Your dog may be fabulous and never leaves your side. You may be the superstar with the perfect response to ‘come’, but the city is filled with distractions.
You never know when a cat may run across the street enticing your sweet dog to follow. Keep your dog safe and leashed when out on walks. There are plenty of fenced-in dog friendly areas in Chicago to allow him to just be a dog, safely. When visiting dog parks, scan the park for bullies and collars that may not be safe. Go to the other side of the park to avoid these hazards. It is your right to be at the park and to allow your dog to be safe. Do not be afraid to speak up if another dogs’ behavior towards your dog makes you uncomfortable. Prong and choke collars (any training collar for that matter) do not belong on playing dogs. Teeth and collars can get stuck. One or both dogs can get terribly injured. Steer clear, speak up or leave. Just keep your dog safe. If a fight breaks out, it is important to grab both dogs at the same time and by their hind legs to pull them apart. NEVER stick your hand in between fighting dogs. Even if it is your dog, you risk a serious injury. To keep your dog’s social graces after being involved in a dogfight, soon after invite a doggie buddy over so he can be reminded that not all play escalates to a fight.
Everyone wants their dogs to say hi to each other. If you have seen or known a neighborhood dog to be less than friendly, it is ok to cross the street or go in the other direction. It is much more important to keep your dog safe than to let him say hi to every Fido, Bruiser and Spike.
I know we are all busy and it is tempting to want to multi-task by taking your dog out on walk while grabbing a cup of coffee or picking up your dry cleaning. It is unsafe to tie a dog outside a restaurant. He could be taunted by someone who dislikes dogs, attacked by an aggressive dog with no protective shelter or even stolen. Keep him safe and lose the extra five minutes by separating his walks from your daily errands.
We use “leave it” to give you the cue to help your dog learn to avoid food on the ground. It could be spoiled, it could be poisoned (there was actually a local dog hater who placed poisoned meat all over a park and a few dogs died after ingesting it) or it could be something not meant for dogs to eat. Keep some yummy treats with you to reward your dog for ignoring the chocolate bar someone dropped out of their backpack.