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The New Rules of Dog Ownership – A codified set of behaviors for dog owners in public places

Wes Silver – Outside: “Human society is made possible by rules, both written and unwritten. Yet there’s no such series of concrete, accepted rules for dog owners, and that’s becoming a problem. Take my experience this past weekend. In need of a quick getaway, my girlfriend and I booked a room at the Kimpton Goodland, in Santa Barbara, California, with our two mutts. All Kimpton hotels are incredibly dog friendly, which makes the boutique chain a unique resource for dog owners. There’s no extra deposit or fees for dog owners, and the pups are allowed anywhere in the hotel. (Except for the restaurants.) It’s a unique opportunity to enjoy a nice hotel with your dogs. But this weekend, even we were annoyed with the behavior of other dog owners. Dogs locked in rooms unattended barked persistently. Owners let their small untrained and unsocialized pets bark at other guests in the lobby and hotel bar. Some took their dogs to the poolside lawn for bathroom breaks.  Of course, Kimpton, and other dog-friendly businesses, has some basic guidelines for dog owners: pay for any damage the dogs cause, pick up after them, keep them under control. But rules like that are both vague and extremely basic. There’s no further instruction on how to behave in public with your dog from dog owner organizations like the American Kennel Club. While the AKC offers a Good Canine Citizen certification to the dogs themselves, it offers no guidance for owners.  If we want to be able to take our dogs into more hotels and businesses, and if we want to be welcome in public places and in general get along with the rest of human society, then us dog owners need a rulebook—an agreed-upon set of behaviors that will allow us, as a community, to better share our limited resources and to interact with the non-dog-owning public in a way that’s positive for everyone. This is my best effort at setting those rules down in writing…”

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