What does ‘curb your dog’ mean?

Dear Labby,

I have a neighbor who harasses me on a weekly basis about my dog. I always carry a plastic bag to pick up Sonny‘s dog poop. I try always to walk near a curb unless there’s a car coming. Today two bicyclists were coming toward us on the street, so I quickly got on the sidewalk. While there, Sonny peed at the stop sign pole. The bicyclist yelled, “Thanks for curbing your dog, neighbor.” He then repeated it twice, and not in a kind way.

Is it wrong for my dog to pee at the stop sign? Is that not “curbing my dog”? I just moved here and I feel like I’ve given the impression that I don’t care about others in the community.

Signed:

Dog Relieved Itself on Public Pole Inciting Neighbor’s Gall

Dear Dog Relieved Itself on Public Pole Inciting Neighbor’s Gall:

Curbing your dog means picking up his poop, preventing him from peeing on your neighbor’s gladiolas, and just generally being conscientious about all matters of pup’s excretion. Sure, ideally our dogs would deposit only in designated doggie dumpers — and then they’d wipe and wash up. But with all the animal-related issues to get your bike basket in a bunch about, peeing on a sign pole should hardly register, even on the petiquette-o-meter.

Maybe a visit to the neighbor’s house would help. Let him know you’re just as concerned about public sanitation and community harmony as he is, perhaps beginning with: “Seems like we got off on the wrong foot. I just want to assure you that I’m working with Sonny to be as inconspicuous as possible in his bathroom habits…”

Meanwhile, D.R.I.P.P.I.N.G., keep scooping that poop and doing your best to see that Sonny isn’t soiling private property. For now, avoid dog walks through Arlington National Cemetery and the New York Fire Hydrant Museum and you’ll probably be well within the boundaries of etiquette.