Tuesday, November 12, 2013

City Dog: Walking like a City Dog

There is so much that we love about living in the city, but at the same time, sometimes it can be frustrating to be surrounded by so, so many people.
The good thing is that there are some understood rules to help us all get where we need to go.
The bad thing is that not everyone understands these rules.
Which can get frustrating after missing train stops because people don't move away from the doors in time, not being able to get onto buses because people think moving to the back of the bus means only moving to the back exit, and literally walking into people who stop suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk to point up at a building.
Having experienced so many of these obstacles, I've become more aware of how my actions can impact so many other people.
And we've become more aware of not becoming an extra obstacle with our pups.
We aren't perfect, but these are some things we've learned about not becoming an obstacle in the city with our pups:

The Fast Lane
One unspoken rule about the sidewalks is that slower walkers walk to one side to allow room for faster walkers to pass. And to never take over the whole sidewalk.
We are conscious of keeping our pups by our side, and not drifting to the side, allowing people to easily pass. We also never walk 2 across on our family walks, which is also why you'll see so many of these back photos of Mr. B and E.

Respecting Space
We know that people have different tolerance levels around dogs. Some people don't like dogs. Some people are afraid of dogs. Some people might like dogs but they might not want to get close to dogs when they're wearing their nice work clothes.
We work to keep our pups close to our side when walking, and we have our dogs walking on the outside so people don't need to get close to the pups if they are uncomfortable. When we're stopped to pick up their poo we keep our pups in a sit position near us not blocking the sidewalk.

On Sidewalk Dog Parking
The pups peek inside the restaurant window
We've written before about problems with dog 'sidewalk parking' and why this isn't a good choice for us. While we know people will continue to tether their pups, we just hope they are respectful of other people's space when they do this and they tie them securely away from the sidewalk. Many tethered dogs become frustrated, scared, or territorial and it's not fair to frustrate them further by encountering so many people and other dogs walking so closely. And it's not fair to people and other dogs to be forced to walk so close to an unattended dog, especially when so many people are afraid of dogs.

We know how important it is to promote responsible ownership as we work to keep and grow more pet-friendly opportunities in the city.
What are some other ways you model responsible dog ownership when in crowded spaces with your pups?

How we taught our pups to navigate crowded sidewalks
These leashes.

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Regina Hart said...

Great advice from excellent role models!

Anonymous said...

I love rules! We always move off the sidewalk into grass for passerby's. I wish I could count on everyone to respect their side but it rarely happens. And I always worry tethered dogs will be stolen!

Two French Bulldogs said...

We are so aware of sidewalk etiquette also. Mom wants to scream when people walk 3 across and do not move

OG said...

These are all great ways to walk, especially in NYC! If I ever leave Petey tethered outside (and only if I can see him and am a foot away) I make sure he's not in the way....Walking etiquette is a big deal! Good choice for a post!

Unknown said...

I always "pull over" and shove a treat in my pup's face when a runner goes by. Though runners also need to learn not to sneak up on people - you can bet if you startled me by running up behind me, my pup is not going to be happy!

Hannah@Eriesistibull said...

Our sidewalks are rarely ever busy, but we're sure to go to 1 abreast when others are coming. Most often, we just pop into the street or cross where possible since Ed is still pretty reactive to strangers. With that, Ed also doesn't get to accompany us to crowded venues often, but Tess does and is fine not straying far. We definitely employ sits at corners or while standing still.

Birdy said...

I even use these rules in the foot hills where dogs can be off leash..about other people respecting my dogs as well - I liked what was said about runners not surprising people and their dogs. I will gladly move out of the way for people, runners, bikers ect - but let me know you're coming!!! And slow down a little.

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