dog park

So your dog has decided to take you for a walk in the park (you're surely not naive enough still to think it's the other way round). Now, if you were to attend a stylish official function, you'd want to fit in by following the expected rules of behaviour. Your pet expects no less of you when being set loose in the park. How many hounds and pooches do you see so appalled by their owner's manner that they tear off into the middle distance as soon as possible, in case any of the other dogs think they might actually be associated with that errant human? Therefore, there are seven important rules to follow...

1. Approach other dogs cautiously

Not every dog wishes to be your friend or to be as friendly as your dog might want them to be. It's good manners to ask the other owner how their dog likes being approached, and to offer the same advice to them about your boss who's currently allowing you to hold their lead.

2. Pick a good, and regular, time of day

If your dog is young, and new to fraternisation, it's useful to get into a routine of walking when the park is at its quietest - say early in the morning. Then, as your pet becomes more experienced and comfortable in the environment, you can expand your visits to more social times.

3. Focus on being with your dog

How annoying is it when dogs seem to be independent of their owners, causing mayhem while said human blithely texts, games, or chats on their phone? This is time to focus on your pet, giving them your full attention to keep them both safe and happy. In fact, do the unthinkable and leave your phone at home. After all, it doesn't need any daily exercise in the fresh air!

4. Clean up quietly after your defecating doggie

Don't cheer, holler or otherwise congratulate the poor hound. How would you like it if the dog dragged a stranger into the toilet every time to check out your poo? By the way, at the same time, show good manners by picking up any other litter you notice which could perhaps cause unintentional harm or injury to any of the dogs who exercise their owners in the park.

5. Keep kids under the same level of control as your dog

Although they don't mean to, out-of-control youngsters can cause canine anxiety, and lead to unfortunate incidents. Just like those on four legs, these young bipeds need to be taught how to approach and deal with dogs they don't know.

6. Avoid self-feeding while dog exercising

Apart from distracting your own and other dogs, the food you inevitably drop might not be as good for a dog as you sadly believe it is for you.

7. Control your dog firmly but don't show anger

Apart from making a spectacle of yourself by screaming at your quavering pet, you also are likely to cause anxiety to other dogs in the vicinity. If you can't control yourself, then your dog won't really want to take you for that enjoyable, invigorating walk in the park.

Seven basic rules - if you follow them then you can have great fun. Returning home you will surely feel just as refreshed and happy as your panting, then snoring, quadruped.

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