Proper Dog Etiquette When Renting a Cottage

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
If you’re making plans to rent a cottage or summer home, or you’re a guest at a friend’s lakeside chalet, you need to know the rules before bringing your dog along with you.

It’s summer, it’s hot and you’ve just scored an invite to a friend’s lakeside cottage. Even better, they know you have a pooch and have given you the thumbs up to bring Rover along. So how do you ensure that at the end of the weekend a) you’re still friends and, b) they invite you back? You observe the simple rules of pet-iquette.

  1. You just know that they love your little guy, but did they expressly say he could come along? You never want to show up with poochie in tow to discover that he’s persona non grata. Be sure to double-check and never put your hosts in the awkward position of having to agree to your request if in the end it’s going to be a problem during your stay. Similarly if you’re renting the cottage. Be crystal clear about pets and respect the owner’s wishes.
  2. Even though you may be in the middle of a wilderness, when nature calls you need to treat your pet poop in the same manner you would if he squatted in the middle of an urban park. Stoop, scoop and dispose appropriately. Never assume a forested area means you’re off duty when it comes to cleaning up after your pooch.

Related: Cabin Pet-quette

  1. Manners count and barking dogs are never appreciated. Don’t head into town or out on the lake without bringing your pet along. While he may seem sociable and well-behaved while you’re with him, he can easily make strange if you suddenly disappear. Over time, as he becomes acclimatized to the sights, sounds and smells of his new surroundings (and with the blessing of your friends) you should be able to leave him alone for longer periods of time.
  2. Know where your pet is at all times. Leashing him is the best way to ensure he doesn’t race off after a wild animal or for smaller dogs, become the victim of a hungry predator. And ensure his tags include a local contact number should he become lost. Micro-chipping is not always of help in more remote areas. If you’re planning to tether your pet, make sure he’s in an area that offers sufficient shade, space for him to get out of the elements, sufficient food and fresh water and that he isn’t vulnerable to other wildlife.
  3. There’s nothing quite like the smell of a wet dog and cottage owners don’t want to remember your visit each time they sit on their sofa and catch a whiff of dank water. So make sure your pooch is completely dry / clean each time he enters the cottage. This means more than wiping off dirty feet. Dogs love to roll in anything that smells funky, so give him a quick but thorough once-over / brushing before you bring him in.

Related: Top 10 Dog-Friendly Road Trip Necessities

  1. Fleas and ticks are a huge concern for property owners so always ensure your pet is equipped with a brand new flea and ticket collar prior to arrival.
  2. Do you share your bed with Rover? Not everyone approves of this type of sleeping arrangement or is comfortable with your dog up on their furniture or beds. You have a few options including acclimatizing your pet to sleeping on the floor well in advance of your cottage visit, bringing your own sheets to cover and protect the bed (assuming your friends are comfortable with this option) bringing your pet’s own bed or blankets where he can comfortably bed down at night without feeling anxious.
  3. When entertaining is at hand it’s important thankful guests shows their appreciation with a hostess gift on arrival – and this includes Rover. Something small but meaningful from your pooch means you recognize the extra effort it took for them to accommodate your entire family and that you appreciate it. You can never go wrong with wine or micro-brews!

Okay, reality check. Is your pet well-behaved? Really? If he jumps all over strangers, scoots his butt across the carpet, loves to dig in gardens and snatches food off tables (pick one or all) then your answer would be “no”. If this is the case, you may want to re-think the invite to preserve the friendship.

Mary Simpson is an animal-loving writer and communications professional. A soft touch for anything stray, she shares her century home with an eclectic collection of rescues that include orange tabby Chico, tuxedo Simon, and jet black Owen. She enjoys running, politics, exploring local wine regions and is an avid supporter of the “shop local” movement.

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and two felines who prefer to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

More by Mary Simpson