The “Dos” and “Don’ts” of Urban Dog Ownership

June 30th, 2010 by Dan

Many metropolitan cities are turning into meccas for dog-friendly living as canines take a front seat in the lives their owners. While you might picture a tiny toy breed riding along in a bag as the ultimate companion for the urban jungle, this isn’t necessarily so! Here are some important facts to consider if you desire the companionship of a canine and reside in a city.

Photo by holly_northrop

Don’t Choose A Dog By Its Size:
Don’t be deceived by the small stature of toy breeds or the large footprint of the big dogs – a pooches energy level and temperament is more important than their size. Many large breeds and mixes do well in apartments and will be happy with a few good walks or play dates with friends. Once inside, they’re often lazy couch potatoes. Some smaller breeds demand more exercise, while others do not. Here’s our list of the best breeds for apartment living – maybe you’ll be surprised by some of the dogs that do well in smaller spaces!

Photo by trilabracing

Don’t Choose A Dog By It’s Appearance:
While you may have seen an adorable puppy in the park or on TV, that shouldn’t be enough of a reason for you to have your heart set on that type of dog. Remember that dogs can live from 10-16 years, so this is a choice that should require a great deal of research. Sadly, I find that some people put more time into researching the latest electronics than they did their dogs, yet they are surprised when they end up with a breed that has traits that they find undesirable.

I reside in a large city and have found there to be a segment of the dog owning population that chooses to acquire breeds that they consider to be the rarest of the rare – the ones that they haven’t seen walking around with anyone else. Perhaps there is a good reason why there are no Bluetick Coonhounds living in an urban setting? Maybe they shouldn’t be the first on the block to own one!

Adopting from a shelter is a great choice, as many of the workers and volunteers spend a great amount of time with the dogs and they’re often available to help you find the best match for your lifestyle.

Photo by Ivars Krutainis

Do Socialize Often and Early:
Whether you adopt a dog or choose to go with a reputable breeder, it is essential that your new companion is well-socialized in order for him to develop into a confidant and stable pooch. If you have a new puppy, set up play dates with other puppies close to your dogs age or stable older dogs. It’s best to avoid dog parks for a while as those types of situations can not only be overwhelming to young pups, but they also cannot be controlled. You need to set up your dog to have as many *good* experiences as possible while in his formative stages! Make sure your pup has positive interactions with many different kinds of people (children, the elderly, various ethnicities, etc) – city life is diverse and you need to help your pup feel comfortable in his new environment. Check out our training section for more guidance!

Photo by jetsettica

Do Remember Your Surroundings:
Once that adorable puppy becomes the focus of your world, please try and remember that you are still living in a city. While you want to explore it with your pup, you need to understand that some people are afraid of dogs and they have a right to feel safe. Be a responsible owner and always keep your dog on a leash and under your control (meaning do NOT use a retractable “flexi” leash) unless you are in a *designated* dog area. Of course, picking up after your dog is a given – keep bags on your leash or in your pocket. Lead by example and continue making your city a barkingly good place to own a dog!

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