Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How- To Week: Teaching Your Dog to Be a City Dog

We've been meeting a lot of people who have either moved, or are moving to, the city and were curious what their pooches would need to know to be able to survive among the distractions of the city. While we had fallen into our routine, back when we were fosterig Super-Levi we began realizing some key things dogs should know as they become city dogs in-training. Since this is 'how-to' week, here are some things we've learned to help dogs integrate into city-life.
(And check Our Facebook Page for more current photos of the pooches).

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?


Taricha and Nyx said...

Do you have many problems with strays and wanderers? How can we avoid them! Having moved to the city recently, its become our biggest challenge. Avoiding them, watching out for them, trying not to react. We've had dogs run straight across a busy street to greet us!

Kate said...

haha, you know a dog is well socialized when they can sleep in the middle of the city!

Emily said...

Hades was naturally a city dog but Braylon was a backyard dog so we had new challenges with her. She didn't have poor behaviors walking in the busy city but she was definitely less secure. It was just exposure therapy all the way for her. When an intimidating male stranger (when she was still struggling through her male fear) pulled on her tail once I almost had a heart attack-- to which she just casually turned around and looked at him like oh... hi. (Thank goodness!) Making their world big is key!

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