One of my stress relievers during this Coronacation, is to go on long walks with my dog. I cherish the time outside with my faithful companion. The fresh air, being one with nature and some desperately needed exercise make my heart smile. It has been four years since I have been a dog walker. During this time, I have learned a lot of the social etiquette associated with woman’s best friend.
Here are the five Dog Walking Etiquette Rules:
- If someone compliments your dog or asks what breed she is, you must ask the same question in return. They don’t really care about what kind of dog you have. They just want to talk to you about their designer breed/mutt. And you in return, must tell them that their canine is the most beautiful you have ever seen!
- Never answer the question: “Where did you get your dog?” Unless of course, it is a rescue. In that case, say it loud and proud. Go ahead and make those people who bought a puppy from a breeder feel guilty. That’s why I always answer with, “I rescued my dog from the farm in Pennsylvania.”
- Always ask the owner if it is okay for your dog to be introduced to another dog. We are not in Kindergarten class here where everyone is accepting of each other. No, not dogs or dog owners. They can snub your dog and justify it with replies such as, “Sorry, he doesn’t do well with thoroughbreds.” or “I do not want Fluffy to feel violated when your dog says hi by sniffing her backside.”
- You will need to learn the names of all of the neighborhood dogs weeks in advance of learning their owners’ names. You will walk by the owners and give them an awkward wave. But, when you see their dog, you will raise your voice an octave higher and exclaim to your furry child, “Look, it is your friend Daryl! Are we walking by Daryl’s house? Sadie, say hi to Daryl.”
- Clean up your dog’s poop and take it with you to dispose of properly. It doesn’t state, clean up your dog’s poop and leave it on the sidewalk. There is no poop fairy who will fly in and take care of it for you. It states take it with you. Why is this the hardest for many pooch parents to follow?
Maybe I am triggered by number 5 because the act of dog walking has not always been stress free for me. When I first got my dog, I purchased black poop bags. I followed all of the above etiquette rules faithfully, including cleaning up after my baby and taking it with me. Then, one day I noticed that someone had been leaving black poop bags by the side of the road. One mongrel mom even had the nerve to ask if it was me! Offended, I transformed into Steve, (from Blue’s Clues) recording my clues in my “handy dandy notebook” in order to reveal the other black bag owner’s identity. The mystery was solved when my neighbor observed the offender in the act.
After that, I switched to green bags!
Why do dog owners go through the effort of bringing bags on their walks, bending over to pick up the poop and tying the now filled bag into a knot…to then leave the bag by the side of the trail or in a recent case…in a tree!? I have my theory. Maybe they do not want to be bothered carrying around a scented, squishy hand warmer for the remainder of their walk, so they plan to grab it on the “way back” but forget? I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt here.
Whatever the reason… I am begging you to please stop. Besides the impact of littering on our environment, it is offensive! It ruins the esthetic of the nature experience. Please, please, please tie Fido’s poop onto his leash somehow and take it with you to dispose of properly. If you need bags to do this, please let me know. I have plenty of black ones that I could share!
Have you noticed this too? What other items of litter are obstructing your view?