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I Need Your Help... Adjusting to a Suburban to Urban Move

Thanks so much for helping out – and sharing stories – about mysteriously stinky doggies! When SofyasDad asked me about moving to the city with his pooch, Sofya (duh), I thought we'd try another team effort here. After all, North and I have been city dwellers from the start and Sofya has never made it out of the suburbs. This country gal is used to going potty in her own backyard or on her own patio – and, while she can walk on a leash, she prefers to meander and frolic on her wee doxie paws. After all, cities have noisy cars, more people, and other pooches to meet-n-greet – even going potty on the sidewalk is a change for this lil diva.

Have any of you made a move that caused a change of environment like this? Please, let's help out and offer some words of advice and encouragement in your comments below!

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SofyasDad SofyasDad 9 years
Well we did it...we are here in the big bad city and she is slowly warming to it. Today is her first day at home alone and I am nervous about what I may find when I get back to the apartment. She potties...but not as often as when she had grass around. It's been hard to find grass close to our new place... I think I am going to start giving her treats when she does go...we will see how well this works! Thanks!
Aphrosette Aphrosette 9 years
I second Vanilla's comments/recommendations. It really is amazing what positive reinforcement can do for a poochie. Treats really work well, and from my personal experience I was very apprehensive about using treats to train a dog, but eventually you can and will ween them off the treats and still see the behaviors that you want. ie peeing in the "tinkle spot" I've also learned that teaching a dog the command "look" is very helpful in getting them to overcome fears, anxieties, and such. Basically, you teach the dog to look at your EYES when you say "look" Start by taking a treat right to your eyes and telling them to look. Gradually, ask her to look at you without the treat at your eyes, and when she does look at you reward her. Once you are very confident that she will look at you when you say look you can use it to your benefit when outside around the city. For example, if a garbage truck is about to drive by, say look, and reward her after the truck passes. Good luck with your pooch!
eej eej 9 years
Our dog moved from a farm to San Francisco when we adopted her, so we were worried about her adjusting to city life too. We were really vigilant about getting her outside a lot, letting her run off leash in the dog park etc. which I think helped. We still worry about her and traffic, but just keep her on leash when we are near roads. Also, I agree with Vanilla about the potty issue. We have a large tree with some grass around it across the street from our house, and this quickly became the "urinal" for our pup. She knows this is where to go and (so far) has not had any accidents! Good luck!!
sweet-pink-dior sweet-pink-dior 9 years
Hi! I was in the same situation - I moved from a house with a large yard to an apartment with a small patio in the city. One thing I noticed is that my dog became very bored since she didn't have a yard to run in all the time, so instead she became the "watch dog" and just spent her time barking at all of the new noises and people she heard. I stocked up on plenty of chew toys and bones to occupy her time, and I was recommended to start teaching her tricks everyday to give her a sense of accomplishment and have a "job" (don't forget lots of treats!). Daily walks are must if your dog doesn't have space to run and play like he used to. I invested in a doggy daycare center so my dog could romp with other dogs for a day if she needs to, especially if I'm at work. She burns all that built up energy so we're both pooped by the end of the day! Hope this helps!
wren1 wren1 9 years
My dog and I moved from a small town where he had a yard to the city a few years ago. While he had to give up his own big space of grass, he absolutely loves all of the attention he gets from people, and has fun sniffing all of the city smells. He seems just as happy here as he was before, once he got used to it. I agree with those that say try to find a regular bathroom spot nearby. That really helped my dog, and patience with them getting used to using the sidewalk when they are used to going on grass. Good luck with your move with your adorable little dog! :)
VanillaSilje VanillaSilje 9 years
Thank you so much. And your Cuba is adorable <3
cubadog cubadog 9 years
Great tips Vanilla
VanillaSilje VanillaSilje 9 years
I work as a dog trainer, and my advice is to go slow. 1. If she's not used to cars, start training in a calm place with a road carrying a great deal of traffic, about 100m away from where you are. Start using positive reinforcement, rewarding her with a treat or something she likes. The main thing is that she should be able to take a look at the traffic, and return her focus to you again. Jackpot when this happens :) Gradually move closer to the road, until she thinks of traffic like a natural thing. 2. Start getting her used to be walked in the leash. Reward her every time she walks with you, and simply stop and wait if she's pulling. Then quickly start walking as soon as she's paying attention again (remember to use your voice to be rewarding and supportive). 3. If she's not socialized, don't start by letting every dog in the city take a sniff at her. She could be scared or end up with a bad experience from an aggressive dog or by getting tangled up in the leash. Some dog owners don't seem to understand that not everyone wants to let dogs meet on the streets - I usually shout "Sorry, he has lice!", and it works every single time, hehe. Instead, you could find some nice dogs you trust to be her playmates, or socialize in organized dog groups. 4. About going potty, the worst thing a little doggy can do in a new place is tinkling everywhere, leaving information to other dogs like "Hi, I'm tiny and vulnerable!". That's why many puppies prefer to pee inside where it's safe, and many grown dogs in a new city starts to pee inside again-like they were puppies. A tip could be to make a regular "tinkle-spot" nearby the new house, to make her feel more secure. There are many ways to do this, just stay friendly and remember to reward her-and her self confidence will be super de duper. Good luck!
cubadog cubadog 9 years
She is so cute. Cuba, my doxie, and I may be making the same move soon. I started him young walking around downtown and shopping now he has certain stores he loves to go into because they give him cookies everytime.
pencilskirt pencilskirt 9 years
We just adopted an adorable 4 year old dachshund who had been living in upstate New York and brought her to Brooklyn. She was not leash trained, and was initially very skiddish around loud noises and people (of which we have plenty of here). We started the leash training straight away, and began with very short walks, just to the end of our street and back. At first Wanda (that's our pup) walked with her head down and tail between her legs, but after about 2 weeks of a solid walking scedule (we take her out at least 5 times a day!), she now walks with her head, and tail, held high. Now whenever we pull her leash from the closet, Wanda is ready to go, and even tries to put her head through her harness by herself. I would just recommend taking it slow. If you're not scared of the world, your dog won't be either. Also, I would strongly recommend quickly establishing one spot as the bathroom spot (I can't stress how much this has helped speed up the outdoor processon bad weather days). Good luck with your doxie!
Phasekitty Phasekitty 9 years
Sofya is ADORABLE! What a cutie!!! :love: We live in LA and have a yard and neighborhood streets with lots of grass, but on Christmas we brought Brando to visit family in NYC. He had a bit of a hard time adjusting- we had to walk him a few blocks to the closest grass because he wouldn't pee on the sidewalk, but he got used to it in the end and we were only there for a week. His biggest problem was his tendency to get excited and try to jump on everyone around him. When we were in the city with bustling people all about he was a little hard to control, but we were stern and kept him on a very short leash and he got used to it. We had this same problem the time we took him to San Francisco too. Too many people to lick! :-P But he's still a puppy so he's still learning. If your dog is a bit more calmed down he'd probably be easier to control.
aembry396 aembry396 9 years
When we take my skittish Min Pin into the city...we have to make some small adjustments. No expanding leash...extra tight harness because she houdinis out of it when she is scared, travel water bowl cause she gets into the puddles, and lots of treats to praise when she does her "busies" on the sidewalks. I just kept her on a tighter leash when she got scared, went slow, had a LOT of patience, and tried not to pick her up so she could get used to it and wouldn't expect it. hope this helps.
Betsy-Gilfillan Betsy-Gilfillan 9 years
what a little cutie :) i live in chicago and my pomeranian (a teacup pomeranian, which you should take into account cause of her little size and sensitivity) is a major city girl. we go visit my parents in the suburbs and she does love her walks there, as well. as a lot of friends have mentioned however, dogs really warm up to the city because there is constant attention. people all over to tell them just how cute they are and not to mention the plethora of other dogs! cities have wayyyy more doggies than suburbs, or at the very least they accomodate much more than suburbs. there are puppy parks and dog beaches. it's such a great way for the dog *and the owners!* to socialize. take advantage of the city with your pup. of course the noisy streets will deem scary at first but it will adjust. for walks, go for early morning ones and later at night ones. most people walk their dogs at that time of day. another thing the cities offer is doggie day care! they pick up your pooch, play and pamper it all day, then deliver it right back to you. of course it's no small fee, but it's a huge hit here in chicago. and of course, there are always "potty pads". my little zoe delilah uses potty pads during the day while i'm at work. it took 2 months to train her but that way she doesn't have to go out on the cold streets in the winter! keep us all posted!
LizL LizL 9 years
We just moved our Boston Terrier from Boston to the burbs in December. We really didn't do anything different. When he came over, we let him walk around the yard at his pace, sniffing EVERYTHING and peeing on as many things as he could find. We came to find that he did so much better in Suburban living. While in the city, he had lost a stripe of hair on his back. We thought it was allergies (and it still could have been) but it grew back as soon as he moved in. We were treating it with a pretty heavy combination of a flea coller and daily heartworm medicine (it was supposed to be given monthly but we had to give it daily) for a 150 lb dog (Sully is 25lbs). Needless to say, we stopped as soon as we moved in. We think it's because of all the cars and people that were always around our house. He also pooped more. In the city he pooped twice a day, now he poops almost everytime he goes out...and he eats more. As for the leash. My husband took him to a lot of dog parks when we lived in the city, and let him run around without a leash. He lets him run around the yard without a leash, but I don't....I don't think he listens to me that well. But he LOVES to run around in HIS yard, and he's a pretty good just have to watch him like a hawk.
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
we just moved to the desert and had a similar deal. B-Bop was used to the beach and having grass to pee on. How we has rocks and rocks. Not very fun. When we first moved, we tried to take him on a LOT more walks, so he could get used to the area. We've had to change some things, he needs more water, no walks mid afternoon (too hot). And we have to be more careful about bigs since we have black widows and such more here. Just getting him out and about to meet everything helped a lot.
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