Modern manners for dogs

DANIELLE HEYNS
Last updated 12:08 25/11/2013

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I once went to a wedding at which two people showed up with dogs. One was the mother of the groom. Suffice to say, she didn't like the bride very much.

Unless your dog's name is specifically stated on the invitation, it is not invited.

The same rule applies for other people's homes: no dogs unless specifically requested.

We've heard horror stories of people taking their dogs along on visits.

Cats got spooked and ran off for days, newly painted walls were ruined by large, wagging tails and wooden floors suffered damage.

Unless your friends ask you to bring in your pooch, leave it outside. Even if they offer to have it inside, double check that it's really OK with them and they're not just being polite.

Dog owners, be mindful when you have visitors, too. Lots of people aren't crazy about a dog licking their face or humping their leg. Actually, I doubt anyone likes the latter.

Some people like our canine friends but are allergic to them.

We understand that your puppy is like a baby in your house, but please keep it under control for your friends' sakes.

Most people are polite and will act as if a dog making a beeline for their lap is the most wonderful thing in the world.

Just make sure your pup isn't making a nuisance of itself.

Picking up your dog doo-doo is the law. We really don't want to have this discussion again.

Dog parks are there for a reason. Don't let your dog run loose on sports fields, other people's lawns, or any park that is not specified for dogs. Walkers and joggers can get upset if your energetic pup jumps up on them.

And if your dog runs towards a child who looks scared witless, please don't say, "oh, she's harmless" and do nothing to control your dog. This is how phobias are born.

On the other hand, if you're walking, petless, in a dog park where dogs are allowed off leads, try not to mind when a dog launches itself at you.

Yes, they are meant to roam under owner's control, but it's hard to define control, especially when the dog outruns its owner. There are plenty of parks around. If you don't like dogs, stay away from those designated parks.

Having said that, there are all sorts of unspoken rules for dog parks, too.

Basically, think about your dog the way you would a child - would it be OK for your child to invade other people's space, steal other kids' toys or play too roughly?

If the answer is no, your dog shouldn't be doing it, either. Keep your eye on it at all times, ready to intervene and distract as necessary, and train it to play with you rather than seek the companionship of dogs it does not know.

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Dog obedience classes are always a good idea. A well-trained dog is so much easier to walk, even on a lead, than one that bolts about every which way.

And remember that in urban areas, dogs get easily spooked by people and noises, even on a lead and even when trained.

Even the most lovable dog may do unpredictable things, like lunge at someone's leg with its teeth.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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