Dog Walking Etiquette

Don’t make the mistake of thinking walking your dog is as easy as popping on the collar and leash and heading out—there’s etiquette involved that dog owners need to take note of. Learn more below from your Vista veterinarian.

Pick Up After Your Pet

Rule number one regarding dog-walking etiquette: bring along a plastic trash bag to pick up after your pet! It’s rude—and often illegal—to leave your pet’s waste out in public or in someone else’s yard. What’s more, certain diseases and parasites are often found in dog feces, so you’re putting other pets and even children at risk by leaving waste where it lays.


Many public places have laws or ordinances requiring dogs to be on a leash or otherwise restrained. Investigate with your local municipal office to find out about these laws, and ask your veterinarian if he or she knows the details.

Even if it’s not the law, it’s always best to keep your pooch on a leash while you’re out walking. This way, you can control him from jumping on people, encountering other dogs, or darting out into the street after a squirrel. Ask your Vista veterinary professional what type and length of leash will work best with your pet.

Basic Commands

It’s a good idea to make sure your dog knows some basic commands, such as “stay,” “sit,” and “come.” These aren’t only good training devices—they may save your pooch’s life when you’re out walking. If your dog decides to run after a car, another animal, or wants to say hello to a passerby walking in the street, the results could prove disastrous. Consider enrolling your dog in a basic obedience course if he doesn’t know these commands, and ask your vet for more training advice.

Respect Others’ Space

Remember: just because you’re a dog lover, it doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Your dog might like to run up to people and say hello, but they may not like it. Keep him on the leash to prevent any unwanted encounters, and always ask passerby if it’s okay for your dog to say hello.