Etiquette expert Lizzie Post advises on how runners should deal with neighborhood dogs that sound downright ferocious.

Etiquette expert and runner Lizzie Post knows a thing or two about the rules of the road. Whether you’re questioning the safest ways to negotiate trails, when to join running groups or even how to deal with scary neighborhood pets, the great-great granddaughter of etiquette’s original reigning queen, Emily Post, has advice just for you.

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I have to run by this crazy barking dog to get out of my neighborhood. Is it okay if I ask my neighbors to put their dog in the backyard?

I don’t know the setup of your neighborhood, or the sidewalk configuration near this particular home. I don’t know the traffic on the road, or even if the other side of the street is safe or available for runners. I also don’t know if the neighbor’s dog is behind a fence or (hopefully not!) tied up. But it doesn’t sound like this dog lunges at you or tries to attack—I’m guessing you would have told us if that was the case. My assumption is that you are physically safe and just startled by the aggressive barking each time you run by.

Much as a barking dog can be scary, I don’t think you’re in good stead to ask your neighbors to put their dog out back on the chance that you go for a run. Now, you may run daily at the exact same time. But even so, wouldn’t it be easier to cross the street or even just maybe step off the sidewalk a little farther away from this particular yard? This is one of those situations where I would try to change my behavior rather than try to get a stranger—even a neighbor—to change their situation.

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