Environmental Considerations In Urban Dog Training

Have you ever wondered what it's like to see the city experience from your dog's perspective? 

Let's take hallways for example. Hallways are great for people. They are often the quickest way from point A to point B. If we're talking about a multiunit apartment building, then straight lines are the best way to put several units on a floor, then stack those floors above each other for maximum space usage, or maximizing the monthly income for the building owner.

When I see a hallway like the one below, I just think about how much fun it would be to rollerblade or skateboard down it.

These 400 square foot units would be approximately 7 billion dollars a month in my home city of Boston. 

However, this is perhaps more symbolic of the feeling dogs get walking down the hallway:

Consider what it would be like if there are doors that open (seemingly) randomly on both sides of a dog. That can be scary, especially if a kid jumps out screaming because she's hopped up on sugar. To a dog, it might look like people are popping out of the walls like the worst magic trick imaginable. There is nowhere to run, and assuming the dog is leashed, this can certainly add to the frustration. If there are two dogs walking towards each other, then you can imagine how things could escalate quickly for everyone.

Dogs can hear everything on the other side of each door with their sensitive hearing.

They can smell all the food created on the other side of each of these doors in addition to your neighbor's nail polish remover, or the cat box down the hall. All of this is undeniably overwhelming to a dog. 

Straight lines are essentially the third circle of hell for dogs, so hallways and sidewalks are just harder for dogs in many cases. 

Dogs do circles really well. Circles are just simply more polite. Exhibit A: 

dogs game show funny wheel of fortune butt sniff - 8140613632
But circles are not great for people as we think in lines when designing urban spaces. Back to hallways. If there is an elevator at the end of a hall, it might look like this to us: 

Pretty inviting for an elevator. 

However, to some dogs, this just looks like a trap. The doors open, people go in, then disappear. The dog might as well be walking right into this: 

Post image
Spoiler alert for Stranger Things, Season 3 

I have many clients who just can't get their puppy house-trained on the fifth floor because the puppy is too scared of the elevator. In addition to just getting into the doors, add the dropping sensation of what amounts to a moving box (flying coffin) the puppy is now trapped in. Each passing floor the puppy feels that sickening stomach drop story, by story, by story. Don't get me started on the kid who gets on the elevator with Axe Body Spray. 

How to teach your teen to use AXE body spray + a locker room printable

It's no wonder so many dogs struggle.

And this is just the living space! They all eventually have to venture outside where there are more straight lines, more noises, more traffic, and the worst of the worst to dogs everywhere: Skateboards by the dozens.

Because of these considerations and unique issues we are finding in urban dog training, Susan Smith of Raising Canine has invited me back to speak! This time, I've been invited to present on specific issues relating to training dogs in more populated environments. If you are working as a dog training professional in the city, everything you know as a dog trainer might go out of the 7th story window.

If you are a dog trainer interested on taking clients in the city, or if you are looking for some creative workarounds for common urban dog training issues, please feel free to join the webinar! It'll be October 2nd, 2019, at 10:30 Central (11:30 Eastern). I like to have fun with my presentations, as you can see.

Susan also has other webinars, many are free, some with CEUs, from top professionals like Jennifer Shryock (Family Paws, a resource I recommend to every new parent with dogs); Ian Dunbar; Teoti Anderson; Jolanta Benal; Jean Donaldson, and Nicole Wilde to name a few.

So, grab your autumnal beverage of choice, click on the link, and let's talk all things #citydog from the comfort of wherever you prefer to watch the internet. 

No comments:

Post a Comment