Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Remember Your Manners, Share the Road

DEAR NATALIE: I walk my dog a few times each day. When I see a runner coming toward me and my dog, I always move over into a driveway or the front walk of a house until the runner passes. The problem is with runners coming from behind. Whether they don't have dogs, are in their "zone" or deeply into the music being piped into their ears, I don't know. But they don't call out or attempt to move over. Most dogs are protective of their owners and may well interpret someone running toward them, particularly from behind, as a threat. This is a good way for a runner to be attacked or bitten by a dog, or to trip over a dog. It's not always possible to hear their footfalls on the pavement to alert you that they are coming up behind you. Is there any way to address this when people are running behind you? -- Dog Walker

DEAR DOG WALKER: Short of yelling at the runner after the fact, there isn't much you can do, unfortunately. We all have to share the spaces in which we live, and that means we cannot expect others to be mind readers. If you are a runner and you see someone with a pet, just let them know you are running behind them. Bicyclists, not all, but some, will say "left side" when they are biking behind me when I am walking across a bridge, because it is the safe thing to do for everyone. I can't always hear a bike behind me just like you can't always hear a runner. So, let your letter be a reminder to us all that those lessons we learned about sharing in kindergarten hold true into our adult lives. 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)