Last Saturday was Responsible Dog Ownership Day. As we gear up for the GlowDOGGlow 5K, 1-mile fun run and glowtastic after party next Saturday, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to talk about the importance of being responsible pet owners, especially in a public social setting like GlowDOGGlow. This event is unique in that it is more than just a race – it’s an opportunity to spend quality time and have fun with family, friends, and our beloved dogs!
Here are our tips to ensure everyone – including all of our four-legged friends – stay safe, sociable, and stress-free during GlowDOGGlow.
Make Time for Daily Walks and Routine Exercise
If you’ve been keeping up with our weekly Pooch to Pavement Canine Running Training Guide, you know we are strong advocates of routine exercise. The daily habit of walking around your neighborhood or other public place helps dogs feel comfortable with the world around them. Not only does regular exercise release pent up energy and keep your pet’s weight in check, but it exposes them to a variety of sights, smells, and sounds. Daily walks enhance your pet’s view of the world. With each walk, they are exposed to new experiences, other pets, and a variety of people, making social situations less timid or scary.
Keep Them On a Short Leash
Whether walking or running, keeping your pooch on a standard 4-6 foot leash, gives you much more control than a retractable leash. Retractable leashes prevent correct walking by allowing dogs to pull their person to their desired location. Dogs that are properly leashed trained should not pull their owner, but walk steadily, with little leash slack. Keeping your pup close to you on a short leash prevents them from exploring uninvited areas, getting too close to other pets, or unexpectedly running into traffic.
Proper Public Etiquette
Speaking of exploring uninvited people, pets, and places, remember to show respect and restraint around new people and animals. You may think your pup is the cutest, most lovable pet on the planet, but unfamilar dogs can be intimidating, frightening, and even a bother to strangers. When approaching new people and pets, always ask them if it’s OK to approach. Don’t ever let your dog jump on others and be especially vigilant if children are around. Approach slowly and watch their body language. A dog’s body language is very telling and can be used to signal stress or fear. Body language cues to be mindful of include tensed body, stiff tail, pulled back ears, licking of the lips, intense stare, and backing away.
Be a Pooper Scooper!
Always have a supply of waste baggies on hand to clean up after your pet goes to the bathroom and never let your dog urinate on other people’s lawns, landscaping, trees, or mailboxes. As we mentioned in our Favorite Canine Running Gear article, the Turdlebag Dog Poop Carrier is a great option to help you keep waste bags close at hand, but smells hidden. The Turdlebag is a small, wax-lined canvas bag designed to attach to your dog’s leash or harness.
Taking your furry friends on neighborhood walks, to the dog park, or to canine-centric events like GlowDOGGlow is a great way to spend time with our four-legged family members and socialize them to new people, places, and experiences. We can’t wait to see all of our two-legged and four-legged friends next Saturday at Barktoberfest and GlowDogGlow. You can register for GlowDogGlow here.
Jennifer Donnelly, owner of Blue Ribbon Acres in Lovettsville, VA contributed to this article. Blue Ribbon Acres, a full-service luxury boarding spa and training facility, is a proud sponsor of GlowDogGlow.