There is an unwritten dog walking etiquette believe it or not, no one tells you the rules, there isn't any written down but you are supposed to know them if you are to avoid confrontation, dirty looks or being talked about.
So how do you find out?
You learn from other dog walkers, trainers in puppy classes, watching others, common sense and mainly experience.
I think the majority of people who walk their dogs are pretty polite and friendly but unfortunately there are a minority out there that can make your dog walking experience hell.
Now I know that when I take my dogs out that | want them to have a good time, I also want to enjoy my time with them not have an altercation with someone.
Now my dogs love to run around (as do most) and one in particular loves to socialise with other dogs but not all dogs like socialising, I walk 2 dogs on lead who are dog reactive, so it is fair to say that if you see another dog on a lead then it would be dog walking etiquette to call yours and put on a lead or keep by your side. It would also be fair to say that you don't walk close to a dog on the lead, maybe cross over or give wide birth.
However not all dogs are on a lead because they are reactive, some are recovering from injuries or operations, some are poor at recall or like one of mine they have just chased squirrels and decided not to come back so I've clipped on the lead as to avoid that situation again.
If the dog I'm walking is not dog reative, I feel it is polite to tell the person approaching that my dog is ok with other dogs, this saves them clipping a lead on their dog. I also feel that if I am struggling with my dog and it's making a fuss, then the other person would give me a wide birth.
What frustrates me is when they can clearly see the dog I am walking is reative and they come closer making the situation worse, then have the cheek to come out with a sarcastic comment about the dog I'm walking or stand staring at me with disgust at the dogs behaviour. It's as if they are actually looking for a reaction from me. Well the good news is that I do not give anyone that satisfaction.
What I do, is obviously struggle and wrestle with the dog to move to a 'safe' distance (this is the distance the dog does not react), I do not interact with the dog at all, in fact I ignore the dog as I do not want to reinforce its behaviour with any attention. When the dog has stopped reacting for about 20 secs I then speak to the dog by saying 'walk on' or 'let's go'.
I think it is fair to say that it is against dog walking etiquette to make judgement of another dogs reaction to another. You do not know that dogs' story so why be judge and jury of that dog and it's owner.
If you want to learn more about dog walking etiquette than please feel free to email me your questions.