|Mr. N at Director Park|
Every time we visit family in the suburbs, I’m reminded of how much more taxing it can be for urban dogs to walk in the city. I had to return some items to a dog-friendly store downtown so I took Mr. N with me.
In our time downtown, we ran into scores of people and dogs, cops on horses, the light rail, a guide dog in training who was out on a socialization outing, street musicians and more. Tons of different sounds and smells and sights.When we’re walking in the suburbs, we might see three or four people and a dog or two out walking during the course of an hour. Urban walking requires a lot out of dogs and their people.
I have to be extra careful that Mr. N does not get stepped on and I will pick him up and carry him if we are walking on a crowded sidewalk. There is also a lot more trash on the ground including foods that are dangerous to dogs and broken glass and needles to look out for. And this is Portland so there’s always people in costumes or weird garb or otherwise odd and strange to dogs.
Mr. N is used to tagging along with me around the city so most things he takes in his stride. He is crazy obsessed with horses but I made sure we stayed under his threshold (15 – 20ft?) and we did a little desensitization work. And he behaved himself. We were able to eat lunch from the food carts in the same little square the mounted police were patrolling. The guide dog puppy was also working on socializing and not reacting to the horses although he was much more blase about it than Mr. N.
At Director Park, we ran through a few tricks and practiced his stay amid distractions and the crowd. The table next to us was charmed by Mr. N’s antics and invited him over to say hello to everyone. All the socializing made him decide that he needed a nap when we got home.
How does your dog do with urban distractions?