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Dog Owner Etiquette? You Bet!




At Head of the Class, we’re big proponents of dog owner etiquette. We think having a dog in the family is a responsibility, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Believe it or not, there is a certain etiquette you should follow when taking your dog out on the town. Many people don’t know this, especially if they have never owned a dog before. If this describes someone you know, then this is the perfect article to share. Here are some tips for handling your pooch in public.



  • Don’t let your dog rush up to others. This means people and other dogs. Teach your dog good manners so that he or she doesn’t get too excited and overwhelm someone who may not be a dog lover or another dog that might be frightened by an overzealous greeting. If you need help teaching your dog this skill, contact a dog trainer.


  • Bag your dog’s feces. This should be common sense, but I’m sure we’ve all walked through a public park and noticed a few doggie land mines where they shouldn’t be. Cleaning up dog feces is the law in most states and even if it isn’t in your state, it’s just polite. Also, dog feces contribute to water pollution. When the rain washes dog feces down into storm water runoff, the feces can contaminate local bodies of water with bacteria. Don’t let your dog’s doings become a biohazard!  


  • Keep your dog on a leash. This will go a long way toward not letting your dog rush up to others. There are also leash laws in many places, so keeping your dog off the leash (no matter how well trained) may not just be impolite in your town. You could be breaking the law. Keep your pup on the right side of the law and keep him or her leashed (unless you are in a dog park where dogs are allowed to be off leash).


  • Keep your dog’s boredom barking to a minimum. We all have that one neighbor (or several if you’re really unlucky) who leaves the dog out all day and night to bark at every passing child, cat, bird or howl in the wind. Dogs often get bored outside, and boredom leads to barking. Be a good neighbor and a good pet companion and bring your dog inside.

  • Communicate with other dog companions. If you’re out walking your pup and you come across someone else with a dog on a leash, ask if it’s ok for your dog to approach and if the other dog is friendly. If you see even the most irresistibly cute puppy, the polite and safe thing to do is ask if it’s ok to pet or play with the dog.


Paying attention to your dog and those around your dog can help keep your pup and others safe and happy, and that’s what dog owner etiquette is really all about. For more tips and information, feel free to contact Head of the Class Dog Training.

-Lisa Marino

Lisa Marino, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP, PMCT, has taken her varied teaching experiences and applied them to helping owners understand and train their beloved four-legged family members. She has more than four years’ experience leading group dog training classes at Best Paw Forward in Hartland, WI, and opened Head of the Class Dog Training LLC in Winchester, VA in 2012, where she conducts group classes and private lessons, as well as helps owners to modify their dogs' problem behaviors.

Lisa earned her CPDT-KA in 2012, is a 2015 graduate of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy and is a Pat Miller Certified Trainer.

She has 4 registered therapy dogs and is a Pet Partner Therapy Team Evaluator and a member of HOPE AACR. As a former middle school teacher, she works well with families and children and does school presentations on various dog related topics.

Head of the Class Dog Training LLC 

Winchester, VA