Dog Etiquette – Approaching Dogs in Open Spaces

Creating a dog-friendly community is a shared responsibility! These suggested guidelines below ensure a pleasant experience for both dogs and humans in public spaces. Let’s champion responsible dog ownership, promoting understanding and consideration. Together, we can make public spaces more enjoyable for everyone.


Ask the Owner First: Always seek permission from the dog’s owner before approaching or interacting with their dog, even if the dog seems friendly. Not all dogs are comfortable with strangers.


Observe Body Language: Pay attention to the dog’s body language. If the dog appears tense, scared, or aggressive, it’s best to keep your distance. Look for signs of wagging tails, relaxed posture, and open mouths as indicators of friendliness.


Leashed Dogs: Approach leashed dogs with caution, as they may be on a leash for a reason. Always ask the owner before attempting to pat the dog and be mindful of keeping a respectful distance.


Tied-Up Dogs: Dogs tied up outside shops or other places may feel vulnerable. Avoid sudden movements, speak softly, and again, ask the owner if it’s okay to approach. Some dogs may be protective of their space. The best advice is – if the owner is not in sight, do not approach the dog to pet.


Don’t Feed Without Permission: Never feed a dog without the owner’s consent. Some dogs have allergies or dietary restrictions, and unexpected treats can upset their stomach.


Children and Dogs: Teach children to approach dogs cautiously and always under adult supervision. Remind them not to run towards a dog, as this can be perceived as threatening.


Respect No-Go Zones: Recognise places where dogs are not allowed, such as certain stores or restaurants. Respect these rules and don’t attempt to bring a dog into prohibited areas (assistance dogs may be permitted).


Clean Up After Your Dog: If you bring your dog to a public place, always carry waste bags and promptly clean up after them. A dog’s waste left behind can be unsightly and, in addition, may spread disease.


Train Basic Commands: By training them in basic commands, come, sit, stay, and heel.  Along with recall, this may make it easier to manage your dog in various situations.


Avoid Off-Leash Areas: Keep dogs on a leash unless you are in designated off-leash areas. Even if your dog is friendly, others may not be comfortable with off-leash interactions. Always be considerate of other people and dogs in public spaces.


By embracing these dog etiquette guidelines, we not only create a safer and more enjoyable experience for dogs and their owners but also contribute to the collective effort of building a vibrant and welcoming dog-friendly community. Let’s wag our way towards a harmonious coexistence, one paw-step at a time!