Tips of the Month

Clover Lawns

Consider planting clover instead of grass. Clover lawns are drought resistant, self fertilizing, and they provide flowers that nurture bees and other pollinators. Clover was a popular addition to lawns until the early 1950's when the newly developed herbicides killed it along with the dandelions.

From the City's Committee for a Better Environment

Canine Greeting Etiquette (Part 1)

Even if you are a “bone-a-fide” dog person and your child “loves dogs”, not all dogs out walking with their person want to be, nor should be, approached by strangers. Dogs have their own language and protocols for meeting strangers, whether those strangers are humans, other dogs, or other animals. We can all help dogs, their people and everyone in the neighbourhood stay safe and happy by respecting canine customs, and by learning how to appropriately greet a dog.

So, what is the best way to greet a dog? The first rule of thumb (or paw!) is to start by asking the dog’s person for permission to greet their dog. Interestingly, a lot of information is immediately transmitted to and processed by a dog in your initial contact with their person. Through their person’s facial expression, tone of voice and body language the dog is “reading” (i.e. sensing) their person’s reaction, whether that is positive, negative or neutral, to you. Their person may not even be aware of this themselves, but the dog is keenly tuned-in.

If the person says “no” (please do not greet my dog), understand that the dog’s person knows what is best for their dog and don’t take it personally. The dog may be uncomfortable meeting strangers. Or, the dog may be a new rescue undergoing training and their person wants the dog to stay focused on the training session. Also, a dog could be unwell, recovering from surgery, blind or deaf.

Whatever the reason(s), respect the person’s answer first and foremost! All of that said, if the person says “yes” (by all means, greet my dog!), follow these tips:

  • Don’t immediately approach the dog. Casually deflect your attention from him/her and just allow the dog to approach you if he/she is comfortable and interested.
  • Don’t stare into the dog’s eyes/face but instead, avert your eyes. Sustained eye contact in the canine world can signal aggression.
  • Either stand straight or squat, or stay seated if that may be the case, but do not hover or lean your body over the dog.
  • Keep your body loose, calm and relaxed. Putting on an easy smile or slowly blinking your eyelids will signal to the dog that you are not a threat

From the City's Animal Welfare Committee. Stay tuned for Part 2 of Canine Greeting Etiquette, to be published in the May edition of the Municipal Scene.