Navigating Dog Walking Etiquette

Anne Quinn-Diment

As the soaring temperatures in SaddleBrooke begin to drop, more people are venturing outdoors for leisurely strolls with their four-legged companions. It’s essential to remember that proper dog-walking etiquette ensures a harmonious experience for everyone. Here are some valuable tips to make your dog walks safer and more enjoyable.

1. Walk against traffic. When you hit the streets with your pup, remember to walk against the flow of traffic. This simple practice allows you to see oncoming vehicles, giving you precious moments to react if necessary. It’s a fundamental safety precaution for both you and your dog.

2. Yield to cars, golf carts, and cyclists. In our vibrant community, golf carts, cyclists, and cars share the road. Always yield the right-of-way to these vehicles. If you see a golf cart approaching in the golf cart lane, move to the side and allow it to pass safely. When cyclists approach, keep your dog on a short leash to prevent them from darting into the path of the bike. With the prevalence of distracted drivers, always make sure that you are prepared to quickly move out of the way if needed.

3. Dealing with a reactive dog. If you have a reactive dog, one that becomes agitated or anxious around other dogs or people, it’s crucial to be proactive during your walks. If you see another person and dog walking toward you, and you’re correctly walking against traffic, calmly and confidently cross the street to create distance between your dog and the approaching pair. Do not slow down and do try to verbally distract your dog. By doing this, you reduce the likelihood of your dog tugging, lunging, or barking, which can be stressful for both you and your furry friend.

4. Encountering other dogs. Meeting other dogs during your walk can be a delightful experience, but it’s essential to ensure it’s a positive one. If you want to approach a friendly-looking dog and owner, remember to ask for permission before allowing your dogs to greet each other. Some dogs may not be as social as others and respecting their boundaries is crucial. Keep your dog on a short leash during introductions, allowing for a controlled and safe interaction. Watch for signs of discomfort in either dog, such as stiff body language or raised hackles. If you sense tension, calmly and gently move on to prevent potential conflicts.

5. Clean up after your dog. A cardinal rule of dog walking etiquette is to always carry waste bags and promptly clean up after your dog. Not only is it considerate to fellow walkers and the environment, but it’s also the responsibility of a dog owner. Dispose of the waste in the nearest trash receptacle that accepts dog waste.

6. Respect public spaces. SaddleBrooke boasts beautiful public spaces, and it’s essential to respect them during your walks. Keep your dog on designated paths and areas, and always on a leash. Maintaining the safety and serenity of these spaces benefits everyone in the community.

7. Be mindful of wildlife. During your walks, be considerate of the diverse array of wildlife and local fauna. Keep your dog on a leash to prevent them from chasing or disturbing wildlife, or running into a “spine” or “thorn.” This helps protect the natural beauty of the area and ensures the safety of all creatures, great and small.

By adhering to these dog walking etiquette tips, you can enjoy safe and pleasant walks with your canine companion while fostering a sense of community and respect. As the temperatures cool down and more people venture outdoors, let’s make every walk a chance to embrace the beauty of our community and share it harmoniously with our furry friends.

The SaddleBrooke Dog Park was created to provide member dogs with a safe space to exercise off-leash and socialize. The member-funded park includes separate areas for small dogs and large dogs, as well as a fenced area for senior and other dogs who prefer less interaction. All member dogs must have proof of current rabies vaccination. The park is located at the intersection of S. Sand Crest Drive and S. Clubhouse Drive. For more information, visit For membership information, contact [email protected].