How To Politely Pass Dogs And Their Owners On Your Run

Don't try to jump your way over dog leashes when the sidewalks are full—here is the right way to handle the tricky situation.

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.