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The Truth About “Curb Your Dog” (Meaning, Facts & Signs)

What Does Curb Your Dog Mean

Many people have seen a sign that states, “curb your dog”. And wondered what exactly is it they should do. 

What’s more, dog parents can get in trouble for misunderstanding this sign. Or for not complying with it. 

If you want to know what this phrase means, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will reveal the mystery behind it. And help you avoid uncomfortable situations.

Read on and learn:

  • The meanings of this term.
  • What variety of curb your dog signs there is.
  • The way to find out what the sign means in a particular situation.
  • 5 stories and opinions of dog and non-dog parents on the matter. 
  • The amount of money you could be fined with if you don’t respect the signs.
  • And a lot more….

What does curb your dog mean?

To curb your dog has two meanings. The first one is to keep your dog under control (leashed) and not let them cause any trouble such as peeing on neighbors’ flowers. The second is to clean after them when they do their business. It applies to public areas such as parks and sidewalks. 

Curb your dog origin

The “curb your dog” signs first appeared in New York City in the 1930’s. The aim was to raise awareness that leaving dog poop behind is not okay. Hence the owners should pick it up.

Sometime later, in 1987, a new law was introduced. It’s called the “pooper-scooper law”.

Here’s what it states:

“A person who owns, possesses or controls a dog, cat or other animal shall not permit the animal to commit a nuisance on a sidewalk of any public place, on a floor, wall, stairway or roof of any public or private premises used in common by the public, or on a fence, wall or stairway of a building abutting on a public.”

According to this, all dog owners must pick up their dog’s poop and throw it in the trash. The law was created to protect the environment and public health. 

Although this law doesn’t enforce which methods should be used to clean the poop, pooper scooper devices exist. 

A.k.a. poop scoop, this invention is used to clean up dog poo from parks, yards, sidewalks. 

But because carrying a pooper scooper can be too much for a dog parent, there’s the alternative of poop bags. All you have to do is grab the poop and turn the bag inside out. Voila!

Curb your dog signs

“Curb your dog” signs have been seen in New York, Manhattan, Chicago, Long Islands.

I’m sure you’d agree that “curb your dog” signs could be confusing, the least to say. Especially when there’s no picture next to the statement.

How would you then know what exactly is meant? 

Well, the best method is asking someone from the community. 

For example, a neighbor that’s been there longer than you. Or a person in the same area, be it a park or a sidewalk. 

A second option is to figure it out by context. It can be risky, though.

That’s why it could help to keep in mind the following appeals. So, without furtherer ado, I present you… 

3 “curb your dog” signs

#1: “Curb means off the sidewalk. Help keep the sidewalks clean and our trees green.”

Pick that poo up. Period. 

#2: “Please do not let your dog pee on our house or on this sidewalk or fence anymore. We open our windows and smell dog pee and find that disgusting. Thank you. Be a good neighbor and curb your dog.”

This doesn’t require further explanation, does it? So the next time you see such a sign on a neighbor’s lawn, you’ll know what (not) to do.

#3: “Be responsible! Leash, curb and clean up after your dog.” Meaning of curb here? Control your dog. 

Alternative signs to “curb your dog”

9 “funny dog poop” sign examples

What’s more memorable than a funny sign? 

Here’s what I mean: “Kids at play. Keep poop away!” Now that’s a statement to remember. 

Moving on to “Keep off grass. I don’t use your yard as a restroom, please don’t let your dog use mine as one. No pooping or peeing.” This one is crystal clear.

Then there’s another version of this: “If your dog poops please leave your address so my dog can poop in your yard.” From dog parent to another dog parent. 

And what do you think of “It’s not cool to leave us stool. Please scoop your dog’s poop”

Perhaps you’d be a fan of how “Attention dog owners: make sure your dog doesn’t drop anything.” sounds.

Another short example is, “Please, do not empty your dog here.”

One that made an impression on me would be “Not accepting poop deposits! For guaranteed acceptance, please make sure all deposits are within your yard.”

Another personal favorite of mine is “Private property. Absolutely no trespooping.” Talk about funny and effective. 

The 9th choice for this section is “Be responsible. Or train your dog to be.” This sign I came across, had an image of a dog scooping their own poop.

6 “clean up after your dog” sign examples

Clean Up After Your Dog Sign

Although this is a different section, you can see the creativity flowing. 

And maybe, just maybe, something like this puts a smile on your face: “Dogs can’t flush. Scoop the poop.”

There are also more serious signs such as “Warning! Dog waste attracts and fees rats. Clean up after your dog. Or face ticket and fine. Fines issued from $50 to $500.”

I’d definitely not think twice after reading this.

Then there’s also a similar sign saying “Police your dog. Dog waste transmits disease and contaminates water supplies. Leash, curb and clean up after your dog.”

Apparently the meaning of “curb” here is “keep under control”. 

Kind of what the next sign has in mind: “Please. Your dog, your yard.”

There’s also a more understanding appeal. Namely “Poop happens. Please clean it up.” I mean, what could be more understanding and polite at the same time? 

Last, from this category, let’s look at the more general sign “Good neighbors curb their dogs.” 

How I see it, this combines having a leashed dog that doesn’t urinate or defecate in your neighbor’s property. Plus, if the dog does poop in the neighborhood, the dog parent cleans it up.

7 “keep dog off grass” sign examples

Sometimes “curb your dog” could mean to simply restrain your dog from setting foot on a neighbor’s lawn. Let alone urinate or defecate. 

And while some people could chose to use this short phrase, others make their requirements pretty clear. 

For example, take this: “No dogs or people in the garden.”

Here’s another one. This is a combo between a dash of humor and a clear message: “Thou shall not walk thy dog in our garden.” 

What another slogan says is: “Please don’t water our plants! Curb your dog.” Ah, if only more signs would be so specific.

If these three don’t speak to you, how about: “Dog urine kills plants. Please curb your dog.” I’d say this one is about leashing your dog and not allowing them to soil the plants. Like the previous one.

The 5th example speaks for itself: “Grass doesn’t grow where the dogs go…Please no peeing on lawn. Thank you.”

As to the 6th one, I’d describe it as humorous and on-point: “No dog pee please. I’m trying to grow.”

But back to curbing for the last sign: “Please… Help protect our plants. Curb your dog.”

3 “dog leash” sign examples

Now, here comes another funny one: “Dogs… Got your leash and your bag? Be a responsible dog. Ensure your owner has both”.

And here’s one that involves “curb” again: “Please curb your pet at the sidewalk. Pet waste destroys the landscaping.” Another shorter version is “Please curb your dog at the sidewalk.”

The way I interpret it is to clean if your dog does his or her business on the sidewalk. 

As a third example here, I’d like to present one sign that combines 2 meanings of “curb”: “Dogs must be on leash and under control at all times.”

Fines for not curbing your dog

Now you know what curb your dog means. But what can happen if you don’t do it?

You might get surprised with a (solid) fine. With that in mind, let’s see with how much exactly:

  • Miami, Florida – $50 fine.
  • NYC, New York – $250 fine.
  • Houston, Texas – $75 – $500 fine.
  • Chicago, Illinois – $50 – $500 fine.
  • Los Angeles, California – $500 fine.
  • San Francisco, California – $320 fine.
  • Washington, D.C – $150 – $2,000 fine.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – $300 fine.

5 “curb your dog” experiences

#1: What does “curb” even mean?

Okay, if you were confused by what “curb” means, you’re not the only one. 

One dog parent shared with us what she went trough. She had just moved to a new area. And she was walking her dog. 

Then a wild “curb your dog” sign appeared. And the dog decided to pee on it. Not sure what the expression meant, the dog parent continued the walk. After all, the dog hadn’t pooped.

All of a sudden a sharp voice behind her made her stop and turn around. An angry neighbor has witnessed the whole thing. He told her she wasn’t using her head and repeated that she should “curb her dog”. 

The dog parent was shocked. She didn’t know how to react at the moment. And she was puzzled by the neighbor’s request. Where was her dog supposed to pee then?

Although she could’ve gone back and reasoned with the neighbor, she decided to drop it. His attitude showed that it’s not likely this discussion will go anywhere.

Conclusion: When you see a sign saying “curb your dog” that is on a lawn, restrain the dog from peeing or pooping there. If your dog poops, simply pick it up and all should be fine.

#2: Dog poo next to the stage and speakers

One civilian voiced out on the Internet how frustrated they were. 


Apparently, a dog owner let their dog poo next to a stage with speakers. And not only that but the owner didn’t bother to pick it up.

Imagine someone letting their dog poop where you work or have fun. Not cool.

#3: Unbiased dog parent

Here’s what one devoted dog lover and parent has said to me: 

“I hate it when dog owners act irresponsibly when walking their dog. It’s not the dog’s fault. If I can curb my dog, so can others. The person has to pay attention to their dog and not mindlessly stare at or talk on their phone though.”

Then they told me how they prevent possible pee accidents at their door. 

The solution?

Vinegar. But it only works if you sprinkle a few drops often enough. 

Another benefit of using this method is that you don’t have to watch who’s passing by your gates 24/7. 

Or bother to always ask them nicely to not let their dog pee there. After all, asking works at times but not 100%.

#4: The stench of the city streets

Imagine walking down the streets of the big city and being hit with a horrible stench in the face. 


But that’s precisely what happened to one citizen while they were trying to enjoy a peaceful walk. The civilian thought it was because a lot of dogs were relieving themselves there. 

From that point of view, it’s understandable why some places have “curb your dog” signs. 

#5: The house that dogs peed on

You might think that we dog parents don’t have it easy with signs prompting us to curb our dogs. That’s true to some extent. 

But put yourself in the shoes of people who are non-dog parents. Or ones who do have a dog but are considerate.

Here’s an example. 

One acquaintance of mine told me how dogs were peeing on the brownstone wall in front of her house. So it started to smell.

My acquaintance spotted a dog owner in the act of letting his dog pee there. And she decided to politely ask him to not do that. 

To her surprise, the dog owner got agitated. He stated without a trace of regret that this is public property. 

But hey, redoing the brownstone isn’t covered by public funds. And it will need to be redone after many dogs have peed on it.

I’d say that’s far from considerate from that dog parent. 

BONUS: Dog poo on the street vs. the sidewalk

The term became clear to one civilian recently. They explained that curbing your dog means to let them do their business on the street and not on the sidewalk. As required by law.


Because there are a lot of kids passing on the sidewalk, playing, falling, etc. Some small babies are learning how to walk. Hence they land on their hands a lot of times.

Last words

Hopefully, these stories will help you see things from a different perspective. And become more aware of what people in your community expect when they say “curb your dog”.

As for the non-dog parents, they have to understand that dogs have needs. And that sometimes pee and poo happen. 

If the dog parent is picking up their dog’s poo, it’s fine. As for pee, dogs have to pee somewhere. Be it on trees, grass, or the street. 

Try to be understanding of the other person’s situation. And be considerate.