Street Etiquette for Dogs

I recently had a client new to puppy-rearing who asked “What is the etiquette for where to allow your dog to pee, when walking in the city?”

My answer? “That’s a great question!”


I could name a few locations/situations in which it’s pretty clearly not cool to allow your dog to urinate or defecate:

  1. In a stranger’s yard or garden
  2. In front of a food or drink establishment
  3. On the front of a store
  4. Wherever a posted sign forbids it

I could also name a few locations that are pretty commonly accepted as A-OK:

  1. In a fenced dog run
  2. In a dog park during designated “off leash hours”
  3. Into a sewer grate
  4. Just off the “curb”, in the street
  5. On a fire hydrant (this one was voted on by all the dogs I asked)

Unfortunately, many, if not most, city locations fall somewhere in-between the definitely-no and definitely-yes. Is it ok to allow your dog to poop right on the sidewalk, where other people are walking — if it isn’t in front of any store and you scoop it up immediately? On city trees? I was once reprimanded at by a sanitation worker for allowing my dog to urinate on a pile of trash bags on the side of the road, because he had to lift them into the garbage truck.


What are your thoughts on street etiquette for dogs in the city?