Dogs in the city

Growing up in a suburb or an urban environment offers different challenges and concerns for dog training and pet care. Dog training in Miami and South Florida presents some glaringly different concerns in juxtaposition to dog training and dog walking in more suburban and urban environments.  Miami, for the most part, is a nice mix of both of these environments.

Stressors Living in the City

If you have a dog in the city, there are some dog training and dog walking concerns more specific and unique to your dog and experience. Dogs in the city face a much more congested, energetic and perhaps stressful lifestyle. Tighter living spaces, closer contact with other animals, human and nonhuman, and a general higher population all could potentially stress out a dog. Stress is many times correlated to space, proximity to other objects, novel stimuli and a lot of energy in a dense, small space. It is more important to have a well-controlled, behaved and mannered dog if you are in an elevator with five other people, a baby stroller, shopping bags, other dogs, loud noises, many different scents, sounds and sights then on a country farm or in a quiet backyard. On a city street, there is more of the same. There are a plethora of experiences and potential stressors if your dog is not habituated, desensitized and well socialized to your environment. If you do not prepare, undesired behavioral manifestations will be sure to arise. A typical dog walk on a city street involves more intensity and a higher frequency of cars, trucks, noises, smells, stimuli, energy, closer contact and less room for personal space and error.

Personal space is vital for dogs just as it is for humans. A dog living in the city may not have the luxury of retreating to a safe place within their own personal space as they may have in a country home or in the suburbs. Due to the general lack of room both indoors and out, it will be more challenging to fulfill the personal space needs of high energy dogs and more sensitive dogs who require quiet, a routine and stability. This is not impossible, you just have to be more creative and flexible. Whereas in the suburbs, you may let your dog outside, off leash, in the backyard or on a big piece of land, that is often not the case or possible in the city.

Other Health Concerns for City Dogs

In addition to the space issues, overcrowding brings many types of parasites, ticks, fleas, and disease that are also more common in congested, high volume dog parks, as they are here in Miami. Dog Training and dog walking are more congested in the city. In addition, dog parks are more crowded in cities and your dog does not get much reprieve when at home because there are also constant noises coming into your home through your windows, walls and doors from your neighbors, the streets and from all around you.

Socialization, enrichment and dog training are a must for every dog but especially for tight close quarters. When on a dog walk, your pup must be on a leash in most parts of cities and in parks. It is often expected that your dog is well trained, has good manners and gets interviewed by the condominium or cooperative board before being accepted to live there. There is less room for error in a city environment. If you accidentally drop your leash or your dog gets spooked and runs into the street only steps away, the outcome won’t be good.

Dog Safety Concerns for Living in the Country or Suburbs

Conversely the country or suburban life can offer somewhat of a reprieve for stressed or impulsive dogs. But the country also has unique features that dogs will have to contend with. Whether out for a walk with your dog or if you just let your dogs out in the backyard to roam freely, you have to consider what wildlife will be in the area. You will find out shortly when your dog brings you home a nice present such as: a dead squirrel, raccoon, opossum, raccoon…etc.  How about if your dog likes to go swimming in lakes or streams? Are there snakes, snapping turtles, poisonous foliage, frogs and fish, all of which you have to consider. Having a dog run out on a frozen lake to chase after a duck is also no fun if he/she falls through the ice and you have to rescue him/her (happened to me more than once!)

Of course bug bites, ticks and flees are also more prolific in suburban areas. Dog theft is a problem not unique to specific environments although dog theft happens more frequently in the suburbs than in city situations when a dog is left outside by themselves, whether in the back yard, or loose.

Being a pet parent in the suburbs or in the city both have unique aspects that all pet parents should be aware of in order to keep your pet safe, happy and fulfilled.

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