Issue: Your pet relieves herself on a friend’s carpet or decides to use her chair as a scratching post.
What to do: “If your pet makes a mess on your friend’s rug, offer to pay to have it cleaned,” says Quasha. If the item is ruined, offer to pitch in to buy a replacement. “Consider what a hotel would ask you to do,” she says. “The carpet owner should not be left in the position of having to ask for reimbursement.” (As it happens, the terms-and-conditions sheet at pet-friendly W Hotels includes a provision requiring guests accompanied by pets to pay an additional fee and cover any cleaning or repairs.) Finally, Quasha suggests bringing a crate or a carrier on extended visits. That way, whenever you’re not in your friend’s house, you can leave the animal in her crate with the door latched.
Issue: Your dog behaves aggressively with other dogs that aren’t in the mood to frolic.
What to do: “Dogs that are aggressive toward other dogs should always be walked on a leash,” says Brevitz. Zawistowski says it’s just a matter of common sense: “If you have a larger dog, simply don’t put him in a dog run or a play area with the small dogs.” The American Kennel Club also recommends letting your dog socialize with other dogs from the time he’s a puppy; he’ll learn he has to play nicely.
Issue: Strangers (and their children) assume that your dog wants to be petted.
What to do: Simply say, “I’m sorry―please don’t pet him.” You should also warn anyone approaching him if your dog isn’t friendly: “He’s not in the greatest mood today” or “He doesn’t like strangers.” But if your dog welcomes the attention, encourage people to pet him first under the chin, says Zawistowski. Dogs may feel threatened if a hand comes at them from above.
When it’s you encountering someone else’s animal, “always ask, ‘May I pet your dog?’ ” says Zawistowski. “Hold out a closed hand, and let the dog smell it.” It’s especially important to educate children about how to behave around dogs. “Teach your children to ask, ‘Is your dog friendly?’ ” says Quasha. “And ‘Is it OK if I pet your dog?’ ”