As non-pet owners, we may love and adore these fur kids as much as pet-owners do, but we may not always know how to act around them. Even though sometimes we may not see any problems with our actions, we could unknowingly be upsetting the owners and causing them undue distress.
Here are some basic etiquette to take note of when you encounter someone with a pet.
Ask for permission before petting the dog
Most dogs are non-aggressive by nature and will not attack unless provoked. But like every human being, they have temperaments and pet peeves too, and may not appreciate a random stranger petting them. Every dog has a different level of tolerance for physical affection and some may only prefer to be touched by a handful of people that they know and trust. As much as you’re trying to be friendly, remember to always seek permission from the owner first before petting them!
Be subtle, be polite
If you’re afraid of dogs, steer clear from pet owners and their fur kids subtly and politely. No need to scream, shout or fuss. Not only is it unpleasant, it is also inconsiderate. When you step aside, most pet owners get it. They may not be able to understand your phobia, but they will be sympathetic and give you the space you need.
“Dirty” is a dirty word
Most owners out there treat their pets as family and some even see them as their children. Calling someone’s pet ‘dirty’ is both disrespectful and insulting to the owners. You wouldn’t be too happy with strangers coming up to you and calling your children ‘dirty’ and ‘disgusting’, would you? Even if they truly are dirty and it repulses you, instead of voicing your unhappiness, consider just walking away instead.
Hold that thought
Whenever a dog is not behaving, chances are the owners are equally stressed and frustrated over it as you are. However, it doesn’t help for you to be a Cesar Millan and tell them how they should be training and raising their dogs. Owners see it as you coming from a judgemental place where you think you know better, and it also undermines their own abilities and trainings given to the dogs as owners. It may be best to leave them alone and give them some space instead lest you further agitate the dogs.
Ask before feeding
It might be tempting to give a bite of the chocolate you’re holding to a dog you see, but your act of ‘kindness’ might just end up hurting the dog instead. Like humans, pets have a range of health issues particular to themselves and may have certain things that they’re not allowed to eat. When you feed a pet without their owner’s permission, you’re not only putting them at risk, you’re also causing unnecessary worries for the owner as well.
Cultivating good etiquette and understanding paves the way for amiable relationships and harmonious coexistence between both pet-owners and non-pet owners alike. As with everything, there’s always a time and place for it. So if you’re not sure when that is, always consult and seek permission from the owners first before doing anything!