Being a dog owner has taught me a lot of things.  Picking up poop really isn’t that bad, getting up in the morning still isn’t enjoyable, and it’s still possible to love someone after they eat your floor.  Probably one of the more important things I’ve learned is how to treat other people out and about with their pets.  You may not realize it, but they way you react to someone with their pet may make them hate you, if only for a little bit.

I’ve decided to share my knowledge as a pet owner with you all today.  Note: if you do these things around Gatsby and I, I *probably* wont hate you.  Know that this list is not intended to anger anyone, but to make you understand how your actions affect the dogs and their owners.  Hopefully this post keeps you safer (whether from the dog or the owner) and hopefully gives you a few giggles.

Not to approach a dog walker

 Please don’t ever…

1.  By all means DO NOT just go running up to the dog.  Good lord people, are you trying to get yourselves killed?  Now, this is not to say every dog is mean, all dogs (no matter the breed) can and is sweet and loving.  HOWEVER, that does not mean just running right up to it will give you good results.  Some dogs are easily startled, some get too excited and jump on people, and some unfortunately might not be friendly.

2.  Ask the owner if you can/how you should approach their dog.  Pretty much just ask them if you can pet the dog before waltzing right up to them.  It goes back to the first point but let the owner remain in control of the dog.  I can’t tell you how many people just walk right up to Gatsby.  They don’t realize he’s a puppy and just go for it.  Being a puppy he is still working on not jumping when he gets excited.  We are still working on getting him to sit for people when he is petted.  He knows what he’s supposed to do, but so many people just walk right up without giving Carl or I the chance to get him settled and ready.  Understand that many dogs are still going through training, let the owner remain in charge so they can work with their dogs.

3.  Do not get their dog all hyped up.  I was in Petsmart once and had this woman let her ten year old spend about 5 minutes getting Gatsby all riled up.  All I wanted to do was pick out a brush for him when this girl came up to pet him.  No big deal, you didn’t ask to pet him or let me make him sit, but I can deal.  She then spent the next 5 minutes petting him and getting him to jump up while I tried to calm him down and pick out a brush so we could leave.

4.  Under no circumstances say to me, “It’s ok, my dog at home does this too.  I’m used to it.”  This is most commonly said by people who walk right up and let Gatsby jump on them.  Here’s the thing, I could not care less what you let your dog do.  By all means let your dog jump on people.  Train (or don’t train) your dog however you’d like, but understand I’m doing what I’d like with mine and I’d prefer if you didn’t assume what’s ok for your dog is ok for mine.

5.  Always ask before giving treats or food of any kind.  Feed my dog food from your plate or off the counter and I will cut you.  I understand some people feed their dog human food, if that’s how you roll, you get on with your bad self.  I on the other hand do not want Gatsby to have human food.  Here’s why.  We’re lazy and often don’t eat at a table and Gatsby can reach anything on the kitchen counter if he wanted.  But guess what, he knows we will never give him human food so he doesn’t waste time in trying.  I like it that way.  I can sit on my couch with a plate of food in my lap and know that he isn’t going to try a thing.  Also, you’d be surprised how many dogs have allergies.  Better safe than sorry.

But by all means…

Do ask how old the dog is, and while your it, ask it’s the name.  I love the reaction people give when they learn how young Gatsby actually is, just as much as I love their reaction to his name.

Do compliment the dog.  If you think the dog is pretty, tell them!  Dog people love the crap out of their dogs, so any compliment you give will bring their heart so much joy.

Do tell them what kind of dog(s) you have.  It’s great meeting other dog owners.  You may only talk a few minutes, but those few minutes are like being in a support group.  They get you.

Do tell them if you think their dog is well trained.  Training a dog is hard work.  It takes lots of time and effort.  If you think their dog is well behaved, or at least did one thing well behaved, tell them.  Please, tell them. We work so hard training Gatsby, any time someone notices seriously makes my day.

There you go!  Hopefully this helps you have a more enjoyable time meeting new pets.  Every dog owner wants people to know how awesome their best friend it, so use this list and make the meet the best is possibly can be!

Are you a dog owner? How do you feel about people meeting your pet?
Are you not a dog person?  How do you handle meeting dogs?



  • Oh my gosh I love this. I so wish everyone was on the same page on this! I never realized how important dog etiquette was until I had a puppy of my own. My biggest pet peeve was other dog owners who would let their dog come bother my puppy Ginny, who we were trying so hard to train to stay right next to us and not run after every potential new friend she saw. It made me feel awkward to be the “mean” one with rules!

    • katiewinn

      I’m so glad you agree! Dog etiquette is something nobody really thinks about until they have a dog. Plus, nobody seems to be on the same page on what to do and what not to do. It’s such a struggle! Good luck with your puppy, Ginny, I hope her training goes well! Thanks for ready and Merry Christmas!!!