It has recently been revealed that I am an asshole for how I walk my dog. I am not fishing for reassurance that I’m an ok dog owner – I willingly take whatever criticism and feedback is given to me. I simply want clarification on appropriate dog walking etiquette so that I can do better in the future. (Just FYI I do loose leash walking and allow sniffing for mental stimulation.)
It’s my understanding that the verge (land between road and sidewalk) is fair game for dog walking and toileting. It’s technically city property, but it is not uncommon for it to be landscaped with flowers, etc by the people who live there. I keep my dog from walking on those landscaped areas but I do let him sniff the plants. It has been my understanding that it’s ok for dogs to step off the sidewalk into people’s lawns. I do not let my dog go to the bathroom on people’s lawns. One person told me they consider it ok to let their dog go one or two paces into the grass next to a sidewalk, another told me three feet. Many others have said this is unacceptable on private property. Many others say that if my dog isn’t heeled next to me during my walk that is not proper. I will also allow my dog to sniff plants (bushes, flowers) next to the sidewalk but not pee on them (which was what got me in trouble with a neighbor initially).
Is the verge free game?? Is it ok to let my dog sniff landscaped plants on the verge? Is it unacceptable to let my dog wander off the sidewalk (a pace or two) into people’s lawns occasionally? Is it ok to let him sniff plants on the private property side of the sidewalk? (It is fairly common to have flowerbeds & landscaping right up against the sidewalk in my neighborhood.) I want to be a responsible dog owner and am genuinely looking for the information to make that possible.
And perhaps there is no consensus on this, and in that case it’s better just to be safe than sorry! I wanted to ask more dog owners so I better know where to appropriately draw lines for me and my dog.