Walking Your Dog In Public

The daily romps of dogs on street and road with their masters are a delight; the dogs are never too tired for just another run. And where else except outdoors, can a dog find the thousand and one open and hidden smells in which he delights?

But the dog in public places offers some problems; most of these are solved partly if the dog is seeped in obedience. The training to heel is important indeed, especially when crossing streets. Unless the master is certain of full and immediate control, it is well always to keep him on the lead when crossing the street. He may do his part but, just as in automobile driving, the other fellow (or the other dog) may be the one who does not.

A fox terrier is self-willed and temperamental; he likes to disobey; he is quick to learn if he wishes; but at times he wishes to disobey, knowing that he is doing so. I had a smooth coated fox terrier Colonel Judy, who needed only a harsh command from me to stop instantly, sliding on his paws, when running across the street or after a cat or hurrying to greet another dog.

Noise may frighten your dog. Pet him; speak assuringly to him. Take him into the midst of excitement but not hurriedly or brusquely. For the timid, the nervous and the shy dogs (each is different from the other), there can not be better medicine than to take the dog frequently into busy, noisy traffic.

Always keep a collar on your dog. Take the lead with you even tho you do not intend to use it. Trouble may develop on the way and it will be needed to control your dog.

Most state laws require that a dog wear a collar and that the license number be indicated on a tag attached to the collar. This is a wise provision as a lost dog can be returned promptly to its owner (except when a reward-thief has taken the dog intentionally). Further, the metal tag should carry the name and phone number of the owner for means of return.

Most town and city ordinances provide that the dog must be on lead or be muzzled when on the street, in public places and semi-public places such as stores and apartment hallways. Unless a rabies quarantine exists, a just ordinance would require only that the dog be at least within a hundred feet of the owner so as to be under his control (as the Buffalo, N. Y., ordinance provides).

The wearing of a muzzle is inhumane, the dog usually tears it off in time and with injury to himself, and it makes him easy prey to every fighting dog.

At corners, there must not be exceptions. The dog must stop with his master at every curb; if an exception is made, the dog loses the deep emphasis of previous training. Make either no rules in training or no exceptions to the rules. If exceptions are made, the dog becomes a “problem dog.”

Do not have him stop at eight of the ten streets you cross on your way home, and then, thinking to give him some liberty on account of his good performance, let him rush across the remaining two as he pleases.

Have a regard for the rights of others, especially of those who do not like dogs. Keep your dog under control. Avoid as far as practicable the giving of offense thru some action of your dog. The soiling of pavements by dogs is unsightly, insanitary and offensive to all. It is unnecessary; it is an unfavorable reflection upon the owner, who, rather than the dog, should be criticised.

Most dogs have a fancy for running toward small children. They mean to play rather than to do harm. But the action may frighten the child and cause alarm on the part of parents or other guardians. Running children, moving bicycles, and the like hold a peculiar fascination for most dogs, likely a “leftover” from the wild ancestral era. See Case Study No. 1, Addenda.

Your dog may be the best natured, least vicious dog in the world. But the other person does not know this. And so, especially if your dog is of large size, call him back when he is about to run toward a stranger.

Your dog may mean only to sniff, or perhaps to do what is abominable leap upon another person and soil the clothes with his dirty paws. It is a vice and one that brings trouble to you and the dog; it may cause an enduring hatred by some persons against all dogs.