The Basics of Sidewalk Etiquette

As dog lovers, we often forget that not everyone shares our passion. It’s important for us to remind ourselves to respect the feelings of those who prefer, well, cats. (Gasp!) Or no pets at all. (Double gasp!) This is particularly important while strolling along city sidewalks where we’re bound to encounter those who find dogs a nuisance, and maybe scary to boot.

Here are a few tips for making sure your sidewalk stroll doesn’t complicate anyone else’s life:

  • Always walk your dog on a leash. This is the law in most jurisdictions. Though the real point is that a leash helps ensure your dog’s safety as well as the safety of others.
  • Ensure your leash is a responsible length for your walk, meaning that your dog isn’t so far out in front of you he might be in a different time zone. Some cities even have leash length limits.
  • Offer to step aside if you see someone coming and allow him to pass you. This is especially important when you encounter parents with children.
  • Train your dog to walk and obey properly when on a leash. The ASPCA provides great information on this.
  • Always, always carry a dog waste bag for those unpleasant deposits your pooch is bound to make. In some states, pet owners can be fined for not picking up after their dog. Besides, it’s the responsible thing to do.
  • Lastly, make sure your dog knows at least the basic commands: Sit. Stay. Come.