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manners MATTER BY KAREN LA CORTE Petiquette Managing Your Pet's Behavior Karen La Corte is an etiquette and manners expert trained and certi- fied by the Emily Post Institute in Vermont. She has been teaching eti- quette and manners to children and adults for over thirty years. She is also a certified image and fashion consultant. Karen is happy to answer any personal etiquette or image questions you may have by emailing her at karen@marxtowing.com P etiquette is about managing your pets’ behavior. If you’re an animal lover, this article is for you. I’ve had pets all my life, from cats and dogs to bunnies and birds and many more in between. Some pets came my way because of my kids, which I’m sure a lot of you can relate to. I’ve only gone four years in my life without a pet! With a pet comes responsibility. Not only do you have to feed the animal, but a happy pet is well groomed, walked, checked by the vet and most of all loved. Children need to be taught this at an early age. Unless you have a fish, pets are a huge commitment. Actually, even fish need to be fed, and not too much at a time! And, their bowl or tank needs to be cleaned and tended to periodi- cally. Along with caring for your pet, there are some rules of etiquette. Since I have a dog, and dogs seem to be the most popular pet to take with you, I am going to focus mainly on them. However, keep in mind that these rules of etiquette can apply to most pets that are transportable. Dogs go everywhere nowadays. They are on leashes, in carriers, and in baskets on bicycles. Certain restaurants and hotels welcome them. Business owners in Carmel even put out bowls of water in front of their shops for them. Dogs have wardrobes, go to work with us, service hospitals and the sick, and travel with their owners. But, these modern-day dogs need to be taught rules of behavior if they are going to be socially accepted. And, it is up to the pet owner to do the teaching and make sure their pet adheres to the rules. My first rule of petiquette is to always pick up after your dog. In some cities it is illegal to not “scoop your poop.” Be GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN APRIL/MAY 2018 respectful of your neighbor’s lawn, a side- walk, or a park. Bring several bags. If you run out, come back and clean it up later, or ask another walker if they have an extra bag they wouldn’t mind giving you. My second rule is to be respectful of other peoples’ space. Only let your dog approach someone if they are open to it. Don’t assume. And, if your dog offends someone by jumping up on them, apologize and prevent it from happening again. Next, know what triggers your dog’s unruly behavior. If your dog is unsociable, or aggressive around other dogs, stay away from dog parks. Stay away from festivals, car shows, street fairs, outdoor concerts and the beach if you know your dog might act up with crowds or at the sight of another dog. It’s about respect for others here. If an area is posted, “Dogs permitted only on leash,” then adhere to this. There’s nothing worse than walking your leashed dog only to have to fend off an unleashed dog charging toward your dog or you! If it is posted, “No dogs allowed,” then don’t bring your dog. It always amazes me the number of folks who smuggle their dogs into grocery stores, restaurants, the theatre, even church, when they are clearly not allowed. Once again, it is all about respect and sometimes a Health Department issue. The only exception is a bona fide service dog, usually for the handicapped or the sick and elderly. If your dog is a barker, it is good manners to make sure your neighbors aren’t annoyed. Only allow your dog in your yard if someone is with him. If he is alone all day barking in the house while you are gone, try to get someone to come in and walk him mid- gmhtoday.com 75