Neighborhood Etiquette for Dog Owners
Being a Good Neighbor When You Have a Pup
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Dog ownership is on the rise in this country. As younger people put off having a family of their own, they are seeking companionship and affection from pooches. According to a 2015–2016 National Pet Owners Survey, there are 79.7 million American households with pets—that’s a 50 percent gain over the past two decades!
According to a report called “Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S.,” there are four major trends driving the rapid growth of the pet population and pet ownership in America:
Millennials see pet ownership as good practice for having a family in the future.
Increasing acculturation within the U.S. Latino population as well as other multicultural population segments.
Aging Baby Boomers are adopting pets to help fill their empty nests.
An increasing number of households are adopting multiple pets.
So, basically, Americans of all ages and backgrounds love their pets and are loving more pets per household. With those kinds of numbers, it’s easy to assume that everyone loves dogs. And it’s true, informal polls have found that the majority of us consider ourselves “dog people.” However, there are no absolutes. If you adopt a dog, not everyone is going to be in love with him. As a responsible pet owner, it’s your responsibility to care of and look after you pup in ways that prevent him from becoming a nuisance in your neighborhood.
Exercise and the Keys to Dog Etiquette
Dogs need daily exercise. It helps regulate body weight, relieves boredom, and leads to a happier and healthier life for your dog. When dogs aren’t given an outlet that allows them to express all their pent-up energy, they tend to act out. A cooped-up pup may start displaying other pesky behaviors like excessive barking or howling that disturbs your neighbors.
The number one way to make sure your dog is getting enough exercise is to walk him. While the amount of time you should spend walking your dog depends on his size, breed, and personality, it’s generally agreed that a minimum of 15 minutes walking, twice a day is sufficient.
During his walk, your dog gets a change of scenery and a chance to explore the sights and smells of your neighborhood. He can even socialize with other dog-loving neighbors. When introducing your dog to a stranger, provide them with a treat they can give as a gesture of friendship. If your dog is anything but shy, remember to never let him jump on people. Even if they say they are okay with it, you have to consistently discourage jumping so he learns the importance of respecting boundaries.
In addition to walking your dog for enough exercise, it helps to give him some time to play off-leash. Well-behaved dogs love going to fenced-in parks where they can explore and play with other dogs. If you are interested in a trip to the dog park, your dog must have all of his vaccinations up to date along with his ID tags and microchip information. At the dog park, always keep your eyes on your pup to make sure he is well-behaved and safe.
Remember: Scoop the Poop!
Nobody wants to see the mess your dog leaves, ahem, behind.
Whether walking your dog around the neighborhood or taking him to the park, it is imperative that you always scoop the poop. First of all, it is the law in most cities and towns. Plus, dog waste carries diseases and parasites that can transfer to other animals, dogs, and even humans. When you leave your dog’s droppings on the ground, they eventually get rinsed away by the rain, and all of the bacteria and other harmful organisms are transferred to your area’s water supply. When you are with your dog, keep a supply of plastic bags on your person so you are prepared to pick up after him in any situation.
More and more people are bringing dogs into their families, but how much does the average person know about taking care of a pooch? If you want to encourage good behavior, start with making sure your pup gets enough exercise. Walking your dog and taking him to the dog park on a regular basis can prevent irritating behaviors like barking and howling. When you take your dog to a public place, he must be vaccinated, tagged, and supervised at all times. Let neighbors introduce themselves with a treat and discourage hyper pups from jumping at all times. Finally, always be considerate and scoop the poop to protect your neighborhood.