I was in Prospect Park with a friend who was visiting from a small town in Connecticut. It was 8:30am on a Saturday, the park was just full of dogs running around , frolicking and having a great time . My friend could not believe how social and friendly the dogs were towards each other and their human counterparts. He said that he always felt badly for city dogs. He had assumed they were missing out on backyards, long hikes in the woods and the natural environment of dogdom. When I got home, I started thinking about the pros and cons of owning a dog in New York City and why, in my opinion, city dogs have the upper hand and (most often) live a more exciting and fulfilling life than suburban/rural dogs. If there ever was a large metropolitan area tailor made for dog ownership, New York is the place to be. In general, city dogs are more socialized, confident, better trained and more very connected to their community. Dogs, Like all citizens of a city need to learn how to get along and respect one and another because this is the key to happiness living in the city and dogs are especially good at this. To help achieve this balance and harmony, city dogs have become adept at-
Being Confident: “Flooding” is a dog training term that is used to describe a new situation that overwhelms a dog. Usually this entails loud noises, strange objects , new people and places. In a nutshell, It’s sensory overload. Sometimes In dog training, purposely putting a dog into a situation it fears or is very uncomfortable being in is a technique used as a last resort to try to solve serious issues . Dogs that have been living in the city, rarely get overwhelmed by new situations. City dogs are bomb proof and confident in most every situation. Most city dogs can ride the subway, stroll pass an active construction site, and are unfazed by large crowds and loud music. It’s rare to hear about a jaded city dog being accused of fear biting or aggressive behavior due to anxiety.
Training and bonding with their human: It is a whole different world when you compare the levels of training between a city dog and a suburban/rural dog. One important reason is the 3 leash walks a day most city dog require. Walking properly on a leash is an art practiced by all urban dog owners and their dogs. While teaching your dog the rules of walking on a leash is an important first step, and obeying the rules a close second. The real magic is in the team work. When an urban dog is out with their person on a walk, consciously or unconsciously it’s about working as a team. You and your dog vibing off each other, as you negotiate the city. Your dog will look towards you for leadership and the leash becomes an extension of your hand. It is one of the most important exercises you can do to with your dog.
Understanding canine body language: The Majority of city dogs are extremely well socialized with both strange people and other dogs. They call NYC a melting pot of different people from all over the world, who have learned to live together in relative peace and harmony. Urban dogs have amazingly adapted in similar ways. Spend some time in Prospect or Central Park during off leash hours, especially on a weekend. You’ll see literally hundreds of dogs frolicking together with very few fights breaking out. One of the keys to these successful interactions is that city dogs have become experts at reading another dog’s body language. City dogs can tell instantly if the other dog is interested in socializing or would rather be left alone. More importantly, they have learned to respect another dogs feelings about making friends and are happy to move on if the other dog is not feeling the love.
So, if you’re thinking about moving to the city with your dog or are already living in the city and are considering adding a new pup to your family. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the city deter your decision. Dogs are amazingly adaptable and will learn to love living in the New York City, bonding with you over urban adventures and making new friends along the way.