In Beverly Hills, it’s quite commonplace to treat your pet like a person. They are a bona fide member of the family attending power lunches, going to the salon and staying in the finest hotels. They hide inconspicuously in Hermés totes and parade down red carpets with equal ease. They’re accustomed to accompanying their companions on shopping sprees at Neiman Marcus and finishing the day dining al fresco at The Ivy.
Whether your pet is living the high life in a tony town or enjoying a more laid-back lifestyle by the beach, they must learn to be civilized and socialized just like the rest of the clan. To ensure your furry friend makes a positive impression, follow these recommended rules of petiquette guaranteed to keep them on their best behavior at holiday time and beyond.
1. Observe Pets Presentation. They say many pets resemble their owners. You’ll never see a disheveled or unkempt pet in Beverly Hills. Just saunter through Saks on any given Saturday and you’ll see an assemblage of pets expertly coiffed, dressed to the nines, smelling like a rose in brand name carriers. These owners will have ample supplies on hand, wipes for muddy paws, portable water dishes with filtered water to quench thirst and resting pads for getting some shut-eye.
2. Approach with Caution. Not everyone is aware of how to properly approach a pet. Big, excitable or aggressive dogs must be tethered or leashed in the event a small child or elderly adult decides to get close without a formal introduction. Want to get up close and personal? Ask permission from the owner first and then proceed cautiously.
3. Be Mindful of their Mess. My aesthetician told me about a client who routinely brings her pet to the salon only to leave small presents on the bathroom floor for others to clean up. This is not only unsanitary and could cost the salon its license, but it is inexcusable. Rule number one is clean up after your pet’s mess. Have your scooper and small bags handy to remove said offenses immediately. Don’t let your pet relieve themselves anywhere, certainly not on other people’s property. Walk them curbside and encourage them to ‘go’ there.
4. Train them Young. Obedience training is a must for all dogs. It is for their safety and yours. Simple commands such as how to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ are a necessity and will help socialize your dog so that they can be around others. Even dog lovers get annoyed when a pooch jumps and claws at them when they walk through the door.
5. No Barking or Begging Zone. Excessive barking can be a big nuisance and be upsetting to those within earshot. Don’t risk a noise complaint from next door. High strung pets who live in smaller quarters should have a regular exercise routine to release repressed energy. A little fresh air and running around will exhaust them and calm them down so they will not bark unreasonably. Begging is unacceptable and can also spread germs. Never feed a dog table food and if begging ensues, remove them immediately from the scene.
6. Travel Companion or Therapy Animal? As many a non-disabled person will circumvent the law and obtain a handicap placard for easier parking, there are those that claim their pet is a service animal so they may travel first class. Pet Partners® has never been more popular! If you have an emotional or physical disability and are in need of a therapeutic travel companion, I understand. Have your applicable paperwork, tag and license on hand. If not, please don’t subject the rest of us to your service pet antics, it is not very becoming.
7. Preferable Pet Sitting. Don’t burden your family and friends with the responsibility of watching your pet when you leave town. If they are interested in babysitting your pet while you’re away, they will let you know. Neighbors make a nice option, especially if the relationship is reciprocal and you both leave at different times. Otherwise, enlist the help of a professional pet sitting service. Check references and make sure they are insured and bonded before dropping your unsuspecting pet at their door.
8. Love Me, Love My Pet. You and your canine may be attached at the hip, but that does not give them license to tag along to your social engagements or accompany you at work. Many people are allergic to pet fur. Untrained pets may damage furniture or permanently stain rugs leaving a wake of destruction in their path. Showing up with yours unannounced can be considered incredibly insensitive. If you are in a bind with your pet, have the courtesy to ask permission and wait for the green light. Be gracious and make sure your pet is on their extra-special best behavior.
Don’t forget to shower your pet with lots of love along with a treat or toy to reward them for their hard work.