Urban Dog Walking


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?




41 Responses

  1. Emma

    April 1, 2016 11:12 am

    My mom isn't a big city fan, so we don't go downtown much and when we do, we usually go at off times so it isn't a big problem. There are lots of parks and green areas in the city which makes it much more fun than just concrete and buildings.

  2. To Dog With Love

    April 1, 2016 12:19 pm

    We live in the city and enjoy a good urban walk every now and then. It's great for training distractions and socializing. That looks like a cool spot you've found. Rocco would be racing through the water if he could!

  3. SlimDoggy

    April 1, 2016 2:50 pm

    It's so different to see you in the city Mr. N! But city walks can be fun and exciting too – certainly lots more potential scraps to eat huh?

  4. Beth

    April 1, 2016 3:33 pm

    Barley's never been walking in a big city, but she enjoys walking in the non-residential areas of our little city–I think because there rarely are other dogs around and she gets to sniff all of the yummy restaurant areas. Sometimes she gets a little nervous with traffic, so we try to avoid the busy hours for our "city" walks and I'm always on the lookout for broken glass and potential snacks on the sidewalk. Barley thinks it's great to have all of the shop owners and patrons gushing over her as she prances by, though.

  5. AliR

    April 1, 2016 8:15 pm

    None of my dogs have ever really been to a city. Downtown Boulder hardly qualifies as a city at all. It occurs to me that it might be good to do some practice work downtown as the weather improves. Reading your post makes me really wonder how overwhelming it might be for them to have all of that stimulation.

  6. Cathy Armato

    April 2, 2016 4:10 pm

    Cities have so many distractions, it can be really difficult. It's great that you had Mr.N practice training with all those distractions, that's so helpful. We spend lots of time in New York, and often go into Manhattan. We've taken our Husky a couple of times, it's really challenging for her. The thing she hates the most are the gratings along the sidewalks.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  7. Ruth Epstein

    April 2, 2016 6:34 pm

    We live in the city and I really feel bad sometimes BUT I am also blessed as I have at least 5 different dog parks in my area so we can always change around which I really do in the summer when not teaching

  8. Sadie and Co.

    April 2, 2016 8:46 pm

    Well done Mr. N. You pulled it off – being a 'city (s)licker' for the day. Henry and Reese get little doses of the city from time to time but happy to be (almost) country bumpkins.

  9. Christine Caplan

    April 3, 2016 2:29 am

    I think taking your dog out and spending time in new environments and distracting outdoor environments is SUPER important. I should have done this more with Walter and now with Nosework we take a lot of field trips which helps.

  10. Hannah

    April 3, 2016 1:22 pm

    Cities really do ask a lot of dogs — and people! I do think in some ways a well-raised city dog learns to accept more than a well-raised country dog just because of the constant exposure. I don't think I've ever actually taken Lilo into a true city. I should see what she thinks of Boston sometime!

  11. Erin Amanda

    April 3, 2016 4:00 pm

    We live in a really quiet town, so she isn't bothered so much by what goes on around her. She tends to get a little startled with a loud car or truck passing by, though.

  12. MattieDog

    April 3, 2016 7:59 pm

    Mr. N has pawesome self-control! I wanna see da peoples dat gave Mr. N. a big "good job!" Downtown Portland is amazing so very glad you can take Mr. N. down to enjoy himself!

  13. Robin Mudge

    April 4, 2016 3:57 am

    That fountain is beautiful! It is interesting how much different walking around outside can be in the city rather than the suburbs. I didn't think about how easy it would be for someone to accidentally step on Mr. N. That would be a big concern when you have a small dog.
    -Purrs from your friends at http://www.PlayfulKitty.net

  14. Janet Keefe

    April 4, 2016 6:49 pm

    I rarely walk in cities myself, so it's something I have just never done with the dogs. There certainly is a lot more to it than our quiet walks in the country (though seeing horses is one thing we have in common!).
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  15. FidoseofReality

    April 4, 2016 7:33 pm

    We have been taking our dog on all sorts of adventures from the time he was a puppy. I am proud to say he will "relieve himself" on any surfaces and I am glad for it, especially in New York City.

  16. Rosa Doodle

    April 4, 2016 11:51 pm

    Walking a dog is so different in different settings. At my home it's so quiet and leisurely but when I'm in the city the dogs are on high alert. I think they prefer the peace and quiet just like me.


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