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How To Politely Pass Dogs And Their Owners On Your Run

Etiquette expert Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, knows a thing or two about the rules of the road—and the descendant of the famous decorum diva is a runner too!

Q: I often come across people walking dogs with the leash taking over the sidewalk and the owner paying no mind. What’s the best approach when “on your left” isn’t working? Sometimes I just hop over!

Oh my gosh! Don’t get me wrong—I love this image of you hurtling over anything that gets in your way like you’re some kind of action hero, but from a safety standpoint, I would definitely recommend not jumping over the leash. You might startle the person or the dog and that cool action scene turns into a slapstick comedy (or tragedy).

To people with dogs (including me): Pay attention to your surroundings. Taking up the whole sidewalk is not appropriate. Okay, now for how to deal with the situation. When “on your left” said loudly doesn’t work, it’s time to move. You could pass on the right or run off the sidewalk entirely.

Whatever makes safe sense for the environment is truly your best option. Stopping and explaining why it’s dangerous or bad to let the dog wander is not worth it. It’s unlikely to do much other than interrupt your run and make you more irritated.

Have a question for Lizzie? Email or tweet @WomensRunning with the hashtag #ProperForm.

Lizzie Post

Lizzie Post

Lizzie Post, is the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette 18th edition as well as Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette 6th edition and The Etiquette Advantage in Business 3rd edition. Lizzie does speaking engagements across the country sharing advice about entertaining, weddings, dating, dining etiquette, tech-etiquette, finance and lifestyle. She has worked as a spokesperson for companies including Bank of America, American Express, AirBnB, and Genentech. She is a columnist with Women’s Running magazine, Good Housekeeping magazine, and She is the co-host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast on American Public Media’s podcast network Infinite Guest. She is a regular guest on American Public Media’s The Dinner Party. Lizzie offers a fresh perspective with an engaging and modern voice. She delights in tackling etiquette’s taboo topics with the media, making her a popular source. Her interviews include NBC’s The Today Show, Katie, Fox & Friends, Live with Kelly and Michael, The Gayle King Show, The Wendy Williams Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Harper’s Bazaar, Travel & Leisure, Glamour, Redbook, The Huffington Post and more.