running in front of the dog. The dog may startle and can show interest or curiosity, but should not panic, try to run away, try to chase the distraction, or bark.
Test 10: Supervised separation: It is often necessary to leave a dog in the care of a trusted person, and the dog should maintain its training and good behavior even in the absence of their owner. In this exercise the evaluator holds the dog’s lead while the handler goes out of sight for three minutes. The dog can change position but should not show signs of more than mild agitation; pacing, whining, and barking are inappropriate.
If your dog can NOT pass these tests then your dog does not know how to properly behave in public. A dog that passes the Canine Good Citizen examination has demonstrated that it is able to behave in a polite, controlled manner in public, and will be a welcomed member of the community.
Practice pet etiquette every time you take your dog in public. Keep your dog on a leash and keep them under control. Don’t take your dog into places where they don’t belong and never leave your pet unattended.