Second Chance: Proper Petiquette
Dear Pet Column,
Lately I have been annoyed by other people’s pets behaving badly, although the reality is it is the pet’s people who are behaving badly. I wonder if more people would wants pets if pet owners followed better etiquette.
Wow Petiquette Seeker – you make a very strong point there.
I agree that pet parents should consider themselves the ambassadors of their pets and model how to be a good parent to a good pet.
Here is a rough outline to help them do that.
First and foremost: Always ask permission to let your dog approach other people or dogs.
This is a big one. Parents of friendly dogs will say “my dog is friendly” and let their dog run up to others. But dogs who have been attacked by other dogs may not appreciate that and the parent of that dog is then left with all the responsibility of keeping their dog from eating your dog. And you have just ruined their relaxing and peaceful walk.
As you all know, allowing your dog to jump on people is a big no-no.
And I know how hard it is to train this excited reaction out of your dog, but it can be especially distressing to those afraid of dogs. Teach your pet an alternative way to say “Hello!” Four paws on the floor, a sit, or a down are three useful behaviors that can gain the same attention the dog wants, but in a more human-friendly way.
Both the above situations require dedicated repetitive training. But you can teach your dog to wait for a signal from you before greeting people or other dogs and only allow him to advance after being given permission. Second Chance’s low-cost dog training courses can help you if help is needed.
Probably the biggest community nuisance is barking dogs.
Dogs left in yards to bark all day and night could easily turn people off pets. Typically that occurs when your dog is not getting enough exercise and attention. I recommend you address the issue immediately (even if it means keeping your dog inside when not supervised) and allow your neighbors the peace they deserve.
Similarly, letting your dog bark at other people and dogs when you are out walking is a downer. Basic training and distraction will correct this problem; ignoring it will not.
As a cat, the best advice I can offer is to adopt a cat instead of a dog and you won’t have to worry about any of the above. But, I know some of you like those waggy, drooly, mannerless critters. If however you change your mind, I am looking for a new home. My name is Handsome Arvin and I am about four years young.
Currently I am living in a communal room with other cats here at Second Chance because I am so well-mannered around my peers. I like to lay in the sun out on the cat patio and I do seek love and attention from people who pass my “safe to approach” test, which is not an overly involved. It simply requires you to be calm and gentle around me.
Otherwise if you have your heart set on a fun dog, I would recommend Missy. She is about 1 ½-years-old and a beautiful brown-and-white Carolina dog mix.
Missy gets along great with other dogs and is a high-energy girl who does well with lots of exercise. She has a lovely disposition and is very smart ,so she will quickly learn proper petiquette if you stick with her training.
In closing, I encourage all pet parents to consider how properly training your pets could potentially lead to more people adopting pets and therefore fewer homeless pets in the world.
A trained pet saves lives!
Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.
By the by, there is no better place to park your pup or get your pup (or adult dog) trained than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)
Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org
Vetting the Vet: Dr. Michelle Dally, DVM, J.D. is Medical Director of Second Chance Humane Society. She also has a private practice, Dally Veterinary Medicine, 333 S. Elizabeth Street, Ridgway, Colorado. Her service area is San Miguel Mesas, Placerville, Ridgway, Ouray, and Montrose. For more on Dr. Dally, go here.