Canine interaction etiquette


Elsa and I got out of the car and headed to the Veterinarians entrance.  A gentleman sitting in an area off to the left reined in his Basset hound hard.  This was a "clue" for me to keep my distance.  I opened the front door, checked the area before bringing Elsa in and head to a bench on the far side of the waiting room. 

Oddly enough, another Basset Hound sat in the waiting room who was not with the other.  The dog was attached to it's human by a choke collar and extension leash (another blog).  I heard the leash release as the man set his dog free to come to see Elsa.  My protection reflex kicked in as my leg shot out in front of Elsa.  "No" blurted out as the rest of my body language followed suit.  "She is not comfortable with dogs she doesn't know" I told the man.  "Oh okay" he said in a "whatever" tone.  Do I care?  Nope.

I am a stickler for canine etiquette.  What does that mean?  It means that just because you have and love your dog does not mean that everyone else wants to interact with your dog.  Especially at the Vets, keep your dog with you.  Dogs are sick, stressed and in close proximity.  It is not the place to socialize.  I don't care how friendly your dog is, keep them close to you and under control.  

There are places to socialize with your dog.  Play dates at your home, dog parks and socializing classes.  Other than somewhere meant to encourage canine socializing, don't.  If there is a dog leash law, obey it.  Yes, you need to obey just like you expect your dog to.  When I go to a park, beach or location where leashes are required I expect to have Elsa on a leash where she will not have to worry about lose dogs running up on her.  

When out on a leash walk, keep your dog to yourself unless you ask first.  I cannot tolerate humans who allow they dog to come at Elsa or other dogs uninvited.  "He wants to say hi" I often hear.  I don't care if he wants to say "hi," Elsa doesn't.  Even if Elsa did want to say "hi;" I'm not a fan of on leash interactions.  They can get weird very quickly.  

The biggest concern in canine etiquette is you.  Do not force your dog on any other human or dog.  You added the dog to your life, not other's lives.  Always ask before putting your dog on others.  Think about it.  It is your dog, not mine.