Tuesday, June 5, 2012

City Dog: How to Prepare Your Pooch for a Street Festival

In Chicago, we know how awful the winter can be, so we all make every effort to be outside.Our city is known for the many street festivals held every weekend. They are usually the same: closing down a major street and paying $5 to hang out, hear live music and grab a beer and an 'elephant ear' or two. Though we also find this to be something our whole dog and human family can do together. The pooches love the chance to meet people and be petted, we like letting people meet our pitbull-type dogs. It's also the perfect place to expose our adoptable foster dog to a lot of people.
Last weekend we went to our first festival of the season (with a few dog friends). We realized the winter has made us a bit rusty, though here are some things we have learned over our years of festival-going:

Knowing Dog Triggers:
It actually took me awhile to take Miss M to her first festival because festivals have so many of her excitable triggers. She is always searching for discarded food scraps, and the mere smell of beer causes her eyes to grow large (I think her original owner used to drink with her!). We had to work on 'leave it' and focusing on me alot before I could even bring her to a festival. Though she still uses the opportunity to lunge after every loose french fry, I now know to anticipate it before she does.
The festivals also have a lot of drunk people grabbing at the dogs, loud bass, and other noises. Back in the day Miss M and I used to practice by sitting outside the parameter for awhile, so she could get accustomed to the bustle without it surrounding her.

Awareness of Space and Crowds:
The festivals can get really busy, so we're always mindful of the crowds. We usually go in the early afternoon because later in the afternoon, and definitely in the evening, it becomes too crowded for us to walk.
We also notice a lot of other people who bring their dogs will just let their dog come right up to our dogs, many sneaking up from behind, and even with retractables which can end up getting tangled. Miss M, usually isn't even aware of other dogs, but she didn't like all the dogs who kept getting in her face. It has been easiest for us to just find a place on the curb to sit with our pooches so we have more awareness of who is approaching. Plus the pooches like watching the parade of people.

Planning Ahead
Just like people, pooches can get hot and sunburned. We make sure to plan ahead with one of our pre-packed 'City Dog Essentials' bags so we have water and a bowl, sunscreen for the pooches white areas, and a sarong to throw over the curb so they don't have to sit on the hot pavement (though we do try to find the shady spots).

How does everyone else prepare their pooches for crowds in the summer?

PS. Flashback to this same festival last year where we brought our sweet new foster.

8 comments:

Taylor G said...

We took Mugsy to his first festival (Mayfest) this weekend and he did AWESOME. At first I think he was a little overwhelmed with the crowd but stayed right by our side as we tried to find a slightly more open spot. Once we found a good spot we laid out a blanket and gave him a toy and water. We stayed for about 4 hours and he was completely relaxed the whole time. People kept coming up to him and petting/asking about him. We made sure to not let him interact with the other dogs around and was very aware of our surroundings. Not a single person had anything mean to say about Mugsy or the breed. I was surprised by the number of parents that let their small children come up and pet him. It gave us the confidence we needed to take him on future festivals. He was a great ambassador for the breed and made us very proud.

pittiefullove said...

We went to our first festival of these season this past weekend too (Here in Bmore)...though we went dogless. What a change. We can't wait to take our next foster. We only take our bomb-proof dogs first (Knox loved festivals, but was a french fry hunter just like Ms. M.) A bunch of our past fosters loved the festivals, so we can't wait to get our hands on the next one to stroll around with this summer!

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

You were the one who encouraged us to go to street festivals with Havi, and it became her favorite actitity. Its a cheap way for us all to stay together. We make sure one person walks a drop ahead of havi to look for any of her triggers on the way (skateboarders especially)

Two Kitties One Pittie said...

We had so much fun with you guys last weekend, and we can't wait to make a habit out of going to the festivals together! Zoe was absolutely WIPED afterward, which was an added bonus! :)

bigalrlz said...

Any word on how Bella is doing? I forgot how adorable she was until this post reminded me :) She was adopted by folks in your hood, right? Ever see them?

Two French Bulldogs said...

Such a great way to socialize. It drives mom nutty when others let their digs approach. My Lily, many times, will start screaming causing me to get a bit antsy. But the more exposure the better. Kudos to you guys
Benny & Lily

Faith Shen said...

Everytime we go to the street festival we always have a great adventure and were enjoying watching talented people that dancing on the street.

Dog Shock Collar | Puppy & Human Bond

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

Awww, Mr. B looks so sad in the first photo. Did someone take his stuffie? Is he lost without his camera?

Emma

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