Walking Etiquette Help

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.

3 Комментарии на “Walking Etiquette Help
  1. I dont see a reason for people to be mad at you because your dog is sniffing plants. That would be really over the board. I dont let my dog enter private yards, but I think that really depends on which part of the world you are located. I am from germany and we have a lot of city green that is fine for dogs to use if you pick up after them so private yards are a nope. But there is no real need to as there are grassy areas around almost everywhere.

  2. To the extent that it is physically possible, I don’t let my dog walk on or pee/poop on other people’s yards. I use “street tree” and “no mans” areas that our city plants along the edges of the sidewalks. (It kind of annoys me when a house fences off and plants around the public tree in front of their house, but oh well.) If he is going to pee/poop where none is available, I am careful to limit him to the absolute edge of their yard and I pick up immediately.

    I don’t do leash greetings with other dogs. I think it is too confusing for my dog to anticipate being able to greet dogs we see on walks because fairly often those dogs aren’t candidates for a greeting, so we Just Say No to those.

    I also cross the street if there are dogs in a fenced yard. I was watching a very good new video seminar by Sue Sternberg on reactivity and she said that even if you don’t have a reactive dog, if dogs are constantly/daily reacting to your dog there is a strong likelihood that at some point your dog is going to react back, so we stay away from situations like that to the extent possible.

    My dog is VERY people (and dog, really) friendly, so I do greetings with people who are interested. We do a fair amount of practicing walking with attention when we pass people who are not interested. He’s big and energetic, so I try to be careful with children (he adores them) and those who are not steady on their feet. His “big dog lean” could knock them right over because of his sheer size. Of course it is always the little old lady with the walker who wants to greet him 🙂

  3. I try to minimize how much my dog pees or poops (even though I always pick it up) in others’ yards. With a male that likes to mark, I understand that it’s hard. I usually make sure he gets his big pee out of the way before we proceed down the sidewalk.

    If you are on a public sidewalk, then you don’t have to move. The dog barking behind the fence is not really your issue. Sometimes I will walk on the other side of the road to avoid notorious barkers/growlers that can get my dogs riled up.

    Continue the path if that’s what you want to do and there are no other issues.

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