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We want to use this time to remind you and your pup to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and exercise. Before you do, though, it’s a good idea to brush up on the tenets of dog walking etiquette. While most are fairly basic, they’re always worth a reminder — especially for new dog owners.

Here are the unspoken rules of dog walking etiquette that you need to know:

Use a Leash

You should always keep your dog leashed for the duration of each walk. Doing so serves a few different purposes:

  • First of all, it keeps your dog safe. Even the most well-trained dog might catch an interesting smell and run off into the path of traffic or far away from home. Having your dog on a leash ensures this won’t happen because you are in control of where they go.
  • Second, keeping your dog on a leash ensures the safety of the people and animals around you. Again, your dog might be well-trained, well-socialized, and friendly. But other dogs might not be. If your dog is on a leash, it will be easier to head off any sticky situations with other dogs. You can also prevent your dog from jumping up on people.
  • Finally, in many places, keeping your dog on a leash is the law! Each state has a different set of laws pertaining to leashes. In most states, though, dogs are not allowed to be “running at large”6 (in other words, not under your control). Using a leash when you walk your dog is the best thing to do for you, your dog, and everyone else around you. 

Bring and Use Disposable Bags

Carry several bags in your pocket so you’re prepared in case your pup feels the urge. Once you’ve picked up the poop, don’t leave it anywhere along your route (unless you see a public trash can). Take the bag home to throw away if there isn’t a convenient place sooner7

Not a fan of the idea of carrying the bags with you? Give your dog the opportunity to go before you set off on your walk. But this doesn’t excuse you from bringing along some plastic bags anyway — and using them if a situation comes up. 

Don’t Disturb Others

On your walk, don’t let your dog disturb other people or animals. If someone comes up to you and asks to pet your dog, you can absolutely say yes if your dog is friendly and you’re okay with the person saying hello. 

Keep a Close Eye on your Furry Friend 

While enjoying your time outside, remember to keep a close eye on your pup to help keep them safe throughout your entire walk.

If your pup does not enjoy walking on a leash, or needs extra practice to get comfortable, consider practicing in your backyard or investing in some professional training to help your pup understand what’s expected. 

When you and your dog are prepared, you can venture out into your neighborhood, local walking trail, or community park to enjoy going for a walk together. 

Consider Investing in Dog Insurance  

Looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Our dog insurance policies can provide the coverage and care your furry family member deserves.  Get your free quote today. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.