Happy Outdoor Dog Days
By: Judy Hamontre, AVHS Volunteer
I just returned from a long morning walk. The air was fresh, the temperature cool, the winds calm, the skies Colorado blue and the open field full of wildflowers in bloom. I passed other walkers, several with their dogs. The pets were on leash, and their owners were using bags to “pick up after” them.
Unfortunately, also on my path was poop that had not been picked up, and walkers and bikers whose dogs were not leashed, one of whom bounded toward me ignoring his owner’s calls.
This is what so many of us experience as we go out to enjoy summer. We see those practicing good dog manners and those who are not.
Following responsible dog owner etiquette is easy and makes the outdoors safer for our dogs, other animals and humans and protects our land.
Our dogs should be on leash unless in an off leash area such as a dog park. Unleashed dogs in front yards, truck beds and on trails should be watched and within reach to grab, even if friendly and responsive to owner’s commands. No one ever knows what might trigger a dog to bolt and get into a dangerous situation with another animal, person or moving vehicle.
When walking your dog on leash, be respectful of other people and their property.
Do not let your dog run up to or jump up on people. Keep your dog close when passing others so they do not trip over the leash.
When meeting other people walking dogs, be respectful of their space, only allowing meet and sniffs if they want. Keep them brief. Be watchful. If your dog or other dogs are getting jumpy, move on before they become unfriendly.
Avoid allowing your dog to potty on people’s landscaped property. Urine is a lawn killer. Carry bags to pick up your dog’s poop, and do not let it pile up in your own yard.
Dog feces is a dangerous hazard.
It smells bad, and it attracts flies. To step in it is nasty. However, that is not the real harm. It is poison that contaminates land and water, potentially causing illness and even death.
The CDC warns that one single dog dropping can contain three million fecal bacteria, along with parasites and viruses that can be passed to human adults and children as well as to other pets.
All these “rules” of outdoor dog etiquette are simple and easy to follow. Doing so shows consideration of others and makes our summer dog days safe and happy for all.
And let’s hope that those “disobedient” dog owners who see us responsible humans playing by the rules will be inspired to do the same. Maybe we can even shout out some caring words of guidance to get them to join us on the path of good outdoor dog manners.
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