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dog walking etiquette question

Posted by fori (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 15, 11 at 13:49

Howdy!

When I'm walking my dog on a city sidewalk and another person approaches with a dog, often they will cross the street. There is room to pass so I assume it's to keep the dogs from meeting.

Do they think my dog will eat their dog? Do they think THEIR dog will bite my dog? Are they just being cautious? Am *I* supposed to cross the street? What's going on here? It is usually people with small dogs which makes me wonder if they're afraid or if they just don't trust their own dog.

I did speak with one woman with a very large beautiful pit pull with sawed-off ears who said she always crossed because people were afraid of her dog (a perfectly well-behaved rescue dog).

So am I supposed to cross the street if my dog is bigger? Or just let the dog walkers who are worried get outta my way? (My dog is enthusiastic about dogs but not aggressive and always on a very short leash and under control.)

I try to be a good dog walker since I've despised dog walkers most of my life (it's the slobber and poop I hate--my dog touches no one unless they want it and he doesn't even get to pee on walks) but it almost seems unfriendly to jaywalk when you see someone coming.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: dog walking etiquette question

I usually cross over because our sidewalk won't accommodate my two 25 pounds dogs and another person with their dog(s). If the dogs and I know the other person and their dog, we'll stay on our side. My dogs never bite but can be annoying when they bark. My Dachshund especially hates big black dogs, is okay with small ones.


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

Is your dog obedience trained? Does he walk in the heel position? If he is out of control, others may want to avoid a possible situation. My old golden retriever was obedience trained but he loved people and always thought people existed for the purpose of petting him. Anytime we met another person or dog on our walk I had to get a firm grip and be extra firm with my voice.


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

Unless I know the person and dog, I always get on the opposite side of the street. I have two small dogs and sometimes they get a little "huffy" and I don't want them to start something. I always assume the oncoming dog isn't friendly. Just being more cautious. When we get close, if the person indicates his/her dog is friendly, then I will let mine meet them.

I just think it is better to be cautious if you don't know the oncoming dog.


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

My dog is on a 3 foot leash, always at my side, and doesn't leave the sidewalk. I usually have him sit when we're passing people and he cooperates although he'd rather be friendly. He is pretty well trained except sometimes when he sees another dog he'll get down on his belly and look about as submissive and non-threatening as possible (this can be a little embarrassing). Otherwise he'll just perk up his ears and wag really hard. He's certainly better trained than most small dogs I see, but since he's barely a year old and still wants to be social I do tighten the leash when dogs or people are about.

I assume people who cross to avoid us just don't want to deal with dog sniffing and whatnot and that's fine. I'm just wondering if it's expected for ME to cross.


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

When I walk my dogs, I do cross the street away from the other dogs unless we know them. We had a bad problem with strays in our last neighborhood with a few attempts at attacking so now, our Tasha gets a bit tense when we see an unknown dog (yes, some of that may be me, it's an ongoing process, but several years ago my beagle and I were rushed by two untrained, un-neutered adolescent pits...we got out okay, but it was extremely unnerving). I always wave and say hello though. So for me, it's caution and avoiding any unwanted issues. Add to it that my sharpei is not super social, just think it's less stressful for everyone.


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

I walk at least 3 shelties at once and they are usually well behaved. When they are on a leash they generally are submisive toward the other dog even if it is a very small dog or they ignore the other dog. Shelties are real snobs unless it is another one like them! If I think my dogs are going to react to who is coming I will cross or will ask, before getting close, if the other dog is going to have a problem. Sometimes it is just the person without a dog who doesn't like the dogs. If the other person with a dog knows their dog is unfriendly, they will cross. I'm not offended or anything as I'm sure there is a reason for crossing over. I have rarely if ever had an issue with another dog on a leash. Most of the time they just want to say hi with a sniff and then on our way.

Good question. Thanks for asking.

Ginny


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

I cross the street because my two yappy little dogs act like nutcases when they're passing another dog. I'm working with them on it, but it helps if we keep our distance. If your dog is well-behaved, I see no reason why you need to cross the street to avoid anyone.


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

Sounds like you're doing everything right. I wouldn't worry too much about it. As time passes and others realize your dog is well heeled, other dog walkers will eventually come around.


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

Thanks all!

I will assume they don't trust their own dogs then. :)

I don't think this is something Miss Manners has addressed explicitly, but for a long time I couldn't abide dogs until I realized it was the people in charge that were bad so I try to keep my dog as inoffensive as possible.


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

Bad assumption :) In my case, I cross the street if I see a dog and person I don't know. It's to protect my dogs. I find most dogs are not managed on lead, and I have particular caution around small dogs who tend to have the least training. I don't want my dogs to be 'rushed' by another dog, and I certainly don't want to hear 'MY DOG IS FRIENDLY' or "MY DOG LOVES BIG DOGS.' I also find that most dogs are not well socialized and many owners think greeting nose to nose is ok. It's not. Nose to nose impolite and threatening in the dog world. I've rarely met another dog on lead where the owner doesn't try to line up the noses instead of allowing side to side greetings.

So no. I'm not worried about my dogs. I'm worried about yours.


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

Fori ~ I agree with Cynthia in a way. Just to clarify what I said earlier,"If I think my dogs are going to react to who is coming I will cross or will ask, before getting close, if the other dog is going to have a problem", I meant if the other dog may not be very friendly towards other dogs.I think most people DO know how their dogs react to others on lead and I don't think it is often aggressive. I agree with Cynthia in that not every dog owner socializes their dogs and that most of those owners don't walk their dogs either. Small dogs often start trouble simply because their owners think they are cute little things when they fend off the much larger ones. IMO, that behavior is just bad manners and unnecessary, unacceptable behavior.

In short, IMO, you are responsible for control over your dog and no one elses. Not everyone thinks or acts like you and that is theirs. Trust your instinct and assume only that everyone has the right to their own thoughts and actions. Enjoy your walks with your dog. It is very beneficial for you both. :)

Ginny


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

Respecting our own space and the space of another is not unfriendly, IMHO. Some people combine a treasured moment to be alone with walking their dog. Some are keeping a fast pace with their dog for a kind of exercise standard and don't want to break their pace by stopping. Some folks are just wanting their dog to have exercise and get home soon. Of course, some people have found that walking their dog has been a nice way to meet their neighbors. At the stage I am at with my doggie, I see meeting another person and dog on the way as a kind of challenge and brightens or clouds my/our day. We are still learning how to behave with others. Bless his heart. Also, a dog's body language will let me know if I want to turn around or cross a street (actually, I don't have another street to cross to). The person walking their dog will also show some body language. Sometimes I'll turn around just because I don't want to set off neighboring dogs to barking -- especially if the walk is very early morning or very late evening. Since I have to walk on a street (no sidewalk), I will walk my dog to the side of the road and wait for a car to pass before I proceed walking. I think that drivers on our semi-remote street appreciate this. At night I use a flashlight so we can be seen.


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RE: dog walking etiquette question

So I'm being nice and walking in the street in front of one house because the homeowners are working in their yard when a nasty little chihuahua comes barreling out of the front door with the clear intention of tearing into my dopey pup. He changes his mind a foot from my dog's nose as his owners are yelling at each other and finally manage to grab him.

Anyway, when a loose dog comes after you from his yard (with his people about) to greet/eat your dog, what do you do? I've always stopped so that people can collect their animal (they are always apologetic although it's always clear that they just made my dog's day), and except for this last incident, the dogs have always seemed friendly or at least non-threatening. My dog loooooves other dogs and was sitting in his happy play pose when the chihuahua came after him. He was very confused.

Sheesh. Those people didn't apologize or even speak to me. I hope it's because they soiled themselves when their tiny dog tried to attack something that could have taken it out in one snap.


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