Canine etiquette

Photo: 
Jukka Pätynen

More and more often, dogs follow their families into urban growth centres and other built-up areas. Many expectations of behaviour, which takes account of the needs of other people, is focused on dogs and dog owners in densely-populated areas. 

Walking the dog

The law requires dogs to always be held on a leash when outdoors. This makes it much easier for the owner to control the dog, in addition to which people with a fear of dogs gain much peace of mind when they see that a dog is held on a lead.

Dogs need to learn many important skills to become socially acceptable in densely-populated areas. Dogs must tolerate rollerbladers, cyclists, wheelchair users and many other types of people who may cross their path. A dog should also be able to calmly pass other dogs and animals. Not all dogs take a liking to other dogs, so it is not appropriate to allow your dog to greet every dog that it meets.

A dog walker must pay attention to the surrounding environment and control the dog appropriately. Control is an especially important issue when the dog is walking on a retractable flexi lead. If a cyclist or rollerblader falls because of a dog's lead, the walker is responsible.

A large part of the year is dark in Finland. Use of reflectors is essential for the safety of the users of a dark road or path.

Keep your environment tidy

Dog droppings must be collected to keep living areas and exercise environments tidy; this is especially important in densely-populated areas. Dogs should not be permitted to territorially mark tyres, building walls, statues, gateways or ornamental plants.

Dogs must not be taken to children's playgrounds, bathing beaches or markets. It is OK to use exercise paths in snow-free times if your dog is well behaved. The dog must always be kept on a lead, however. In winter, you can take your dog to ski trails, which are separately marked as open to skijorers. Dog should not be taken to general-purpose public ski trails.   

Travelling with a dog

It is important that your dog has mastered basic obedience if you decide to travel with it. A calm dog is easier to take from point A to point B. The majority of Finnish municipalities allow dogs on public transport. 

When planning your journey, it is a good idea to check whether, for example, the local bus company allows canine passengers and if they charge a separate fee for bringing a dog on board. The comfort of other passengers should also be considered when travelling with a dog.