Sydney dogs are on the move! There’s been a growing movement towards taking our pets everywhere. Right now, your very own Dr Alex is winging his way through Europe with his trusty adopted greyhound, Neneh Cherry, by his side. But what should you consider when participating?
Today, we’re looking at the kinds of places you can take Sydney dogs and what you should consider
Dogs aren’t greater shoppers
Could you imagine your furry friend popping up to the change room with a few collars slung over the paw? Or the merriment and joy to be had when sampling the giveaways at the local pet café?
This is a wonderful notion and idea. Until it isn’t.
Not all shop owners want dogs in their shops. Whether they are pet-related or not. This can limit your options if you go shopping with your dog.
Unfortunately, Sydney dogs left unattended can also be the target of thieves. The reasons are many and varied, as we’ve discussed previously.
What’s important to recognise is that if you go shopping with your dog in tow, you will need to ensure they are kept safe during the journey. That could mean simply leaving the dog with one person while the other looks. Or it may mean restricting your shopping to only dog-friendly establishments.
It is a case of exercising planning when you decide to attempt a day trip with your dog and choosing your targets wisely.
Socialise your dog
How well your dog is socialised will often determine how well they fit into doggy establishments. You should always make sure your dog is OK with being around dogs, children and other people.
Consider how others will respond. People may also approach you to pat and talk to your dog. Whether or not you want them to is entirely up to you. After all, even the friendliest dog may feel intimidated or overwhelmed by too much attention.
And don’t forget that not all Sydney dogs are social and not all people like dogs.
You may have the happiest scamp of a dog travelling with you, but everyone should always be able to give their consent to dog interactions, no matter who is initiating it.
Having a command such as “free play” or “release” can help signify those moments where the attention is shared.
Consider the surroundings
Where you go with your dog can make or break the adventure. Consider loud noises, bicycles, skateboards and traffic that may intimidate your dog.
You may also need to consider what your dog might be able to lie on if the concrete is too hot or too cold. Plus, there are things such as music, too many people and too much stimulation to consider.
Having your dog with you also means ensuring they can rest appropriately while you are entertaining friends. And have adequate access to shade and water to keep cool.
Toileting might also be something to consider in terms of location and how others will feel about it. Of course, you should always take appropriate number of bags and clean up but think about where the toilet areas may be. If your dog is only used to toileting on grass and there isn’t any, it might make them very uncomfortable for example!
Take a fold up water bowl, some water in a bottle, poo bags, potentially a towel or blanket to lie on, treats and a toy to help aid in the comfort and management.
And pay attention to signage as many places such as beaches, bushwalking tracks, parks and precincts are not open to Sydney dogs.
Be gentle on puppies and senior dogs
It is so cute to see so many small puppies out and about strutting their stuff. But you should also be mindful of their physical and emotional needs too.
For a puppy’s protection, they should not be exposed to too many dogs or the potential for public viruses until they have the appropriate injections for example.
Your puppy also has joints, bones and muscles that are still forming. You can damage a pup’s hips and knees for example by walking them too far and too fast when too small to handle it. They will need rest between wandering around with you. That includes resting and sleeping.
They may also feel over-stimulated and overwhelmed with so many scents, sounds, people and other dogs to take in. This can lead to a fear response and even anxiety.
In all things, if you plan to take a puppy with you, ensure it is not for great lengths of time. And that your pup can rest from all the excitement physically and emotionally at regular intervals.
The same is true of older Sydney dogs. Don’t put them at risk of becoming too tired, too sore or feeling overwhelmed. They may have entered their selective company stage in life and not feel like a bunch of strangers running past them. And that’s OK.
You can also consider buggies or repurposed strollers for puppies and elderly dogs alike. Or if in doubt, limit your day to puppy or senior friendly intervals.
Use a lead and appropriate walking techniques
Your dog may be the Mayor of Pooch Town and be cool as a cucumber, but mixed human and dog gatherings can add an extra complexity.
That’s why it’s always better to use a lead. Even if your dog has amazing recall, a lead helps in a few ways.
- It stops you from losing contact from your dog in a crowd. It only takes a moment for human or dog to get distracted and for you to be separated
- It sends a signal to other dogs and dog owners that you have reasonable control of your dog
- It sends a message to non-dog people that have concerns about dogs being in the same location that everything is OK. This is especially true of children walking at eye height with dogs
- It deters thieves
- It means you cannot be accused of someone else’s mess
Using a lead is a positive, not a negative, when it comes for advocating for dog-friendly spaces. If your dog pulls on a lead, you can also consider extra walking classes, halti and other walking aids.
Pop on in to our Wahroonga animal hospital and ask the vet nurses what they recommend.
Keep watch for other dogs
Dogs don’t understand that the sniffer dog, the service dog or seeing eye dog are on duty. That’s why you need to do the thinking for your dog when out and about.
The other area where you need to exercise caution are when dogs are in rehab. This may be signified with an orange scarf of bandana. To trained dog people, this means a dog is “approach with caution” or should be avoided by dogs that will be too exuberant for the dog it approaches.
Look for subtle ways to distract your dog from others and train them not to wait for the OK from you before moving on.
Commands like “watch” while pointing to your eye can also ask your dog to maintain eye contact and work as an added way of maintaining attention as temptation walks past.
Playing safe out and about with Sydney dogs
Your dog will love being able to share adventures with you. It’s your job to make sure these adventures are safe and suitable.
This includes removing them from harm’s way with proper training as well as avoiding issues such as consuming the wrong food when out and about, exposure to alcohol or time spent in hot cars.
By making the choice to choose your next dog-friendly adventure wisely, you can enjoy the growing number of venues, beaches, public spaces and speciality stores catering to dogs.