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Tips on adjusting to city life
  • Hi all, I think I saw a discussion about this before but I just can't seem to find it anymore.

    So I am moving to Melbourne city from Adelaide suburb area for uni study. Mei has been there once before for around 3 days, however she was very scared and anxious about all the noise and new things such as elevators. It was hard to walk her on the sidewalk as she cowards with her tail down and partially crawls and speed walk frantically. She won't do her business on sidewalks or fake grass so only on a patch of grass about 2 blocks away.

    Does anyone know how I can help her adjust to city life and the noises outside? She is fine inside the apartment no crying or barking. Also for those who lives in the city, how many times do you do potty walks a day and would investing in a real grass dog potty be worth it? (like these http://www.freshpatch.com.au/collections/all/products/fresh-patch-small-dogs-patch-single )
  • Hey!

    Ham and I live in the middle of down town Atlanta. I would suggest taking treats with you on your walks in the city and rewarding Mei for calm behavior. Take breaks during your walks to do some training so she becomes used to the environment, and learns what the rules are for those environments.

    Ham is picky about where he poops and we walk all the way to the fresh patch of grass that's down the road so he can go poop. I take him there during our two longer walks. If it's rainy and cold, he'll concede and poop in the dirt patch that my apartment complex set out for pets but most of the time we talk the long walk. Ham gets 4-5 chances to go potty a day but only on two of those chances do we go all the way to the patch of grass.
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    I live on a busy intersection near the center of a city (a few mins from downtown). I take Pylea out constantly because she's just a puppy, and she sees buses, cars, trucks, bikes, motorcycles, etc. turn the corner right in front of my apartment. A thing that spooks her is when the bus does that loud "CHHHH!!!!" sound as it passes. I always say "good girl" (she associates this with getting a treat for good behavior, but it's not the same as the clicker noise which is only for commands) and give her a treat when she recovers from being scared. Also when she barks at something strange headed our direction (e.g., a guy pushing a red Target cart vs. a metal cart that she's used to) I say "look at me" and give her treats to distract her. Eventually she sits and watches the strange thing go by.

    Another thing that's helped her become desensitized to all the commotion/noise is sitting on the sidewalk half a block away and watching everything. I let her stay in one spot for 5-10 mins just quietly watching, and I am sure that accounts for most of her desensitization from busy city stuff. I've also carried her downtown a lot but this may not be an option for you if your dog is full grown.

    Pylea usually pees and poos on the grass median between the sidewalk and the street, and occasionally my neighbors' bushes adjacent to the sidewalk (they told me it was OK). I personally wouldn't get a grass patch for home but I also don't have a balcony or anything.

    To summarize, I would work on "look at me" if you haven't already, always have treats with you when you're outside, and let your dog watch/hear the crazy stuff from a safe distance. Basically the same thing that Justifiedgaines suggested.
  • @pylea and @Justifiedgaines thank you both for the suggestions, I'll try and work more on the "look at me" since she already knows that but currently there is only a 50% chance she'll actually look at me XD

    @Justifiedgaines there isn't any plants around the apartment so we'll probably have to walk to the grass every time but hopefully she'll learn over time that she can do her business on other surfaces as well
  • @meixdidi I know this is kind of late to respond to you but I figured I could try and give some advice/tips on things that worked for us. We also live in the city in an apartment complex (luckily on the first floor). Our first Shiba (Douglas) was extremely freightened of the grates on the ground, sewers on the street near the cross walk, bikes, people, and the tables and chairs that restaraunts sit out during the summer. Most of the time I would pick him up and carry him over the grates or pass the tables and chairs, but I learned that it only made him more afraid of those things, so I started treat training him. He's very food motivated! To get him to walk over the grates I would get down close to him and keep the treat in my hand, let him sniff it and then walk over the grate slowly and stand in the middle of it and say "come". Once he came to the treat I'd say "good boy" and give it to him but stand on the grate for a few minutes then say "come" and we would walk off. It took maybe four times of that and he eventually started just walking on them by himself. Same way with walking towards large groups of people. Just distract them with the treat and make them follow you.
    We got another Shiba (Kevin) and he isn't afraid of anything. Funny cause they've both grown up here so I'm not sure why it's like that. Anyway, we take them out probably four or five times a day. We walk to the "poop patch" that's about a block and a half away when we want them to get their business done and come in, but once in the evening and right before bed we take them for longer walks.
    I hope this helps and wasn't too much rambling!
    Good luck!

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