Have you ever heard the expression “curb your dog”? Or maybe at some point or another, someone said these exact words to you? But what does curb your dog mean at all?
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I used to live in Europe, and obviously, we did not speak English in my home country. So, when I moved to the USA 15 years ago, even though I spoke English, many common expressions were very foreign to me. Including the expression “curb your dog”. I had to learn about it the hard way.
What does curb your dog mean?
When I moved to the USA, I didn’t really know anyone here, so I got a dog. I didn’t really think this decision through, but it turned out to be the best one ever!
Anyways, when I got a dog I had to learn a lot! Like where my dog could poop or pee, where I could walk my dog, where the dog park was, what the rules at the dog park were, and so on.
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As I’ve already said, I had to learn it all the hard way… How I learned what that damn phrase means you ask.
Well, one lovely afternoon, when I was out with my pooch, one not so lovely man on a bike started yelling at me “curb your dog, curb your dog”. Obviously, I got scared and pulled my dog away, thinking my pooch was in the person’s way.
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When I got home I started doing a little bit of research only to find out that this phrase actually has two meanings.
Two possible meanings
According to Urban Dictionary (where I learn what all the new words youngsters use mean, jk) “curb your dog” means:
The first meaning is to keep your dog under control and out of trouble. For example to keep your dog leashed and/or confined to your property in order to keep them from causing trouble for others.
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Besides this, the phrase can also mean picking up your dog’s poo when they are out of your property. For example, while on walks and/or at the local park you should carry plastic bags and watch for when and where your dog poops and clean it up! Obviously, because no one likes to step in and/or smell dog poo!
Where does the phrase come from?
Language is a weird little creation, people come up with new words and phrases each day. So, it’s not really known where the phrase “curb your dog” really comes from.
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However, many believe that the first use of this phrase dates back to the 1930s in New York.
Apparently, at that time (like today as well) there were many dogs in New York. So, many people, especially locals were becoming quite mad about all the dog waste, aka poop and pee, ruining their sidewalks and the areas close to their buildings.
After this, a regulation was introduced that stated that people were required to take their dogs to the curb so they can do their business in the street or the gutter, not the sidewalk.
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To us today this doesn’t make much sense, however back then people didn’t really have cars, so they used horses to get around. And obviously, horses poop and pee too, and they do it where? On the street! Basically, the street was for the animals, so the sidewalks would stay clean.