Monday, July 25, 2011

City Dog: Taking your Dog to the Farmer's Market

 While we may not be able to have our own personal garden in the city, the next best thing are the Farmer's Markets. These markets are held in various Chicago neighborhoods each day of the week.I go for the flowers and tomatoes. Miss M goes for the petting opportunities.
We usually go to the Saturday morning market at Clark and Division which is near the Gold Coast: an area close to downtown with a lot of high-rises. I think this market has the best flowers. Since many high-rises have weight restrictions, most of the neighborhood dogs are tiny. So you really don't see a lot of pit bulls walking around. I'm always surprised how many people stop us to ask what kind of dog she is, so since she is the first pit bull many people meet, I want her to be extra well-behaved. Here are some things we do:

Wear a Backpack:
We use Ruffwear's Approach Pack. When Miss M puts on the backpack, she immediately realizes she has a job to do. She becomes more focused. Plus, it keeps my hands free to focus on her because she is carrying everything.

Practice Sit-Stays and Down-Stays:
In crowds like these, it's so important to be aware of everyone's space. Not everyone likes dogs, so in the tight quarters of the booths she needs to make herself as obsolete as possible. This is where all of our practice has a real-life application and she needs to sit and stay while I'm looking at the flowers or paying the vendors.

Choose a Dog-Friendly Market:
While all the markets allow dogs, some are just easier to go to than others. We like the Clark/Division market because it does have such wide aisles. We also choose to go early in the morning which is not only less-congested, but gives us a better selection. I find it difficult to go to the Wicker Park Farmer's market because the stalls are way too close together and there isn't a good walk way. There are also a lot of big dogs coming over from the dog park, and these owners don't always respect boundaries. The last time we were there one girl let her large dog stand at the end of the leash in the passing aisle while she picked out flowers. When we passed by the dog decided to aggressively bark and lunge at us, pulling the girl who literally fell to the ground. Even though Miss M didn't react to the lunging dog, we still prefer to avoid these types of situations so no one can associate us with this type of negative behaviors.
Does anyone else have any good tips for going to the Farmer's Market with your pooch?

18 comments:

loveandaleash said...

great market photos. you're going to have to tell me how you do those compilations sometime. do you do them by hand in photoshop or is there a program where you can drag/drop full-size photos and it arranges them for you?

jen said...

i'm so jealous! the one farmers market we have doesn't allow dogs because the narrow walk way makes for some negative interactions, as you've witnessed yourself.

love the photos!

waldobungie said...

I've been contemplating taking Ginger to the local Farmer's Market to give her some exposure but I've been nervous that she will forget her manners when she sees all the food. Maybe trying the backpack thing would help.

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

We take Heidi to the farmer's market sometimes. She really enjoys all of the attention and it's a good place to practice some of her commands with distractions around us. The vendors get a kick out of her being there too :)

Two Pitties in the City said...

Loveandaleash--E does the compilations through Illustrator. He makes anagram-like templates and resized the photos to fit in the space allowed. I'm still trying to learn this, though we could send you the templates if interested.

Annie & Paul's Mom said...

There are 2 different farms markets I got to in 2 different states. The ones in VA allow dogs, but you're right that you do have to keep an open eye for other dogs an their behaviors. The other one I go to in PA doesn't allow dogs at all. The Dept of Ag runs the ones in PA and since ready to eat food is served at those, there's no pets allowed. There is a church near by that sets up their front lawn with lawnchairs and such for people to sit in (and they do allow dogs).

brooke said...

Its been a while since we've been to the farmers market. The one near us is on Thursday nights, and it closes at 7 so we usually don't get up there in time.
Some of the weekend ones are just too crowded and it gets Darwin too stressed out.
Does the backpack ever make Miss M too hot? I wanted to get one for Dar, but was afraid she'd overheat too much.

Amber said...

I love this post! I've recently started being a weekly booth at my market, and every week I bring my dog, because I sell pet products. There are lots of very well-behaved dogs that walk through, but last week one man had a very aggressive unaltered poodle mix barking and lunging at the end of the flexi, and while he's telling his pup off, he's letting the flexi out so the dog can approach J aggressively. Poor friendly J was floored, and so was I!

AC said...

We're spoiled with all our farmer's markets here in Socal. It's fun to see pictures of your markets in Chicago. Gives a real flavor of the city (bad pun. couldn't help myself).

Dogs aren't aloud in our markets (city health regulations) but Kona is perfectly okay with that. I think I might be bummed about the no dog rule if I had a more confident dog. It would be a fun place to get outside and, like you said, put the training to real-life use!

Benny and Lily said...

Don't you love those markets? Especially when stuff falls
Benny & Lily

Tucker The Crestie said...

A local shopping area has a green market the first Sunday of each month, and my sister, aunt, and I love to go shop for delicious, fresh veggies and then stop at a dog friendly restaurant for lunch before heading home. Unfortunately Tucker & Phoebe are really too little to wear backpacks and help carry our loads, but Cosmo definitely could. I'll have to tell my sis he's slacking on his responsibilities!

Mary said...

Ha, no! We need more tips. I just haven't worked with Neptune enough to be able to take him. I trained him out of his squirrel obsession, but food on the ground is another story. Levi would be okay though. Jason usually goes to the market on Sat. morning while I'm at the gym and he always brings me back a chocolate chip pretzel:)

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

We stole the backpack idea from you a while back! Our favorite activity with Havi is the farmer's market. Its a great place to practice training as well!

houndstooth said...

I've learned to take plenty of water and a collapsible water bowl, because drinking fountains are nonexistent in the area where ours is, and you never know anyway. It's nice to just have it handy. I also make sure that we have our cards with us that have several Greyhound adoption groups printed on one side and our blog on the other. I've learned that a lot of times people really have a lot of questions and want to look into adoption, so I figure strike while the iron is hot. Telling somebody about the names of adoption groups can go in one ear and out the other, but that card turns up again later in your pocket and you have the info right there.

Pit Bull Mom said...

I'm also jealous because our big farmers market does not allow dogs. Not sure why, maybe close quarters like someone else said...

Kitty+Coco said...

We really only have one big market to go to here, but our most important lesson is to find ways to keep our pups cool! Pugs and Bostons are notorious for getting over-heated, so we have found that we must bring a Frogg Togg Chilly Pad for them, plus a misting fan, as well as a thermos of ice water. Haven't had any bad interactions, but it is very crowded. Our friend's pug tries to sneak under the stall's tables for food. Funny.

Jacquelin Cangro said...

I have a great farmer's market just blocks away, but it's been difficult to take Reggie because while my back is turned to pay or select fruit, I realize he's eyeing other dogs or eating things off the ground or in someone's way. I'm going to try your suggestion about the backpack and using the down-stay.

Other owners and their dogs can be a challenge here too. Some people aren't mindful of their surroundings and altercations happen.

Susan Campisi said...

Miss M is such an excellent ambassador. What a good girl. The farmer's markets near me don't allow dogs unfortunately.

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