It's important that your dog is well behaved no matter where you live. In cities, however, it can be even more critical. Owners of city dogs are presented with a wide array of challenges every day, meaning it's vital to stay alert at all times. Here are some handy tips for city dwellers and their dogs that we have put together in order to make life with dogs in a big city so much easier...
1. Let your dog take the lead
While most trainers will teach dogs to walk on the left hand side of their owner, usually at the heel, things work a little bit differently in the city. It doesn't take long for a city dog to learn that city sidewalks are potentially packed with 'goodies'. To ensure your dog stays safe, it's recommended that you walk your dog a little in front of you. That way, you'll be able to see if your dog is nibbling at something that's been discarded on the street. City dogs have been known to eat everything from wrappers to chicken bones and even rat poison. So, if you want your dog to steer clear of street treats, it's best you walk slightly behind them. Be sure to have a good leash.
Curbing your dog is the act of encouraging them to do their business right at the edge of the sidewalk. Some owners believe the dog should step slightly into the street to do it, but this can be dangerous, especially in a city environment. Curbing your dog is a relatively easy thing to do. When the time comes and your dog needs to 'go', pull them to the curb. It won't be long before your dog learns what to do and it will make those city walks much easier.
3. Not every dog is a friend
This is true everywhere, but due to the amount of fellow dogs in the city, it's especially important to recognize that not every dog you are going to come across will be friendly. Exercising caution when approaching another dog is recommended, and if your dog is not that friendly, you may want to look up the Yellow Dog Project. Thanks to their work, a yellow leash, or a yellow ribbon on a leash, has started to catch on as a symbol of an unfriendly dog.
4. Deal with limited space
Most city dwellers will be well aware of the challenges having a dog in a small space presents. The solution however, doesn't have to be getting a bigger place, you just have to organize your existing space better. Creating boundaries that are consistent will give your city dog an understanding of where they should be. A good tip is to set up several dog beds in a single room and one in the living area. That way the dog will know where their spot is, and if you keep your dog's toys there, it's highly likely that they'll want to be there.
5. Public transportation manners
Public transportation can be traumatic for dogs if they're not properly trained, so if you regularly use public transport to get about in the city, it's vital that you train your dog properly. Dogs aren't always allowed on public transport, so it's especially important that dogs behave themselves when they are. That means no lunging, barking or jumping. They should simply lie down beside or between your feet, making sure not to block the aisle. A handful of treats is advisable for when your dog gets it right.
Exercise is important if you want to make sure your dog stays healthy and happy. Long walks as often as possible are great but we know city dwellers don't always have the time. Living in a dog-friendly building could mean that there will be an outside area where the building's dogs can play together. There should also be plenty of dog parks in your city, so try and make the time to visit them if a long walk isn't possible.
The city is a great place to raise a dog because there are plenty of local dog owners who run fun classes specifically designed to heighten the happiness of your dog. Look out for canine agility classes which will teach your dog a number of fun activities like jumping through a hoop, crawling through a tunnel and even walking across a see-saw. Not only will your dog have bundles of fun, but the teamwork involved will strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
Taking your dog for a swim might not seem like the easiest thing to do in a city, but you may be surprised to know that most cities will have groups that set up pools specifically for dogs to swim and have fun. These facilities are especially useful if your dog is going through rehabilitation to help them recover from their injuries.
9. Don't show anger
Everyone feels anger from time to time, but city life can be incredibly demanding and stressful, making it difficult to keep your anger under wraps. If you're feeling angry, don't train your dog. You won't earn any respect from your city dog if you yell at them or handle them harshly. Making your dog feel stressed or fearful is also known to inhibit their learning. So, if the city is making you feel like you're about to burst, take a breath, step back, and train your dog when you're feeling calmer.
10. Getting the timing right
If you're still training your city dog, then you'll find that most cities are quietest early in the morning around 6am. If you and your city dog are still in the early training stages, you will need to find a quiet space in order to get your dog to pay attention to you and learn any commands. Then once training has progressed, you can slowly go to areas that are more crowded to get your dog used to other people and other dogs. A city dog that's slowly integrated into busy life will find the ordeal much less stressful, which will ultimately make for a happier dog overall.