Whether experiencing city living for the first time or getting your first dog in the city, there are certain things that you need to know. Owning a dog in the city comes with rules and courtesies that you need to obey in order to be a good citizen. Abiding by these rules also makes sure that you are a good ambassador for dog owners everywhere.
Now, before you start to panic about rules and regulations, keep in mind that suburban living comes with regulations as well. Moving to the city just means adjusting to new ones.
So, what are these regulations?
Rules For City Living as a Dog Owner
Pick-Up the Poop for Healthy City Living
No matter where you live with your dog, you need to pick up poop. This is a matter of hygiene and courtesy as well as a matter of health. Dog waste can not only carry parasites and illness that can make dogs sick, but it also carries bacteria that makes humans sick too. Sure, your dog is healthy, but even healthy poop has fecal coliform bacteria that can cause serious illness.
Plus, think about the domino effect of not picking up after your dog. When you don’t pick up, someone else thinks it’s okay not to pick up too. Soon enough our sidewalks are covered in poop!
Always Have Control of Your Dog
Walking your dog in rural areas affords you the chance to use a long leash. When walking your dog in the city, however, you cannot use a long leash due to foot traffic on sidewalks. Not everyone is a dog lover so it’s common courtesy to keep your dog out of the way when using public sidewalks. The best way to do this is to use a traffic leash to walk your dog.
What’s a traffic leash? A traffic leash resembles a normal nylon leash with a handle on the end. It also has a handle close to the collar to give you better control of your dog in public. This design is ideal for when crowds are passing and when preparing to cross the road in traffic.
Practice Obedience for Happy City Living
Every dog should be trained in basic obedience. Basic commands keep your dog safe and help your dog to understand what is expected of them in various situations. These things become increasingly important in city life when your dog may encounter new stimuli. Things like crowds, traffic, people who don’t like dogs, and loud noises can be troublesome so give your dog the skills to cope with them.
What obedience commands do you need to reinforce? Sit, stay, release, wait, come, leave it and heel are the most important.
City Living and Dog Licenses: Keep Your Dog License Up to Date
Living in the city, it is extremely important to keep your dog’s license up to date. Why?
- By law, your dog has to have an up to date dog license.
- You can be fined for having a dog without a license. In Chicago, this fine can be up to $500!
- An up to date dog license comes with a collar tag that makes it more likely that your dog will be returned to you if they go missing.
- A dog license is proof that your dog is up to date on their rabies vaccination. This means that if lost, people handling your dog know that they are protected and that your dog has an owner.
City Living Leash Laws: Keep Your Dog Leashed
Living in the city, you must keep your dog on their leash at all times. In Chicago, it is the law that all dogs must be kept on a leash when outside the perimeter of their owner’s property. Failure to abide by this law results in a minimum fine of $300.
It’s not only a fine that you need to worry about when it comes to leashing your dog, however. Keeping your dog leashed is crucial in keeping your dog away from potential dangers of city life like traffic and rushing crowds.
There are dog-friendly areas where dogs can be let off leash in the city. In Chicago, owners must have a special permit and dog tag on their dog’s collar to participate in these off leash areas. These tags come at a cost of $5 per dog per year.
Keep Barking Under Control
When you live in the city your neighbors are in much closer proximity than they are in the country. This places an increased emphasis on noise control.
When you know that your dog is a barker, work on deterring this behavior through positive reinforcement training before moving to the city.
If your dog barks due to anxiety, try to remedy this with an anxiety solution like the Thunder Shirt or pheromone sprays.
Should you still find that your dog is being a noise nuisance to your neighbors, consider using a doggy daycare or full-time pet sitter to keep them company while you are gone!
Give Pedestrians the Right of Way
When you walk your dog in the city, you will often have to walk on busy sidewalks. Always give pedestrians the right of way by keeping your dog to one side of the sidewalk.
Etiquette demands that you keep to the right when walking on the sidewalk. Most training manuals recommend keeping your dog on the left when walking. When walking with your dog in the city, however, safety is the primary concern. Always keep your dog next to shop windows when walking one way and next to the curb when walking the other.
This sometimes poses a problem for people who don’t want their dog walking next to traffic. In the city, though, the rule of thumb is to always keep your dog out of the flow of pedestrian traffic. If you are worried about your dog walking next to traffic, use a short traffic leash to keep your dog out of danger.
City Living with a Dog is a Matter of Etiquette and Courtesy
It might seem like a lot to remember when following the rules of city living with your dog. What it all comes down to, however, is common courtesy. Remember your manners, that you are responsible for your dog, and that you are representative of dog owners everywhere. In short, just don’t be a jerk!