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5 Things You Should Never Do To A Person Walking A Dog

I love taking my Newfies and Corgi for walks.

It’s one of the best parts of my day because we get to spend one-on-one time together and get some exercise in.

Since all 3 of my dogs have different needs and goals on their walks, I normally take them separately unless I have someone who can lend another pair of walking hands. 

I don’t mind taking 3 walks but sometimes our casual dog walk turns into a big cluster of unfortunate events because some people lack basic dog etiquette. 

Having big dogs, we’re already prone to challenges that come standard when taking a Newfie out in public but we also have those types of people that don’t use their brain to send a single that maybe you shouldn’t do when ANYONE is walking a dog. 


Things like laying on your car horn. 

No, no, no, no.

Don’t do that to anyone walking a dog. 

That loud obnoxious horn is not only going to make my dog jump but also myself. 

Sometimes my soul leaves my body while my heart tries to restart itself.

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.

5 Things You Should Never Do To A Person Walking A Dog

Don’t Beep.

Please 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?

Most people do.

So why do it to a person walking a dog?

A loud car horn scares the dog and the person.

female dog owner walking big dog

A scared dog could easily bolt away from their owner never to be seen again or get so spooked that the dog runs across a street and gets hit by a car.

This happened to me TWICE while I was walking Lou yesterday and both times Lou and I jumped. 

One of the times it was when I was just about to cross the street.

I was waiting for the car to pass and as it did, the driver beeped. 

I’m not sure if it was someone I knew or not but I can tell you that I yelled some pretty inappropriate things as they sped off. 

Please stop. 

big brown dog riding in Jeep Wrangler

Don’t Bark Out Your Window As You Drive By

This unfortunate and rude action, usually comes out of the mouth of obnoxious teenagers but I have had my fair share of grown men bark at us.


What’s the point of 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.

brown fluffy dog sitting by Jeep


Don’t Stop Your Car on the Street to Say Hello or Ask Questions.

As a Newfie owner, I get asked a list of basic questions about my dogs all the time and that’s fine.

What’s not fine is when someone stops their car on a busy street to ask what type of dog that is.

This is just dangerous for the driver, for the dog and 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.

I also have had people turn around and park on the street and wait for us which is also kind of creepy. 

Everyone has always been nice but when it’s a van, I admit I get a little nervous.

5 Things You Should Never Do To A Person Walking A Dog

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 several times over the years.

Some dogs get spooked around bikes and might take a jogger who has come up behind them as a threat.

With me and my dogs, I always like to step off the path or sidewalk if there’s room so the other person or biker can safely pass. 

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.”

In my experience, most people are good with this but kids usually sneak up without saying a word and when I’m walking on the sidewalk on a busy road, I can’t always hear someone coming up from behind us. 

If one of my dogs senses or hears you before I do, they might be caught off guard and I’ll be at the end of the leash trying to recover. 

Don’t Whistle

This is 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.

Dog walkers aren’t sure if you are whistling at them or their dog.

Just kidding.

We know you’re whistling at the dog, but seriously, a whistle is a silly thing to do to someone who is walking a dog.

It’s right up there with human barking.

Let Your Off-Leash Dog Run Up To A Leashed Dog

I don’t know why this is still a common occurrence. 

Even if your dog is the friendliest of dogs, that doesn’t mean that every dog is. 

Letting an off-leash dog approach a dog on a leash is an accident waiting to happen regardless of type or size. 

Newfies specifically are often the target of little dog aggression and this can be traumatizing to the big dog. 

5 Things You Should Never Do To A Person Walking A Dog

Not to mention you’re putting everyone in that area in danger. 

It is so frustrating for big owners when a small aggressive off-leash dog starts barking and biting at their dog. 

Newfies usually won’t fight back but they will be scared so many of them will want to head the other direction with an owner attached to the end of their leash. 

I’m not worried about my big dog hurting your little dog, I’m worried about getting dragged away from your dog while you stand there encouraging your dog’s aggressive behavior. 

Also, maybe my dog isn’t the one who has anxiety about off-leash dogs, maybe it’s me. 

Not maybe, it’s me.

Stick Any Of Your Body Parts In A Dog’s Face 

Please ask before you approach me or my dog.

My dogs are friendly but I’m a permanent shield for them and I will always step in front of any of my dogs whenever someone or something tries to touch them without saying a word. 

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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Tony R.

Tuesday 13th of March 2018

I agree for the most part...However, in the city parks, if the sidewalk is the designated bike path, it's YOUR responsibility as the dog owner to move out of the way (I am a dog lover, by the way). Also, sounds like some you commentors need to socialize and train your dogs better. No one should have a dog out in public, around children, if your dog is skittish, nervous or prone to nip (small dogs listen up!). I do not expect a five year old to understand a bunch of "unwritten" dog do's and dont's and again, you need to spend more time training your pupper. For many, owning a dog is a "stylish" thing to do and the owners simply put little to no time in training and highly socializing their dog. If your dog isn't socialble, you need to correct that ASAP. Or, go to dog parks only. The dog is only as good as its human trains it to be.


Tuesday 13th of March 2018

Hi Tony, I have to disagree on some of those. If I'm walking on a bike path and a biker is approaching us from behind it's their responsibilty to tell anyone that they approaching. It's a written biker rule.

Also, my dogs are very well trained and are wonderful around kids BUT it's the parents responsibilty to teach their children how to approach a dog not mine. No child should ever put their face in front of a dog's face, they are animals after all. I took the time to teach my kids this.

Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom

Sunday 12th of April 2015

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.


Saturday 11th of April 2015

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. :)


Wednesday 9th of April 2014

Great list. There have been times when I have been with the dogs in the car in a parking lot and people have barked at them. I am like wtf?


Tuesday 8th of April 2014

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

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