Walking an Urban Dog — part 2 — Dog Runs

Walking an Urban Dog — part 2 — Dog Runs
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Part 2: Dog Runs

What follows is taken from The Dog House NYC training manual for our dog-walkers. We hope it will help all people walking their dogs in New York City.

Dog Run Behavior

Safety Again!

When entering the dog run be careful about closing the gate behind you. At each of the dog runs on the Upper West Side, there are two consecutive gates at each entrance. The best approach is to enter the first gate, close it, unleash your dog(s), open the inner gate, let the dog(s) through and then slide yourself through. These precautions are admittedly excessive for most occasions, but they should be observed for the sake of the exceptional dog who is intent (for whatever reason) to escape the run. It only takes one dog slithering through the gate hell-bent for home for you to regret ever being born.

If your dog wears a prong collar, take it off along with the leash upon entering the run. There have been tragic instances of dogs spearing one another through the nose or lip with one of the prongs when they engage in mouth-wrestling, a common play activity. Also, if your dog should get involved in a fracas, it is almost impossible for you to grab him by the collar if he is wearing a prong collar.

Yep, Good Manners Here Too

Never get into a fight. You’ll be tempted. But under no circumstances give in.

Everything in Moderation

If your dog is a digger, don’t let him dig a hole to China. Distract him with some other activity. Sometimes he digs because he’s thirsty. Offer him water. Fill in the hole he dug.

If your dog is a humper, pull him off if he is obsessional. Otherwise, be aware humping between unneutered dogs is not usually about sex. It is about dominance. A little bit of “king of the mountain” stuff is fun for them.

If your dog is a barker, try to find a way to quiet him – maybe throw a ball, maybe stroke his neck. Sometimes you just have to move yourself to the other side of the run. Your dog will follow (usually).

If your dog likes to chase balls, indulge him for a while. But keep in mind that many dogs who chase too many balls over several years tear or sever their knee ligaments (“anterior cruciate ligaments” or “ACLs”) by midlife and will likely require surgery to reattach them. If he is possessive to the point of fighting over his ball (or if you notice that another dog is possessive about the ball you are throwing), put the ball away.

Food in the Run

Generally not a good idea, since dogs gather around you and sometimes fight.

Pack Mentality

If you are participating in a playgroup, be mindful of pack potential. While the up-side is the obvious enjoyment your playgroup gets from its members, something to watch out for is the way they may encircle a non-pack dog in a way that can get threatening or even out of hand. When you see this start to happen, simply break up your group by wooing it to a different part of the run or if necessary leashing one or two of them for a short while.

Unneutered Males

The Dog House does not accept unneutered males. We have nothing against these guys, but we have found that, in a close community like ours where many dogs socialize, nine times out of ten a “doggie incident” comes about as a result of an intact male. Always check when a new dog enters the run whether or not he has his balls. If so, be on alert. Watch his behavior with the others and if you see any heightened attitude remove yourself and your dog to a different part of the ring. If necessary, leave the run. Heightened attitude includes strutting, tail up high, immediate sniffing of other dog’s hind quarters. But it can also surface in an instant over possession of a ball or other toy. It is also worth noting that the unneutered dog himself may be perfectly friendly and comfortable in the run, and it is other dogs – ie, neutered males and females – who take exception. Just be careful.

Dog Fights

This matter gets its own section. Please see Part 3: “Walking an Urban Dog: When Fights Break Out”.

Dog Runs on the Upper West Side

Inside Riverside Park at 72d Street.

Inside Riverside Park at 87th Street.

Inside Riverside Park at 105th Street.

Theodore Roosevelt Park (behind the Museum of Natural History) at West 81st & Columbus Avenue.

Morningside Park at 113th St.

For a detailed list describing all dog runs in New York City, click on this link www.urbanhound.com/houndPlay/dogRuns.html

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