5 Tips for Dog Walkers from Runners

fri5Runners and dogs. Dogs and runners… Every runner has an unpleasant dog experience or two…or seventeen..in her history.

I am an animal lover. I really do like them, but I admit I get scared of dogs when I run. I’ve been charged at, chased and jumped on. I’ve witnessed dogs biting other runners. Sure, the vast majority of dog owners are awesome considerate people, but not every dog owner sees what we see.

Our goal today is to shed a little light on what runners would like from dog owners so that we can peacefully coexist with their sweet, furry companions.

Fleece coats do a doggie good!
Dogs and runners – peacefully coexisting for generations!  Img of Otto courtesy of our own Ginkgo

1. The single most important thing we want from dog owners is that you keep your dog on a leash of appropriate length (if it’s too long it defeats the purpose) when in public or secured in your yard. This is because …

2. An unsecured dog to a runner is a potential threat. A secured dog communicates to us that you are a responsible and considerate dog owner. An unsecured dog communicates to us that you are potentially a careless dog owner (we want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but hey, we don’t know you!) and worst of all, creates the opportunity for your dog to attack us. S0 …

3. If we ask you to secure your dog we’re not trying to be assholes. We just don’t want to be bit, jumped on, scratched or chased by little Muffin. We’re only concerned about our personal safety, not getting off on telling other people what to do. The goal is to pass by as quickly and uneventfully as possible, and that is all.

4. Telling us she’s friendly means nothing to us because of course Muffin is nice to you. You feed her! You’re not exactly an objective judge of Muffin’s temperament in the face of a running stranger who may be a little or a lot afraid of her. You may be 100% positive that your pup is very sweet and friendly, but don’t forget – we’re strangers to him!

5. And please clean up your dog’s poop.

Runners, do you have any tips for dog owners? Don’t worry dog owners, we’ll give runners tips from you soon. If you have any tips for runners feel free to share them in the comments and we might include them in that post! 

Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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  1. I appreciate dog owners who keep their dogs, on leash, close to them, not on the other side of the path (the long leash issue) or who actually stop and have their dog sit at their side until I pass by. When I run by houses with dogs running along their fence (and often jumping and barking) I often try to quickly get to the other side of the street. The dogs MAY be contained, but their actions don’t necessarily give me much comfort that they will in fact stay on their side of the fence. Not sure what to do about this situation? Or the dogs who come just to the edge of their yard, no fence, follow along: are they going to jump? nip at my heels? trip me? Ah, tough ones.

  2. All the issues I’ve ever had with dogs would’ve been solved of their owner kept them on a leash or in a secured yard. Just recently I was bit (not hard enough to break skin, but hard enough to hurt) when an owner let their dog out early in the morning. She was “right there” but the dog was frightened. Years ago a dog followed me home for several miles. I actually had to walk home from that point because every time I would run, the dog would jump on me. I was scared to death! I got home and called animal control. The dog didn’t have tags and even if it did, I was not a dog lover and am actually afraid of most dogs, so I was too afraid to touch this (HUGE!) dog anyway. Looking back, I know that the dog was being friendly, but I did not know that at the time.

    Please just keep your dog on a leash if it is not in your (secured) yard.

  3. I was just thinking about this yesterday! I was running on a fairly busy road near my house when I noticed two Golden Retrievers in the yard across the street racing towards me. I slowed to a walk and tried to avoid looking at them so as not to encourage them, but they shot across the road anyway, and caused a car to have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting them. They were friendly enough, but one of them wanted to play and kept jumping up on me and barking. They wanted to follow me, so I had to lead them back up to the house, where a gentleman finally answered only after I had knocked several times. I was then told that the dogs didn’t even live there, and I had to take another 10 minutes to track down their owner.

    I’m a dog lover who works in the veterinary field, and all I could think about was how dangerous this had been for both me AND the dogs. I think we just have to remain aware… or maybe carry pieces of steak around in our pockets to throw to cause a diversion? ;o)