Dog Walking Etiquette: What You Need to Know | PetFirst
Dog Walking Etiquette: What You Need to Know
Pet Care & Health

Dog Walking Etiquette: What You Need to Know

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
4 weeks ago

Happy Take A Walk in the Park Day! Celebrated on March 30th, we want to use this holiday to remind you and your pup to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and exercise. Before you do, though, it’s a good idea to brush up on the tenets of dog walking etiquette. While most are fairly basic, they’re always worth a reminder — especially for new dog owners.

Here are the unspoken rules of dog walking etiquette that you need to know:

Use a leash

You should always keep your dog leashed for the duration of each walk. Doing so serves a few different purposes:

  • First of all, it keeps your dog safe. Even the most well-trained dog might catch an interesting smell and run off into the path of traffic or far away from home. Having your dog on a leash ensures this won’t happen because you are in control of where they go.
  • Second, keeping your dog on a leash ensures the safety of the people and animals around you. Again, your dog might be well-trained, well-socialized, and friendly. But other dogs might not be. If your dog is on a leash, it will be easier to head off any sticky situations with other dogs. You can also prevent your dog from jumping up on people.
  • Finally, in many places, keeping your dog on a leash is the law! Each state has a different set of laws pertaining to leashes. In most states, though, dogs are not allowed to be “running at large”6 (in other words, not under your control). Using a leash when you walk your dog is the best thing to do for you, your dog, and everyone else around you. 

Bring and use disposable bags

Carry several bags in your pocket so you’re prepared in case your pup feels the urge. Once you’ve picked up the poop, don’t leave it anywhere along your route (unless you see a public trash can). Take the bag home to throw away if there isn’t a convenient place sooner7

Not a fan of the idea of carrying the bags with you? Give your dog the opportunity to go before you set off on your walk. But this doesn’t excuse you from bringing along some plastic bags anyway — and using them if a situation comes up. 

Don’t disturb others

On your walk, don’t let your dog disturb other people or animals. If someone comes up to you and asks to pet your dog, you can absolutely say yes if your dog is friendly and you’re okay with the person saying hello. But don’t force conversation with anyone who isn’t interested.

It’s also important to make sure you and your dog don’t mess up or trespass on other peoples’ property. This includes no walking, chewing, urinating, or pooping in somebody else’s yard. Respect other peoples’ property and keep moving.

Keep a close eye on your furry friend 

While enjoying your time outside, remember to keep a close eye on your pup to help keep them safe throughout your entire walk.

If your pup does not enjoy walking on a leash, or needs extra practice to get comfortable, consider practicing in your backyard or investing in some professional training to help your pup understand what’s expected. 

When you and your dog are prepared, you can venture out into your neighborhood, local walking trail, or community park to enjoy going for a walk together. And consider following these helpful tips of dog walking etiquette so that other people around you will be able to enjoy their walks, too.

Here at PetFirst1, we know accidents and illnesses can happen to all pets. PetFirst Pet Insurancecan help cover unexpected vet visits2 and can provide peace of mind. PetFirst Pet Insurance1  has cat and dog insurance policies2 to fit every budget. 

Consider getting pet insurance for your furry friend today.


1PetFirst Healthcare, LLC (“PetFirst Pet Insurance” or “PetFirst”) is the program administrator authorized to offer and administer pet health insurance policies underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, a Delaware insurance company, with its main office at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, or New Hampshire Insurance Company or The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, each with its main administrative office at 500 West Madison Street, Suite 3000 Chicago, IL 60661. For costs, complete details of coverage, and a listing of approved states, please contact PetFirst Healthcare, LLC.

2Like most insurance policies, insurance policies offered by PetFirst Healthcare, LLC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force.  

6Animal Law: Table of state dog leash laws

7DNRT: How to carry dog poop gracefully

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