Not all dog owners have the luxury of vast fields and idyllic countryside to walk their dog in – if you live in a city here are some ideas about how you can make provisions for training and exercising your dog effectively.
There’s no reason why you can’t train your dog in your house – certain commands like ‘sit’ and ‘down’ are fine to hone within your four walls, but for ‘heel’ and ‘fetch’ you need a more expansive environment.
Open green spaces in city centres can often be few and far between – even when you do get to one, chances are everybody else in the city will have had the same plan making it a cramped and busy environment in which to train a dog.
Try and find times when your local park will be less busy, such as very early in the morning, so you can train your dog in peace. That means when you go to the same park in the busy periods, your dog will be more comfortable in the surroundings and won’t be fazed by all the distractions going on around them.
On your way to and from the park, consider that there will be a variety of skateboarders, buggies and wheelchairs on the pavement, so keep your dog close and introduce them to different things slowly. You’ll also want to teach them the right and wrong places to answer the call of nature.
Cities are full of busy roads and whilst they may have more stringent speed limits than those in the countryside, that doesn’t mean your dog shouldn’t follow the green cross code. Teach them to ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ at pedestrian crossings and always keep them on a lead whenever there are cars around.
To give yourself some peace of mind when out and about you could take out pet insurance to cover your pet dog against unexpected accidents; if your dog requires surgery, if could make for an expensive trip to the vet.
Public transport is one big area you need to consider as getting around a city can be quite a mission. In London TFL have various guidelines explaining how animals are permitted to travel on buses, tubes and trains. In general it’s fine (and free) as long as they’re kept on a lead and don’t occupy a seat. You’ll also need to carry them through ticket barriers and on escalators.
Travelling underground at high speeds in a crowd can be quite disconcerting for your dog so do a few trial runs over short distances before trying any significant journeys and avoid travelling at rush-hour if you can.
Your dog should be able to make lots of friends in the city and you’ll often come across the same set of dog owners who you can chat to on your daily routine. Make sure your dog is well behaved when around other animals, and respect the wishes of other dog owners if they don’t think your pet is behaving appropriately.
This guest post was written by Caz Adlington on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank blog.