City Dog Etiquette: 7 Rules To Follow

City Dog Etiquette: 7 Rules To Follow

Living in a

city is a wonderful thing, and I should know; I lived in New York City for 6ย years and Iโ€™ve been soaking up sunny Los Angeles for the past 3ย years. What do I love about living in a city? So many things, including the diversity, access to art and culture, amazing food, and always finding a new bookstore, coffee shop, or hidden corner to explore.As a dog owner, I also know what it means to live in the city with a pooch. For one, I donโ€™t have access to a fenced-in backyard, so that means that my dog Wade and I spend a lot of time pounding the pavement. Secondly, weโ€™re surrounded by lots of people -- and dogs! On our walks we are always crossing paths with new and familiar faces, and when weโ€™re hanging out at home itโ€™s not uncommon to hear a furry neighbor โ€œgreetingโ€ the mailman with a bark.While Iโ€™ve made an effort to become a responsible and courteous urban dog parent, I oftenย see less-than-polite behavior from the people and pets around me. With that in mind Iโ€™ve put together a list of city dog etiquette rules that will make living in a metropolis with your pup safer and more pleasant for you, your dog, and your fellow residents.

Rule #1: Keep Your Dog On A Leash

Even if your dog is perfectly content to amble along behind you, you should still use a leash

. It will not only keep your pal safe from traffic and prevent them from running off to investigate other dogs, playing children, or spilled trash, in many cities itโ€™s also the law. Keep your leash to six feet in length or less.

Rule #2: Train Your Dog To Walk On A Leash

A dog who is pulling, lunging, or jumping while on a leash can be a danger to themselves, to you, and your neighbors. Train your dog to

โ€œheelโ€ by your side so that you can walk safely and comfortably past other walkers and dogs. Other useful commands

for walks?


โ€œleave it,โ€ and

โ€œcome.โ€RELATED STORY: 3 Ways To Be Safer Walking A Dog At Night

Rule #3: Ask Before Letting Your Dog Interact With Other Dogs

It may be tempting to let your dog approach, sniff, and say โ€œhello,โ€ to other dogs, but you should always ask first. The reason for this is that you never know the other dogโ€™s situation; maybe they were recently bitten, and they are feeling a little gun shy around other dogs; maybe they are sick

; maybe they are

aggressive. For your dogโ€™s safety and the other dogโ€™s safety, always ask the other owner if itโ€™s OK to say โ€œhello.โ€ This rule is true for people, as well (see Rule #6).

Rule #4: Pick Up After Your Dog

No brainer? Youโ€™d be surprised. I regularly come across abandoned dog poop on my walks, many times smack-dab in the middle of a sidewalk. This is not only inconsiderate to other walkers and frankly, a bit gross, it also poses a safety hazard to other dogs and people as diseases and parasites are often shed in dog feces. Pick up your dogโ€™s poop, put it in a bag

, knot the top, and toss it in a trashcan.

Rule #5: Make Sure Your Dog Is Allowed Where Youโ€™re Going

City-dwellers love to take their dogs everywhere -- coffee shops, clothing boutiques, even restaurants, where Iโ€™ve often seen dogs posted up under tables while their owners dined. While itโ€™s great to socialize your dog and take them out and about in the world, make sure that your dog is allowed where youโ€™re going before you leave the house. Leaving your dog tied to a lamp post puts them at risk for being stolen or getting injured, and you should


leave your dog unattended in a car.

RELATED STORY: 5 Steps To A Safe Drive With Your Dog

Rule #6: Remember That Not Everyone Likes Dogs

If you own a dog, it might be hard to imagine that someone wouldnโ€™t love them as much as you do. But the truth is that some people are afraidย of dogs, some people are allergic to dogs, and some people just plain donโ€™t like them. If youโ€™re in a public space with your dog, you should remember this. Donโ€™t allow your dog to say โ€œhelloโ€ to strangers without first asking if itโ€™s OK. If youโ€™re in a crowded space, keep your dog by your side; donโ€™t let them jump up, sniff, or otherwise bother the people around you.

Rule #7: Donโ€™t Let Your Dog Bark Excessively

Iโ€™m always amazed when I learn that a dog who is barking excessively in a yard is doing so with their owner right inside the house. (FYI: Iโ€™ve learned this because Iโ€™ve confronted those owners before!) Living in a city means that you are probably living pretty close to your neighbors. A dog who is barking excessively is not only a public nuisance, it may also mean that the dog needs some help or attention. Dogs bark for a number of reasons, including boredom, anxiety


fear, hunger, illness

โ€ฆ the list goes on. Train your dog not to bark, and if you ever hear a dog barking excessively, go and check-in on them. If you see that no one is home, donโ€™t hesitate to contact your local animal control; the dog may be in trouble.

Do you live in a city? Do you have any etiquette rules to add to this list? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus


a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more. Check it out at
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