How to Properly Interact with Your Neighborhood Pups

The nice weather is here and you know what that means- dogs are everywhere. They’re bringing their dogs to the park, to restaurants, to the coffee shop. Whether you like dogs or not, here’s a few tips for interacting with dogs to avoid an awkward moment or two.

One of our interns here at Five to Nine happens to be a Dog Walker and a handler, so this is based off of her experience.


  • If it’s out and about with its owner, it is safe to assume you’re looking at a pretty well-behaved dog. The owner should know their dog well enough to know where it can and can’t go. Even if the dog wasn’t well-behaved out in public, it would be extremely embarrassing for the owner. So no, if you walk past that dog to go to the bathroom, it’s probably not going to bite you as you walk past.
  • Only pet the dog if the owner gives you permission to do so. If you’d like to pet the dog, it’s polite to address whoever is walking them first so they can make sure their dog doesn’t misinterpret your actions as threatening. When do you pet the dog, make sure to let it sniff your hand before even touching it. This is the dog’s way of addressing you.

*(Owners- if you’re out with your dog and someone wants to pet your dog who doesn’t look familiar with dogs, it’s okay to instruct them on how to interact with them)*

  • If you see a dog off leash, the appropriate response would be to observe and make sure its owner is nearby. Usually, the dog will look back at their owner quite often to make sure their actions are okay. If you do not see an owner nearby or if the dog’s leash is still attached to it, it is safe to assume that that dog is on the loose and you should probably help the owner out by catching it if you can (In this specific scenario, chasing the dog is actually the opposite of what you’d want to do- the dog is just going to run away. You want to lure the dog to you with a treat or stick).
  • If you see two dogs walking on the sidewalk and they’re about to pass each other, it’s best to go around them instead of between. There’s always a possibility that either dog can suffer from a phenomenon known as Leash Aggression, where they’re fine off-leash, but the minute it’s on them, they get mad at other dogs. So you could get caught in the middle of a dog fight.


We hope these tips will help you navigating this big city and the beautiful nature we have here. We live in a great city, let’s all share it with some respect.  

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