The British have always been passionate about their dogs and this love affair seems to have reached a new pitch in lockdown. With so many restrictions in place, walking has become a default pastime and canine companions are proliferating at an astonishing rate.
Pampered pooches, who are accustomed to warm centrally heated houses, are more prone to feeling the cold, and in the recent cold snap a veritable canine fashion parade was in progress. If you feel that your dog needs more warmth than nature has intended choose a coat with durability and practical features. It should be easy to fasten, water-resistant and offer underbelly protection.
You and your dog are on display on your regular dog walks. Your dog’s behaviour will reflect upon you, so remember the following:
- Be aware of other people and acknowledge that they may not want to be pestered by your dog, especially if your over-excited pet is given to jumping up and leaving muddy paw prints.
- Keep your dog a safe distance away from babies and children. A breezy ‘he’s just being friendly’ isn’t much consolation to a toddler who’s being toppled by an enthusiastic and boisterous pup.
- Be polite and friendly to fellow dog-walkers. A smile and brief hello is sociable, especially if you see them on a daily basis.
- Clean up after your dog – use biodegradable bags and designated bins.
- Respect boundaries and territory and don’t allow your dog to stray into other people’s driveways or gardens.
- In built up areas, keep your dog close to you. Don’t hog the pavement or allow your dog to go into the road.
- Your dog should never chase other dogs or livestock. If you’re approaching a field that contains sheep or cattle, keep your dog on the lead.
- Finally, don’t make everyone around you cringe by anthropomorphising your pet in public: you may think of your dog as a furry near-human, but cloying ‘conversations’, complete with baby voices and saccharine endearments, are just embarrassing.