Welcome to the modern rules of petiquette

Keep your pooch on a leash.

Keep your pooch on a leash.

We all have our pet peeves — dog poop in our yards, fur in our potato salad, incessant barking at the airport. It's a shame that dogs take the rap for their owners' unruly behavior.

We asked Jennifer Fadal, owner of Wag pet boutique on Davis Islands, to drop some petiquette for dog owners.

Pick the right collar or harness. According to a 2007 survey, 85 percent of women wear the wrong bra size. No wonder we get it wrong when it comes to choosing a collar, harness and leash for our dogs. Small dogs may need a harness, which is safer for their wind pipe. Big dogs may need a collar, as a harness gives them more leverage when they pull. Ask at a local pet store what's safest for you and your dog.

Use a leash. Your dog may walk fine without a leash, but when distractions arise — squirrels, cats, other dogs — all bets are off. "I think every dog pretty much should be on leash," Fadal said. Even if your pet is a model citizen, a leash will enable you to protect him from other dogs that may lunge. Think about it: Even good drivers should wear a seat belt.

Calm your canine. Another atrocity is when a dog freaks out in a crowd, such as at a festival or yappy hour event. The dog may bark, growl or become skiddish. "A lot of times people, instead of correcting that dog, they think it's cute or they just don't know what to do," Fadal said. She advises attending obedience classes to put you and your pet on the same page.

Scoop the poop. "It's so easy to do," Fadal said. "I think it's just laziness when people don't pick up."

Human trumps dog. Of course your dog is a family member — just not the kind that always gets invited to barbecues and baby showers. If you'd hate for your pet to miss out on the fun, then ask if your host minds a four-legged guest. If she's not cool with it, then leave the pooch at home and bring him a doggie bag. Your host may have allergies, a phobia or another animal that wouldn't get along with your pet. "You have to respect other people's wishes, especially if it's their property or their home," Fadal said.

Keep the skies friendly. When flying with your pet, keep him in a carrier that allows enough space for him to stand up and turn around. If airports make him nervous, consider an herbal anti-anxiety product such as Rescue Remedy drops (rescueremedy.com/pets) or Happy Traveler pills (arknaturals.com).

Canine classes

Wag's Canine School of Etiquette offers puppy kindergarten, basic etiquette and advanced etiquette at 304 E Davis Blvd., Tampa. For info on upcoming classes, call (813) 258-9181 or go to wagoftampa.com.

Welcome to the modern rules of petiquette 04/17/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 18, 2008 10:10am]

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