Imagine this:

You’re out for a nice relaxing walk with your dog.

Your dog is sniffing away and your deep in the middle of a pretty awesome idea and then


Somebody drives by in a car and honks their horn scaring the crap out of you and your dog.

It takes you a few seconds to make sure that you haven’t went into cardiac arrest and by the time you actually have a chance to look at the person who honked their horn, they’re gone, so you continue walking muttering unkind words under your breath.

This happens to me all the time when I’m out walking Sherman and Leroy and to be honest, I’m surprised that I’m not dead yet. One of these days I’m going to drop dead on the sidewalk and my dog is going to have to walk home by himself all because people use their car horn inappropriately.

I know I’m not alone here so I put together a list of things that people should never do to a person who is out walking their dog.

  1. Don’t beep. Do you know how loud your car horn is? Do you jump if you’re walking past a car and it beeps? Yup. So why do it to a person walking a dog? How about roll down your window and wave or say “What’s shakin bacon?” I’m fine with that and I’m sure it will bring a smile to my face. Now, I feel I have to make a special note to my friends who are reading who have beeped at me before: It’s all good, we’re still friends. I know you were just happy to see me and I was just as happy to see you, after I got done shitting my pants. Here’s the rule for you my totally awesome beeping friends: If I am walking my dogs on Prospect Road-no beeping at any time. The sidewalk is too close to the street, however, if I am walking east on Route 82 and you are driving west and vice versa, feel free to give a light beep. A 4 lane street and a lot of traffic muffles the beeps and doesn’t make me jump 20 feet in the air. If you have any questions or need further explanation about these directions, call or text me because my health depends on it.
  2. Don’t bark out your window as you’re driving by. This is usually unruly teenagers but I have had my fair share of grown men bark at us. Really? What’s the point to this? This freaks some dogs out and could lead to a dog getting injured. I don’t get it and it’s stupid so stop doing it.
  3. Don’t stop your car on the street to say hello or ask questions. This is just dangerous for the driver, for the dog and for the person walking the dog. I’ve had an accident happen right in front of me because of this. Luckily it was just a mild fender bender and no one was injured but it’s so unnecessary.
  4. Jog or ride a bike right up behind a person walking a dog. I’ve seen this happen a lot in the park and it’s happened to me once or twice. Some dogs get spooked around bikes and might take a jogger who has come up behind them as a threat. Always give a warning when you are coming up behind a person walking a dog. A great way to let a dog walker know that you are coming up behind them is to say ” Coming up on your left.” This gives the walker and the dog a little time to prepare for you passing by, although, one time a jogger said this to me and I moved over to left and he ran right into me and said “I meant your other left.” It was embarrassing.
  5. Don’t whistle. This is totally confusing for the dog and for the dog walker. Many dogs are trained to respond to a whistle as a command so they hear a whistle and they stop walking or sit or whatever it is they were trained to do. Dogs walkers aren’t sure if you are whistling at them or their dog. Just kidding. We know you’re totally whistling at the dog. But seriously, a whistle is a silly thing to do to someone who us walking a dog. It’s right up there with human barking.

So how about you? Do you have anything to add to this list? Is there something that someone does to you when you’re out walking the dog that drives you crazy?


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35 Comments on 5 Things You Should Never Do To A Person Walking A Dog

  1. We have a couple of people in our neighborhood with Harley’s and they always rev their engine right as they go past us. My dog hates motorcycles to begin with but that just sends him over the top. Rude. Even if I didn’t have a dog I don’t appreciate you ruining my peaceful walk.

  2. Respect the yellow jacket or yellow ribbon. Special needs. When ppl who are interested in the dog, and the walker says ignore the dog, do what you are being told. Ignore the dog. Always have the dog come to you and not the other way around.

  3. Walk your dog offleash, particularly if you dont have control of your dog, say, like if you are still driving your truck and your labradoodle is running like a madman up to my reactive dogs face!

    • Hey I walk all four of my standard Labradoodles ON leash together using voice control primarily, never off leash off my property. This is not a breed issue. I could take issue with the reactive dog owners who want to use my calm socialized dogs as training tools but I don’t. I just say no thank you the best place for that is a class with a skilled trainer supervising. My boys are behavior appropriate with behavior appropriate others of any kind/age/size but won’t appreciate the imposition of out of control nonsense on their pleasant walks (nor do I). I agree that dogs should be on leash and under control when off property and in public. All dogs. I even hike with longlines in the mountains. Most people don’t bother when they hit the trail. Even with good recall there are other hikers, wild animals, and the concern of injury and getting lost among the possibles. We Labradoodle companions aren’t anymore a clueless lot than any other. Generalizing is dangerous. Training is big in my world and for other Doodle people I know. There is training available for reactive dogs to assist with that. Unless managed it can become an aggression issue. Responsible dog ownership includes assisting the dog with his/her own behavior issues. Happy walks!


    Just Tuesday night someone slammed on the brakes to gawk at me walking Moses and Alma – without regard to the car behind them. This was a #3 violation that resulted in a #1 violation, because the car behind them then honked at them (they deserved it) and sped around. And they just gawked and drove slowly by. Do people not realise how creepy that is? To slow down and stare?

    Obviously, don’t reach out to pet without permission and acknowledgement from the dog walker should go without saying (but happens a LOT).
    Jen K recently posted…Monday Mischief 22: Good Morning!My Profile

  5. Mom has two items…when she says no, your child can’t pet the dogs because they are dirty and might jump, don’t let the kid run up to the dogs! We try to be well behaved but are not always and with three dogs, Mom can’t hold us all back. Second, when Mom has us all in a wait while she concentrates 100% on picking up a poop pile, don’t walk up to us behind Mom’s back so we can meet your dog! First of all, we may not like your dog, and second of all, Mom ends up in a mess because we get surprised and take off pulling her out of her “poop scooping” concentration. People just don’t think!
    Emma recently posted…Why I Love FitDog Friday | GBGVMy Profile

  6. Any number of these STUPID things have happened to Elka and I while walking.

    Also? If you’re also walking a dog? Give other walkers SPACE. Don’t let your dog jump on people, don’t let your dog get into other dogs’ faces. Seriously.
    Jen recently posted…Wordless Wednesday April 2 2014My Profile

  7. I’m all with all of these things, especially with Jen K. on this! Joggers/walkers shouldn’t stop suddenly and say things like, “Oh wow! Can I pet him?” and automatically start reaching for him without me telling you it’s okay! Didn’t you see how I stopped to make the leash shorter while I’m making him sit and submit? I’m pretty sure that most people don’t know what a yellow flag means, but believe me, we’ll educate you fast if he’s not sitting and you’re reaching. Vlad’s protective instincts kicked in a year ago. He thinks you’re trying hurt me with your sudden motions. He might look like a bear, but it’s not a teddy bear. Think more like black bear. Yes, you can pet him, but only after I have him sitting and give you a treat to bribe him with so that he’ll like you too. Just don’t try to pet a standing dog. Please! Just ask first!
    Vlad can act like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c5OmE0grLA
    OR he can act like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFN7-Sja6CM
    Which do you, as a stranger, prefer?

  8. We walk in our neighborhood and yes, there are dummies who let their dogs out to do their business while they stand at the door and watch. When the dog sees us, here they come and the owner just stands there still watching! Loose dogs make me crazy!
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…Saying Good-byeMy Profile

  9. Oh, my. If someone blew their car horn at Silas I would, I’m not even kidding, chase them down. (I have a temper that defies logic.) But, seriously, it took years of work to get where he can do so much as walk through a parking lot without panicking.

    I really think you nailed it that people don’t realize how loud car horns are. You think it’s scary when you’re on the sidewalk, try it when you’re on a bike. You’d be amazed at how many cars blow the horn “to let you know I’m there.”
    Jessica recently posted…A Note on Dog IntelligenceMy Profile

  10. People – even grown men – bark? That’s so weird… Anyway, I agree agree agree! Even if we’ve not been barked at. (Maybe that’s a Big Dog thing.) I get people stopping to ask questions a LOT because we live in a freaking maze and folks get hopelessly lost. I also hate when folks KEEP advancing at you, even when (to me anyway) it should be SO obvious that I’m doing my best to steer clear of you! Rita is sometimes afraid of strange men in hats carrying things, so STOP coming at us when we’re clearly trying to find an exit strategy!
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…FitDog Friday: Creative Games From the Mind of a BeagleMy Profile

  11. The bikes not letting you know they’re coming, lifting small dogs (it just excites us) and what’s with the barking?

    XXXOOO Bella & Roxy

  12. Great post! I’d add that people should ask before approaching your dog. Shyla is fearful, and a person who walks super assertively straight up to her and starts petting her causes *her* to come close to cardiac arrest…
    KB recently posted…Springtime Snow!My Profile

  13. We have had all of these happen, The scariest for my dogs is when a bunch of children will rush at them. I try to use this as a teachable moment. Fortunately dogs have better hearing and I can take a different route or turn around when they hear the scary sounds of kids at play
    jan recently posted…Breakfast warsMy Profile

  14. Okay, first, thank your for a good belly laugh! The one about barking at you reminds me of my own experience. My husband works in the court system in our county. The chief judge knows who I am, and he lives in our town. He has two dogs of his own that he’s very proud of and attached to. I have never heard the man speak, except when I was on jury duty. Every time he sees me in town, whether I have the dogs with me or not, he starts barking. 0.o
    houndstooth recently posted…Travel Gear For Dogs Who Travel In StyleMy Profile

  15. Awesome list & so very true! Totally agree with the reader about dogs being off leash! I have a reactive dog, and dogs being off leash who don’t listen, completely ruin our walk. I also have a highly social friendly dog, so I understand the thought behind it, but I would never want to put my dog at risk of running into a reactive dog and getting hurt. Sharing your blog! :)

  16. I think walking two big newfs gets you a lot more attention than some of the more “ordinary” dogs. I know when I used to walk my neighbors newf, every other car going by seemed to have some kind of reaction…..Is there ever a walk where you don’t hear…”Hey lady, is that a bear you’re walking?”……;-)

  17. Excellent list and I have to say that these annoying things aren’t American specific. I have all the same issues as you do (except the whistle, never had anyone whistle at us) here in France. Although my dog is small, submissive and loves everyone, she can be a little shy if someone randomly comes up to pet her especially without asking. And don’t get me started on dogs who are off the leash! Ugh. Love your dogs!!
    Diane recently posted…The pesky neighborhood cats and their poopMy Profile

  18. Yes to all of the above! I have two Great Pyrenees and people always stop to ask questions about them while traffic is going by! Another one that really upsets me is when people just walk right up to my dogs, especially when they have dogs with them. Thankfully, both of mine are extremely social with people and other dogs, but I have had very reactive dogs in the past. I think people just assume all dogs will be like their’s. There have been a few times my husband has had to pick up our snarling dog because someone just let their dog come over to him without asking for permission.
    Kelsie recently posted…Never Build Stuff with Dogs AroundMy Profile

  19. The worst (for a reactive dog, anyway) is when people drive by slowly with their dog barking like crazy out the window of the car. Claire HATES that. And I get so mad at the drivers because the sidewalk is close to the street and Claire’s harness has spun her around into the road before — thankfully there weren’t oncoming cars at the time.

  20. Good lord, I laughed so hard at this Jen!! I think most people do this innocently, but you’re right it is stupid. :-) But I imagine a little lady with two large dogs is hard to resist. :-0

  21. We are lucky that we have a state park near us and that is usually where we walk. No cars but some bikes. Most people are pretty much in their own zone so rarely do we have issues. Sorry you don’t have a quieter place to walk the boys. You should bring them for a visit here and we’ll all go to our park. :)

  22. All great “Don’t Dos”! And please! If I ask you to give us space, I have a DAMN good reason, so just move on – preferably at least 4 feet away! I don’t want anyone, even rude & inconsiderate people, getting bitten because my dog thinks she or I or both of us are being threatened.
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…National Pet Day?My Profile

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