For some, the word “etiquette” conjures up thoughts of stuffy, irrelevant, and outdated social rules designed to quell the fussiness of overly-sensitive people. In reality, our society is safer and more comfortable thanks to those who learn and use proper etiquette. This is also true of “petiquette”, otherwise known as the rules pet owners follow to show consideration for those around them.
Unfortunately, knowing a rule exists is often not reason enough for people to follow it. Why? Simply put, we tend to ignore etiquette when we think the rules don’t apply to us. Maybe we are fully aware of a trail sign that reads “All pets must be on leash,” but then decide that since our dog is friendly, this particular rule isn’t one we need to observe. Other times, we misinterpret rules as suggestions. For instance, pet owners at a rest stop may notice that other people aren’t cleaning up after their pets, and think they don’t need to either. As a whole, we humans are adept at coming up with excuses to avoid inconveniencing ourselves for the greater good. On the other hand, we don’t hesitate to lament the thoughtless behavior of others.
Pet owners have a responsibility to consider the physical and emotional welfare of other people and their pets. Not only does it keep everyone safe and happy, but it sets a good example for others to do the same. Here are just a few examples of important “petiquette” that all pet owners should know and follow:
• Always keep your pet leashed in public areas.
• Always clean up after your pet.
• Always ask and receive permission before approaching someone’s pet.
• Always receive permission before allowing your pet to approach another person or animal.
• Only take your pets into areas where they are permitted.
• Respect pet rules stated by any public place. If you’re there, they apply to you, period.
Resist the urge to complain, become defensive, or make excuses when asked to follow a rule you don’t agree with. When you aren’t sure what the rules are, ask.