Pet Etiquette

Many pet owners enjoy taking their pets with them on day to day excursions. In the last few years, more merchants and governments have come to realize this and have begun to welcome pets into their businesses and parks. From pet stores to outdoor markets to state parks, pets are becoming a common site. The key to continuing this trend, and keeping both human and animal visitors safe, is to ensure that the pets are always well behaved.

Obviously, not all types of pets are able to accompany their owners into public venues. Birds, small animals, and reptiles are not well suited to outings. Dogs are the most likely pets to encounter in public. While some pets enjoy an outing, others consider leaving home to be stressful. For those that react negatively to travels, it’s best to leave them home. Otherwise placid and friendly animals can react in totally unexpected ways when in an unfamiliar environment. A stressed pet can be an unpredictable pet.

It is important to realize that not all people share the pet owner’s love of animals. Many feel that the pet’s place is at home. Others love to visit with every pet they see. Being respectful of all we may meet is the best way to ensure pets continue to be welcomed in public.

Here are a few recommendations:

Keep pets leashed and close by. Avoid retractable leashes. They provide no control over your dog and when extended can easily trip people walking nearby. No matter how well trained a pet is, they should not be let off-leash in a public venue.
Don’t allow pets to jump on people or other animals. Always ask permission before letting your pet approach others, and monitor the situation closely. Be ready to remove your pet if anyone (human or animal) acts inappropriately. Remember that greeting with a sniff is normal for animals, it’s not looked on kindly by many humans.
Yield for pedestrians. Try to stay out of the traffic mainstream.
No yelling. That goes for humans and animals. Incessant barking will quickly become a nuisance. Although dogs will bark when happy and excited, many people associate barking with aggression. It’s your job to convey a positive impression.
Keep it clean. It’s natural for animals to mark their territory with urine or feces, so be sure to have disposal bags available and use them. Pet owners are accustomed to dealing with droppings, but the general public doesn’t appreciate encountering a pile of poo at the downtown market.

Practicing good pet etiquette leaves others with a favorable impression of animals. Consider every outing with a pet as a chance to show the world how much love and happiness pets bring. Good manners can open more doors to pets.

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