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Livin' In The City: 12 Tips For Urban Dog Owners

To The 5 Boroughs: Me and Max

A few years ago my wife and I packed up a giant moving truck and made our way across the country to live in New York City.

It was a fantastic time in our lives made even better by the fact that we got to share it all with our black lab, Max.

In the years that we spent living in Brooklyn we learned a lot about having a dog in the big town. It was a trial by fire, to be sure, and there were lots of things that happened that I wished we could have avoided. But, truth is, we knew no one who had a city dog when we moved there, so we had to figure things out as we went along.

Dogs are usually loving curious creatures by nature and so the hustle and bustle of the city isn’t something that naturally turns them off.

Yet, there are so many parts of big city life that can present problems for them, things that they just don’t know about.

So, we quickly realized that it was up to my wife and I to really commit ourselves to making sure that Max came to understand the ebb and flow of city life/to make him comfortable in the concrete jungle. And, I’m proud to say that I believe his urban years were as enjoyable for him as they were for us because of it.

So, if you are planning on heading to live in some sprawling metropolis anytime soon, or even if you live there already but have been on the fence about bringing a dog into your life, this one’s for you. Here are some tips that I hope might make a difference in helping you realize that dogs can and do thrive in cities everywhere. It just takes a lot of love and learning and looking out on our part.

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  • Room To Roam 1 of 12
    Room To Roam
    It's really critical to find a place in the city where your dog can run around and burn off steam. Exercise is key to a happy pooch, so before you even find a place to live, make sure there is a neighborhood dog park or somewhere else where dogs are allowed off-leash at some point in the day.
  • Chicken Bone Town 2 of 12
    Chicken Bone Town
    City streets are chock full of things that dogs love to pick up in their jaws. Be sure to always keep one eye open for where your dog is sniffing and what he's sampling off of the pavement.
  • Tenderfoot 3 of 12
    Tenderfoot
    A dog's paws are extremely important to him and urban areas can be rough on them. Make certain to be on the lookout for broken glass and other everyday street trash that could tear or cut your pup's delicate shoes. And remember that all of that hard sidewalk and street can take it's toll as well, so check his paws regularly!
  • I Love My Chew Toy! 4 of 12
    I Love My Chew Toy!
    Chew toys are fabulous for city dogs. Not only do many dogs love to have a tennis ball or stuffed squirrel in their teeth at all times, but it also serves to keep them from picking up any nasty bones and stuff they find when they're out on a walk with you. My guy Max used to love to carry an empty plastic bottle around with him all over Brooklyn! Hey, whatever works!
  • The New Environment Blues 5 of 12
    The New Environment Blues
    As soon as you can, get your dog out and about in your city. Don't leave them at home in the apartment if you don't have to. Exposing your buddy to all the noise and chaos of a city from the get-go will only serve to help him get used to all of that street life sooner.
  • Leash Land 6 of 12
    Leash Land
    Even if your dog doesn't like to walk around on a leash, city life is going to demand that he does. So, try and get him acquainted with one as soon as possible. And don't be afraid of choker collars if he really pulls and makes walks tough. When our Max became a bit bonkers on Brooklyn walks, I went and got him a choker and the difference for both of us was night and day. I could walk him easily, and he enjoyed walks a lot more by learning to stroll alongside me.
  • Trouble Around The Bend 7 of 12
    Trouble Around The Bend
    Cities are perfectly fine places for a dog to have a happy and healthy life. But, there are bad apples in every big town that we need to watch out for. Whenever you're walking into a dog park, or even just down the street, keep a lookout for unleashed dogs who might be looking for trouble/ or just appear overly aggressive. It's not much fun to think about, but it pays to be careful.
  • Summer Streets 8 of 12
    Summer Streets
    When the hot weather hits and the entire city feels like it's melting under the sun, don't stay inside. Your dog still needs at least a little exercise even on the worst weather days. But make sure you always have access to water for your furry friend. It might be a local coffee shop that has bowls of aqua out for dogs or it might just be that you carry some around with you. My Max became quite good at drinking out of a regular water bottle during his city days!
  • Dog Walkers 9 of 12
    Dog Walkers
    Cities are loaded with veteran dog walkers who specialize in making sure your buddy doesn't have to sit inside all day while you work your butt off across town. Ask around. Everyone in the city usually knows at least someone who has experience hiring a good dog walker to take your dog out for a little daily potty/exercise time. It's really worth the cost and it means a lot to your animal.
  • No Dogs Allowed 10 of 12
    No Dogs Allowed
    This kind of goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. There are tons of places in any city where dogs are welcome. And there are tons where they are not. Try to keep your dog away from off-limits areas, because the more well-managed dogs that are around the better. Non-dog owners notice when things are under control and this often leads to new places where dogs can go.
  • Pick It Up! 11 of 12
    Pick It Up!
    It's easy to find places in the city where your dog can have a potty break when no one seems to be watching. But don't be tempted to hit and run! Pick up your pooche's mess no matter where you are. No one likes to find really cool spots to walk their friends only to have them over run with doody.
  • Be Here Now 12 of 12
    Be Here Now
    In my opinion, the most important thing you can do for a dog anywhere is to spend time with them. Life in the big city can be really busy for humans and it's easy to get so concentrated on your own work and pursuits that there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to hang with your dog friend. DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN. Be diligent in making time for your pooch. Create a routine that includes a morning walk and a an after-work walk too. We owe it to them for all the joy they bring us.

 

You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.

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More from Serge:

Eat The Wind: 25 Supercool Dogs In Cars

Fairytail of New York: Pictures of a Big City Dog

Soul Survivors: The Stray Dogs of the Moscow Subway

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