Courteous City Dogs

City dwellers, I feel your pain. So many dog owners are blissfully ignorant of the efforts you go through in your daily dog life. In particular, those who live in multi-story buildings are committed to slogging down the stairs/elevator, around the block, through traffic, for a minimum of an hour a day, just to get your dog relieved. Those of us with a yard who merely open the door (or let the dog nose a flap open) have no idea about what sort of time allotment you’ve dedicated to your best friend. Before getting a taste of your experience, I’d often just heel with my dogs each on one side of me, since I only have 2 at the moment. While it looks cool to have 2 dogs escorting you along, it is not functional when you encounter others in small hallways or staircases. So, I decided to train both of my beasts to walk side by side, tucked tidily close in on my right side (since those of us who drive on the right side of the road tend to like to organize our walking paths by passing that way, too) to keep my body between my dogs and those we pass (left to left). Surely everyone would prefer polite passing.

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Well, wouldn’t you know it, training this sort of bundled heeling was harder than I expected. Both of my dogs know how to heel on the right side, but when asked to do so simultaneously, who gets the choice spot next to me? Knowing that the more specific you are with training criteria is actually kinder to dogs than just letting them choose their variation, should I ordain one for the immediate right and the other for 2nd position? That’s sound training logic. My dogs will find it easier to meet the criteria of walking close to my side if there is only one position for them to assume, not 2 to choose from. And the people pleasantly surprised to be able to pass, say “Hello”, and not have to deal with a wet nose or worse on their clothes.

 

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