Monday, October 17, 2011

City Dog: City Dog In-Training

 The other day someone asked us what extra things a dog should know living among all the distractions of the city. We hadn't really thought about it in awhile, since we have gotten so accustomed to our routine with our dogs, but now that we have foster dog Super-Levi we're realizing what it takes to be a city dog in-training.

1) Work on Sit-Stays and Down-Stays
Down-Stay was the most useful training our pooches learned, and it was actually the command that changed our lives. Now we can take the pooches to get money from the ATM, buy things at the Farmer's Market, wait nicely while one of us goes inside, and most importantly...learn to sit nicely at outdoor cafes.
Little Super-Levi has already been doing well with the sit-stays and will automatically sit and wait while I am locking the door, picking up poo, or waiting to cross the street.

2) Be Prepared to Meet all Kinds of  Strange People...and Lots of Dogs!
Our pooches have become accustomed to meeting all kinds of people. People who may be wearing funny costumes, people who may rush up to the dogs and want to pet them, and people who may be stumbling out of bars drunk and trying to put a sombrero on their heads (yes, this did happen. Twice!).
We are lucky that our dogs aren't fearful, but we did need Miss M to practice her people greeting manners. We would have people come over so she could practice greeting them without being over-excited.
Though we still have the issue of seeing so many dogs--I guesstimated about 30 live on our block alone. We have been working on doing training walks where the pooches are busy focusing on their training so we can redirect if they get excited about another dog.
We also have our SociaBulls dog-walking group to be accustomed to being around other dogs, and we have even met up in smaller groups with some of the members we met in the group who live in our neighborhood.

3) Make Their World Big so they are up for Anything
 We love taking our dogs to big festivals, picnics in parks, and to explore new neighborhoods because they become exposed to so many new sights and smells. We started small because we know that crowds can be scary, but now they can move comfortably among crowds, meet all kinds of people, and have even been known to lay in the path of on-walking traffic. Little Super-Levi has proven he is well on his way to being city-desensitized as he even took a snooze in the middle of the street during last weekend's marathon.
These have just been our experiences.What are we leaving out?


Anonymous said...

I love the picture of Levi sleeping during the marathon! Being that cute sure looks like hard work.

Anonymous said...

I think it is so smart to get your dogs out in the city to practice behavior skills! I keep trying to convince my husband that we need to do this but he is too afraid we are "setting the dogs up to fail." They may fail at first, but I think eventually they will become accustomed to it! I think I'll show him this post! ;)

Anonymous said...

You guys are amazing with your dogs, and your fosters are really lucky. Taking the time to work with a third dog must be really time consuming for you, but it's going to pay off big. Levi is developing some very valuable skills that many people work on for years -- so he'll be going to his future home already ahead o the game!

Kari in Alaska said...

we have yet to master the people in full costumes because the pups think they are giant squeaky toys


Two French Bulldogs said...

We agree training walks are very important. Your tutu cracks us up!!
Benny & Lily

Kristine said...

Good for you, and good for Levi! He's obviously becomming a natural city dog.
We are still working on a lot of this stuff with our dog. She gets very anxious if we hang out in one place for too long so we can only do it in short spurts. Festivals, unfortunately, are not among her favourite activities. It's not the amount of people or dogs, it's the waiting around she can't handle.

HoundDogMom said...

We thinks you have covered it all. Mom says we would not make good city doggies. Blah Blah..... Sniffs, The HoundDogs

P.S. You need to stop by our blog and see Winston's video on how he gets clean.

Tucker The Crestie said...

I think you did great, as usual!

Anonymous said...

Kudos on what your dogs can do! I am very impressed! My dog Petey goes NUTS when we are at the beach and anyone (human or canine) goes swimming. He becomes distraught and has been known to swim out to the person/animal in the water. Your input is appreciated!

Kate said...

That's amazing that Levi can sleep in that situation! We don't get the dogs out in crowds like that very often, but it really is a valuable skill. Even just going to routine places like the vet are a lot easier when a dog is well socialized.

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

Super Levi is the perfect little down stayer on his blue blankie. Adora-bull!

It's great you are making such a wonderful impression on everyone you meet.


houndstooth said...

Those pictures all cracked me up!

Another thing that I think is important to remember, is to know your dog's limits. If you're trying to get them to accept new situations, don't overdo it until they're tired and likely to be on their less than best behavior.

The Daily Pip said...

Great tips! Levi is absolutely adorable!!!

Your pal, Pip

P.S: Thanks for posting Dillon on your facebook page!

Jacquelin Cangro said...

Reggie is fearful with strangers who try to pet him which can be hard in the city. So I try not to put him in a potentially bad situation.
But thanks for reminding me to keep reinforcing the down stay. It's an important skill.
I laughed at how many dogs you have on your blog. I think there are at least 30 on my morning walk also. My mom could go a month walking her dogs in the suburbs and not see 30 other dogs.

Unknown said...

Santa is out and about already!?

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