My friend Kristine's awesome post on Rescued Insanity two days ago hit hard on "ignorant dog owners" who, among other things, let their dogs run loose, don't give other dogs space on the sidewalk, don't supervise their dogs at the dog park, use extendable leashes on unruly dogs, and dominate their dogs instead of working to understand them. Her sentiments received kudos from many, and riled a few.
Sidewalk etiquette has become a hot topic in the news lately, too. Last week the New York Post reported that a street fight erupted when a man stepped over a dog on the sidewalk. The dog walker became angry when a passer-by stepped over his chihuahua, instead of walking around. He exchanged words with the man, who responded by landing a blow to the face, which knocked the dog owner out cold.
The dog walker is in serious condition with contusion, brain swelling, and fractured skull.
Obviously there are hotheads everywhere who yell insults and throw blows to resolve problems. Which is not what we want. So what are the rules for proper pet-iquette on our sidewalks? How should we respond when an irresponsible dog walker creates a situation that is annoying, frustrating or even dangerous? If we say something, could we even put ourselves in danger of being assaulted? The Post published their tips on How to Not get into a Fight with a Dog Walker.
Here are a few of my own rules for Street Etiquette for Dog Walking:
1. Don't assume that every dog you pass wants to play with your dog. Some dogs, like Kelly, feel threatened or afraid when approached by other dogs.
2. Please keep your fence in good repair. It makes me nervous when I walk my dog by your house, and your dog's teeth are snarling at me from behind a giant hole in the fence.
3. Don't let your dog run loose. It's stressful to try to take a nice walk while keeping an eye out for loose dogs who might run up and set my dogs off, or even worse start a fight.
4. If we do pass by on the sidewalk, please keep your leash short, and keep your dog on the opposite side of you. I'll do the same, and we should be able to pass without a problem.
Do you have some rules of your own to add?
*Thank you Kristine for inspiring this post.