Having a dog is one of life's greatest joys. They're a constant source of delight, fun, and amusement. In fact, many people can't imagine their life without a canine best friend.
However, dogs need proper care and attention to grow into their best doggo selves. Living with dogs in a city like New York comes with some unique challenges that suburban or farm dogs don't have.
If you have a dog in the city or you're hoping to get a dog soon, keep reading. We'll give you tips and tricks to help keep your dog safe, enriched, and happy so you both can live your best lives.
The Best Dog Breeds for City Living
Most dog breeds do well in any living situation, provided they receive proper exercise and training. However, some dogs are better suited to small spaces and exercise on a leash. Let's take a look at a few dog breeds you might consider.
The Cocker Spaniel is a member of the sporting group of dogs. This group includes hunting dogs, and that's what the Cocker Spaniel was originally bred for. Over time, the Cocker Spaniel fell out of favor with hunters and became more preferred as a companion dog.
Cocker Spaniels are smart and loyal. Their intelligence means they need training, and their hunting DNA means they can have a high prey drive. However, with lots of attention and work, they're the perfect city dog.
When people think of Greyhounds, they don't think of city life. But despite their history as racing dogs, Greyhounds are surprisingly relaxed. Some even refer to them as lazy.
Greyhounds do need proper exercise, but after some zoomies in the dog park, they're perfectly content to head home and lie on the couch. Just be sure your couch is big enough.
Chihuahuas are little, but they have mighty personalities. Many dog lovers consider this breed if they live in a small space. After all, having a smaller breed of dog makes sense if you live in a city apartment.
Chihuahuas are smart, goofy, and loyal, but they need training and lots of it. Because they're small, many people fear hurting them during training sessions. Be gentle but firm with Chihuahuas, or they could become aggressive or anxious.
Breeds to Avoid
Almost any dog can potentially do well in the city, but city life might not work well for some dogs. High-energy breeds like Border Collies, Australian Cattle Dogs, and Belgian Malinois are dogs that need jobs. When they're deprived of the opportunity to work, they can act out in negative ways.
Regardless of the dog you choose, make sure they get lots of care and attention to their specific needs.
How to Train and Socialize Your Dog
Socialization and training are vital to your dog's well-being and safety. Training helps your dog understand the rules of living in a human world. Socialization helps your dog understand the rules of being a dog.
Start training as soon as you get your dog, whether they're a puppy or an adult. Potty training and crate training should be first on the list. When your dog masters these skills, life will be easier for both of you.
Leash skills are critical as well. A leash keeps your dog safe and helps them understand that its job is to stay by your side. Always use a well-fitting harness or collar and a sturdy leash.
Retractable leashes are never advised.
Socialization should start when your dog is a puppy. However, only bring your puppy in contact with other dogs when their vaccinations are up to date. The parvo vaccination is very important in this scenario.
Dog parks are a great way to exercise your dog and introduce them to new dogs. Owl's Head Park Dog Run in Brooklyn is one of the city's best dog parks. This park offers separate areas for large and small dogs and has drinking water on-site.
Keep your dogs leashed until you know how they will react in a dog park setting. If your dog becomes aggressive or fearful, it's best to remove them from the park and try again later.
Walking Your Dog in the City
Walking your dog in a crowded city like New York can be challenging. Crowds of people, traffic, and other distractions are a lot for a dog to deal with. Your dog needs to trust you during walks.
In the beginning, keep walks short and stress-free. Find an area with fewer people so your dog can get used to being on a leash and taking directions from you.
Hiring a dog walker on Rover is a great idea. Not only can the dog walker take your dog out while you're working, but they can also reinforce good leash manners.
If you're in Brooklyn, you can reach out to our favorite dog trainer and dog walker, Lee Cahill (your dog will love her too).
Always take care of your dog's paws when walking. If the pavement is too hot when you touch it, it's too hot for your dog's paws. Booties can help prevent burns on your dog's paws.
Also, keep a package of unscented, chemical-free wipes by your front door. After your walks, you can use the wipes to clean the city grime from your dog's paws.
Dogs and the City: A Paw-fect Combination
More and more cities are embracing dog-friendly culture. Pubs, cafes, and other establishments welcome dogs and their parents. With proper training and socialization, your dog can enjoy spending time with you as you enjoy the city.
Having a dog in the city is a wonderful way to connect with other dog owners, get in some exercise, and spend time with your best canine friend.
Be sure to stay tuned for more dog training tips, city activities for your dog, and ways to keep your city dog happy and healthy.