Life with Bawse: Dog Walking Etiquette

I know, I know, it’s been awhile since we updated on life with Bawse. He’s a grown up now so nothing new, just the same ol’ same ol’. He’s a big brother, and so he’s been very busy minding over his little sister and …attempting to keep her out of trouble.

We still occasionally go on family adventures where we bust out the stroller and go for a nice walk at the park. Yes, we know he’s a pitbull. Yes, we know the stigma around them. But we’ve raised him since he was a tiny, goofy pup and know his nature. Yes, if you don’t know him he can look intimidating at times, especially if you’ve already have a preconceived notion that pitbulls are “vicious”.

As a pitbull parent, I feel like I am much more strict on dog walking etiquette than others with more “friendly” breeds. I was recently inspired by the dog-walking service, Rover to write about some dog walking etiquette that I follow, and hope other people follow.

Keep Your Dog on a Leash

Bawse is always on his leash in a public setting. He is always asked to walk by our side, or behind us, and told to keep eye contact. We’ve come across plenty of people who just let their small dogs run around off leash. And there are countless times where they would run STRAIGHT up on Bawse. This angers me because if anyone or anything runs up on you that you don’t know, you would be on guard, so Bawse has every right to take a protective stance. He is a lot stronger than me, so if something like this happens I ask him to sit and wait patiently, hoping that whoever owns that dog would stop or grab their dog before Bawse loses his patience. Because you know that as soon as he even sniffs another dog, the owner will be quick to act like he’s about to attack their dog, when clearly they are at fault.

If we are not at a dog park, keep your dog on a leash. Sometimes I feel like people intentionally try to get a rise out of Bawse just so that they can say something bad about pitbulls. Luckily for us, he is very patient, probably more so than my husband and I because we would be the first to yell at you about keeping your dog on a leash. One time a lady saw us walking Bawse and intentionally UNLEASHED her poodle who ran straight up into Bawse’s face. Bawse immediately sat down and looked at us like “What the hell Mom?!” and basically waited for us to handle it. My husbanad quickly yelled at the lady to get her dog.

If you can, cross the street.

I don’t know your dog, you don’t know mine. We aren’t looking to make new puppy friends. If we did, we would go to the dog park. When we are walking in the neighborhood, or hiking at a local park we are on a mission. Usually if we see other people with dogs we try to walk away from them, or cross the street because we know dogs are curious and will want to sniff each other. If we are on a small path and see another dog coming, we have him sit, and wait to the side until they walk by if there isn’t enough room for both of us. There has been an instance where the owners just let their dog get in Bawse’s face. Move your dog, and keep walking. Clearly we got out of YOUR way to be polite. So please take your dog and move quickly. We don’t want to talk to you, get your dog out of our dog’s face. This is not okay.

Pick up after your dog. Obviously.

This is a no brainer.

Ask the owner first before you pet someone’s dog. 

Bawse loves people. He loves kids. He gives kisses. He’s super friendly, and doesn’t realize how big he is. Some people’s dog are skittish and don’t like people. Don’t just roll up on someone’s animal and try to touch them without asking first. Bawse loves attention. But he needs to be introduced properly or he will jump and lick all over you. If we ask him to sit, and wait, he will sit and let you love on him as much as you want, but if you give him an inch he will take a mile…meaning he will knock you over and lick all over your face. Be careful what you wish for.


This is the obvious, most respectful thing you can do when it comes to walking your dog. Are there other things I’m missing, or something that you think would be good dog walking etiquette?

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