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Discussion Starter #1
I've been having trouble finding advice that's geared towards pups in cities rather than suburbs. I feel like a lot of what's taken for granted in the suburbs doesn't commonly exist in big cities, which makes it tricky to figure out the right puppy raising approaches. (ie yards, personal cars, and training clubs are uncommon or nonexistent in big cities.)

I'd love to hear any tidbits you have on helping a pup understand how to live in a big city.

Items I'm especially interested in:

How to make the puppy comfortable on the bus, including getting on and off the bus stairs. (When my Odin was smaller it was easy enough to carry him on and off, but now that he's 5 months, pretty soon he will be too big for that.) Also, keeping puppy calm when the bus gets a little crowded. There must be some sort of trick for this, since the majority of bus dogs seem to be pretty big, and relaxed, but I'm not sure what if anything their owner did to get them to be such good four legged bus riders.

Getting puppy to settle down in an Uber/Lyft, and not chew on anything. I assume at somepoint we should transition from regular Uber to an Uber XL, but at what pup age/size to do the transition? And is a floor towel really needed? Do you always ask the driver ahead of time if they take dogs?

Pee Pad training. (My pup is great about using his pee pad when he's in his pen, but when he's outside of his pen it never occurs to him to go back to the pen for pee time. Not a big deal during the day time, when he gets taken for walks frequently, but an issue at night when its not safe/feasible to go outside.)

Or anything else that you can think of where the right advice for urban pups is significantly different than it is for suburban pups.
 

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If Elisterine sees this- listen to her every tidbit.
I feel she's had a 100% success w her boy.
 

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I live in an outer borough of NYC. Some comments I can make on my own experiences:
1. My dogs/puppies have never been on a bus.
2. A crowded bus for any of them would have been very difficult to say the least.
3. Settling down in any car, Uber or others calls for conditioning. The earlier the better.
4. I believe that in NYC a Yellow Cab can refuse dogs. I drove a hack 45
years ago, things might be different now.
5. I have never used a pee pad although many people like them. The problem I see is that it leads to owner laziness.
6. I do go to public parks but avoid dog parks like the plague. I bend the rules for off lead field training in parks. If I couldn't find a training club I would start one. You just need one other person to make it a club. And I might advertise.
7. I use schoolyards, playgrounds, and shopping centers as areas for socializing pups. I start at a distance and over time train closer to the busy areas of these places.
8. Whenever I meet anyone who wants to pet my dog I make my dog sit first and then instruct people on how to pet.
9. I avoid all dogs being walked in my neighborhood---owners allow them to be rude which I don't need.


I hope this helps.
 

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Robin is too kind, but I do love having a golden in the city! I’m in DC, in a pretty urban part.

We are lucky—we have a car and a small yard. That small yard was awesome until about 6 months old, when it became way too small for us. Much more creativity involved since then!

My main thing I always do is be (probably over) prepared. We have a backpack that we keep a set of Cosmo’s belongings in that we typically use when we are out and about. That way, we can just grab and go. It has chews, a water bowl, treats, extra bags, toys, etc. Having that around all the time makes it much less of an ordeal to go out.

Our other thing is trying to get him as much self-guided activity as possible. We’ve found the parks nearby where we can get him off leash (sometimes just late at night). We used to use a long lead, but I found that to be tricky in our parks, where he would wind himself around trees... We get out of the city frequently, which is easier for us, since we have a car. But I’ve also used car shares in the past.

We love living in the city in the sense that we have so many resources. Things like self pet washes for winter and puppy classes (even if not at a training club, there are lots of specialty facilities other than petco/petsmart) are pretty available. We’ve also found that training facilities often have puppy play on weekends that is supervised and managed, which was incredibly helpful when Cosmo was younger. There are also lots of other people around with puppies, which is great for play dates. We were so spoiled with socialization opportunities, because people are everywhere and love an adorable puppy. We’ve even used canine rehab facilities for their pools so Cosmo can swim. It was really useful for getting him to be a strong swimmer.

Lately, we are just always in some puppy class of one type or another, to give us an outlet. We’ve also done private, in home lessons. The classes are another way of getting him some exercise, of the mental variety. Every day, we do some in our house, too or out on walks.

We haven’t done a bus but have done a plane and Ubers. Since Cosmo is still a baby (he’s 9 months now), I try to keep my expectations low and manage the situation. I bring our bag of stuff in any crowded environment and focus on him. In general, I don’t walk him with headphones in, so I can be present with him. Being super calm is not his MO right now, which makes sense. But it’s gotten easier over time, especially since Cosmo knows my fiancé and me so well now. We communicate much better over time. It’s always been our goal to incorporate him in our daily lives, and that’s an iterative process. Preparation helps me manage the chaos and deal with the fact that things often go a bit different than planned.

In terms of nuts and bolts, we didn’t use pads because I worried they would hurt potty training. We had a dog walker twice per day for short walks up until Cosmo was about 7 months. Now he does longer walks once or twice, depending on the day. We have worked out schedules out to avoid his being alone for extremely long. I go in early and leave early, and my fiancé goes in late and stays later. We get him aerobic exercise at least in the morning and evening, unless something really goes awry.

I’ll end this overly long post by saying we love the city but we are also looking to move to a house with a bigger yard. The boy loves being outside, and we think it will make our lives easier in the long run.
 

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I live in very much a suburban area but the one thing I can comment on is potty training. We've raised several puppies for a local service dog organization and one firm rule is on potty training. Many of their dogs are placed in urban settings and we have been told that the dogs must be prepared and comfortable with "busying" outside on pavement. The crate is to be a safe place but not for busying and we never used a pee pad anywhere. We needed to watch our pup carefully for signs of having to go and bring them out on leash on pavement and tell them to busy. If they did it there was a huge celebration including treats and they got to come in and play in the house for a period of time then back to the crate until we brought them out again to busy. Accidents in the crate were promptly cleaned and the pup was offered a chance to busy outside. So speaking from experience dogs can absolutely be taught to only busy outside, on leash and on pavement and yes on command.
Within reason of course if they really don't have to they won't but they absolutely understand what's being asked of them. To be clear this is not an easy task as puppies they were offered very frequent opportunities and we monitored them very carefully we even kept a log of number 1's and 2's and times to help keep track. We no longer enforce this with the two boys we adopted but when needed it has been very beneficial to us as in city trips with them or at rest areas on road trips.
 

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I live in downtown Toronto - I have no yard, but I have 3 parks within a 10-minute walk from me. Two have off leash areas.

I also have a car - so I drive an hour+ each way to do dog sports in more rural areas. But I have a feeling from your post that you do not have a car.
I do take Shala on streetcars and buses. I just did it - didn't make a big deal about it. When we are doing strange new things, she tends to like to be right with me, so I have found it pretty easy just to have her sit beside me calmly. People ALWAYS want to pat her on transit, which is nice. We do not take transit during crowded rush hour - I feel that's not fair to her or to the human passengers.

Ubers would be tough, I imagine. I would bring a blanket and put it on the seat and have the dog up beside you. I feel making them sit on the floor is tight and uncomfortable. But you'd have to make sure the driver was fine with your set-up.

I didn't do pee pads - just carried Shala out to the grass out front or back of our townhouse complex, and then walked it. I would ditch the pee pads and start house training. You'll have to go back to the very beginning and take him out every 30 minute. When he goes outside, throw a party, treats, the whole nine yards. Go to the same spot every time, and he should learn quickly that that is where he goes. When you take him, say the same words (do you need to go OUT?) and you can train a cue word to pee (everytime he starts to pee, say your word (mine is quick-quick!) and he will start to associate it with peeing. It helps when you need him to go on command.

Hope this helps - ask anything. I have always raised my dogs in cities with no yards. Totally doable - easier with a car I'm sure - but if you have good parks, you'd be good, too. And most urban centres do have great training classes, dog walking services, etc.
 

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One thing I forgot--we've learned a lot from people in our neighborhood, so we find it's worth to stop and talk when we are out. One nice stranger told us about our favorite place in the city--an island that is apparently unknown to virtually everyone. We often go and are the only ones there in a veritable dog paradise. We never would have known if not for Badger's owners (I never know the owners' names, just the dogs'...).
 

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I don't live in a city, but Kaizer has been on many, many vacations with me to large cities and we lived in an apartment/hotel thing until he was 5 months old. For reference, Kaizer has been with me to Florida (multiple times - Key West, Orlando, Disney Springs, Tampa, Miami), Washington D.C. (multiple times), Michigan (Detroit), Niagara Falls, New York City (at least twice), Baltimore, Virginia (Virginia Beach, Shenandoah National Park, some small towns), and probably other places. He is quite the accomplished traveller - we usually do car, but we have done bus a couple times and a boat once. My sig. pic is from the Virginia Beach trip.

I don't have much advice on the training to be calm on a bus portion. I think that is something that would happen with more exposure and maturity. Try to avoid taking a bus at super crowded times, it's hard on both you and the dog. I had to ride a really busy bus with Kaizer once. Usually I position him laying down under my legs so he's out of the way, but he's a long dog and this bus was absolutely full so he ended up having to sit on my lap. It sucked because we were both uncomfortable, but he did get some extra lovings from other passengers in the bus. Thankfully they were all understanding while I got him situated, but it isn't ideal. It's something I've learned to be better about planning. He was so good about it and I didn't really do much training prior (because I don't live in a city and don't often take the bus), so I'm assuming exposure and maturity helped.

I've never taken a Lyft or an Uber with Kaizer, so not sure the policies there. I have taken a taxi with him in NYC though - they can say no to a dog. A couple said no to us, but we finally got one who agreed. He did ask us a whole bunch of questions about if Kaizer was well-behaved in the car and if Kaizer would pee in the car. i also did put a jacket or a towel or something down on the floor too. Always, always ask if they take dogs - I feel like that's just common courtesy so they know what to expect.

When we lived in the hotel/apartment thing, we didn't have a yard and I didn't use pee pads. I think Kaizer would've just ripped them up. I just went out with him to a little grassy area every time he had to go to the bathroom. The good news is that he caught on pretty quick.
 

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I'm in SF though I have a car so I haven't had to take Tomo on the bus or Uber yet, but I have plans to acclimate him to buses and trains. I've been feeding treats whenever one passes by, so now he doesn't even seem to really notice their presence. I plan to take the local bus line on an evening so it'll be less passengers and less time pressure, and just do a few stops, get off, then wait around for another bus to take us back. I would take REALLY GOOD treats, have him do sit stays or down stays next to me, and feed frequently.

For Ubers, I believe the courtesy is to send a message after you've booked a ride, so they have the option to decline your ride.

Hmm, so there is no way to potty outside at night? Not even on the sidewalk in front of the building? For indoors, what if you set up something that's more similar to nature, such as one of those grass pee mats?
 

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I live close to downtown Tampa in a townhouse. No backyard but I have grassy areas around my corner unit, 4 dog parks within walking distance and another dog park and dog beach about two miles away. We moved here from a large home with a huge fenced backyard. Max adjusted perfectly. He was always great about telling me when he needs to go out so that was never an issue. We took daily walks and he could run in fenced parks...one of which is a 3 minute walk away and is always empty. I also have relatives a 10 minute drive from me with fenced areas for Max to play. He never rode the bus or uber since I have a car and he loved going to Starbucks with me. The Riverwalk was also one of his favorites. He loved the urban life. I lost him 18 months ago to what I think was DCM from his food. I am finally ready for a new urban buddy but am worried responsible, caring breeders will refuse me because I don't have a fenced yard. Max and I went all over the city and he absolutely loved it...especially lying belly flat spread eagle in the dancing water fountains as we watched the sunset over the Hillsborough river at the performing arts center.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Love all of the different takes from people. The point about having puppy sit when strangers try to pet him is a great one. That's one thing that I wish I started mine doing earlier.

My Odin is now just a week shy of 6 months, and he successfully managed the bus stairs for the first time (in both the on and off directions). Very excited to hit that milestone, as at 40 pounds he was getting way too heavy to want to keep carrying him up and down those.

I figure one point that urban pup owners need to figure out very early is what point they will start taking their dog outside. My vet said wait until 12 weeks to mimimize parvo risks, while my puppy school said 8 weeks viewing parvo in most parts of my city as a low risk. I split the difference and went with 10.5 weeks to start showing Odin the world. I figured that given how many things there will be in urban puppy life, it was better for him to experience it during his optimal socialization period.

Prior to 13 weeks I made sure to expose him to: bus rides, street car rides, sidewalk walks, learning to cross streets quickly, walking over streetcar rails, sand, grass, running into the waves at the ocean, elevators, subway station and escalator (wish I did those two more), wooden boards on the street, plank walkways, and ramps at the local marina. Also lots of watching cars, bikes, streetcars (took him ages to get used to those), doors opening, garage doors, and fellow pedestrians, dogs, and runners (and not running after them). We also combined going to puppy socialization classes with uber/lyft rides there, and bus rides back. Thankfully, there are a couple of dog friendly cafes here that he was able to go to for beginning getting used to "inside places" other than home. I haven't brought him to a bar yet, but a lot of neighborhood bars do seem pretty dog friendly.

We didn't do any of the big parks (other than the beach and marina) until after he got his rabies shot at 15 weeks. My puppy school said that the marina/beach were low risks re parvo, but with all of the raccoons and coyotes in the bigger parks, I did not want to take any chances.

I think we started stair practice at 12 weeks, when visiting relatives who had carpeted inside stairs. Stairs were a very gradual process. At first we just let him explore going up small ones, slowly, and over several weeks had him walk up longer and longer flights. (Generally I would carry him for portions of stairways until he seemed big enough to be able to do full ones safely.)

When taking him out for walks or to go to the bathroom my practice is to always carry 6 poo bags (usually more than 3 is excessive, but you never want to run out), a bunch of paper towels in case he pees in a wrong place, and a mini bag of kibble for rewards. You quickly learn to memorize where there are trashcans on your normal walk routes.

During urban potty trips at night it is important to be vigilant of threats to your pup. A lot of the vagrants in my neighborhood think its funny to scare dogs. Ditto with bike and skateboarders. This is part of why we use potty pads after it gets too late at night to go out. An occasional bag of potty pads is pretty cheap compared to what you save by keeping your puppy out of risky encounters that might make them reactive.
 

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I live in the city, in an apartment, no yard, but we have a park under our building. I didn't have a car until 3 years ago. My dog is 13 1/2 now, and I've had him since he was 7 weeks old.

Apart from the fact that you don't have the convenience to open a door and let your pup out to do his business, it's really not that big of a deal. In the beginning, we used to go out around 7 times a day (after every meal, after every nap, after every play session). Now we go out 3-4 times a day (morning, afternoon, evening) but when I lived alone he was okay with two walks a day (morning and evening after work).

If you don't have a car it may be tricky to find a suitable place to let him run and burn his energy, depending where you live. Traffic and its dangers are a bigger issue for me than potty training. You have to be careful where you let your dog off-leash, especially while he is not fully trained.

Anyway, happy dogs do live in cities! :) Good luck!
 
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