Petiquette in today's world
If you’ve already read our “Petiquette: what’s the scoop?” post, you know how important it is to mind your pet and respect the people and places around you. Petiquette is the fun term we use for “pet etiquette” and knowing the proper way to control and handle your pet.
Of course, if you’re a pet owner you (hopefully) know the basics: pick up after your pet, keep barking to a minimum (especially in small spaces), and stay off private property and out of your neighbours’ yards (that means you too, apartment dwellers). But with our changing world, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate petiquette and what it means for you and your pet.
The truth is, it’s about being a little more cautious with your furry friend than you may have previously been. Get the scoop on what we suggest changing up.
Did someone say “walk?”
While we’re social distancing, walking your dog daily is a great excuse to leave your home to for a little fresh air and exercise. Even though it’s just you and Fido out for a stroll, it’s still a good idea to take a few extra measures before leaving your home:
• Wash your hands
• Wear a mask
• Bring sanitizer
• Be prepared for potential dog excitement
We may know what social distancing is, but our dogs don’t. Now that it’s not as easy anymore to let our pups approach a stranger with their dog to say hello, they may get excited or anxious and start pulling, barking or jumping.
Be sure to bring a pocket full of treats with you in order to redirect your dog’s attention back to you while passing other dogs on the street or in the park to help keep a safe 6ft distance between yourself and other people.
A walk in the park
Everyone loves to spend time watching their dog playing, so head to the park and let them run around – and be sure you have good recall so you don’t have to worry about them bothering other dogs or people.
What is “recall” and why is it especially important right now? Recall is the way your dog responds when called. Does your dog come when called every time, even when distracted by other people and animals? That’s good recall.
If your dog is the kind to refuse to come back when called and chooses to run all over the place, you have to remember to be respectful of everyone in the dog community. It may be best to stick to long on-leash walks for the time being.
No sharing toys
Try your best to avoid touching and playing with toys that belong to other dogs. Even though you’re doing your best to keep 6 ft apart from the other owners, germs and bacteria can easily be carried on toys like ropes, balls, frisbees and plushies.
If the temptation is too much for your furry friend, it’s likely best to avoid off-leash parks and keep your dog close to you at all times for the time being.
Masks can be scary
Dogs can be frightened by people wearing masks (or hats, hoods and gloves – hello winter!), which may cause them to bark, jump and generally freak out. Especially for apartment dwellers who may be sharing an elevator or walking through the lobby.
If your dog seems nervous about the masks, try simple things like wearing one around your house to get them more comfortable with it, letting them sniff it or having any guest that comes over keep their mask on while they say hello to your dog. Easing them into the idea of the masks will be helpful in making them less fearful of strangers wearing them.
Try to keep the noise down
When you live in a small space community, it’s likely you’ll have neighbours close by on either side of you and sometimes above and below you. It’s important to remember that with some people working from home the noise during the day should be kept to a minimum.
Your dog may love having you home all day to play and cuddle with, but there are ways to do it in order to not disrupt your neighbours. Here’s how:
• Buy toys that don’t squeak: Dogs love to squeak their toys! And that oh-so-irritating noise can easily be carried through hallways and vents and can be aggravating for your neighbours. Consider purchasing a few ropes or plushies without squeakers. Dollar store’s tend to have them for very reasonable prices.
• Try puzzle toys: If you haven’t already checked out this article on how to keep your dog happy while working from home, take a read through. It outlines ideal puzzle feeders for your dog to keep them happy and quiet for a little while.
o Remember, you might also need some quiet time to work during the day, and these just might do the trick for you!
• Walk your dog at the right times: A morning walk is a great way to burn off energy before the day starts, and a nice lunch walk is the perfect way to break up your day!
o The earlier you walk your dog, the better. This tends to keep them quieter throughout the day. If you have a high energy dog, make sure you’re taking them on several walks throughout the day to make your life, their life and your neighbours lives a bit easier.
Reintroduce crate training if needed (or quiet time)
If you’re outside of your normal work schedule and at home constantly, separation anxiety in dogs can cause them to be loud and destructive when you leave them at home to do things like get groceries.
Consider this: pretend to leave the house once in a while to get your dog used to the idea again. If you have an already crate-trained dog, it may help to place it away from your at-home work space so that your dog can’t see you (and may think you’re not there). Put them in their crate once in a while for an hour or two at a time to reintroduce the idea that you’re not always home.
For more information on separation anxiety and how to work through it with your furry friend, check out this article. It may help to keep your pet happy, your house quiet and not turned upside down every time you return from time away.
Nothing is "normal"
While we’re going through this learning curve and trying to adjust, so are our pets. Be patient. Be gentle, and shower them with love and cuddles. The therapeutic benefits of having them around far outweigh the occasional nuisance (or ruckus) they may cause. And while you’re home together, take this as an opportunity to teach an old dog new tricks – and maybe your dog will learn something new, too. ;)
Have suggestions to keep your pet – and your neighbours – happy during this pandemic? Let us know and we’d be happy to share!