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Monday, December 26, 2011

Dogs In The City: Is There A Right And A Wrong?

Graphic courtesy of NYTimes.com

We ran across this article in a recent New York Times that discusses the "ins and outs", so to speak, of living in a city apartment with a dog, mostly from the dogs' perspective. Will the dog(s) have enough indoor and outdoor space to romp? Is the breed just too big or too active for small apartment and/or city living?
And for the humans to think about - does the landlord even allow dogs, and if so, is there a weight limit
for Fido?
Although this article provides a robust discussion of all of these issues, and concludes that perhaps the city dogs with the best life have owners who also  have a great life, i.e., they own a country home, it seems to miss one crucial point: 
it doesn't mention the safety of the other apartment dwellers, provided that we're talking about an apartment "building" with hallways, stairs and common areas, rather than a detached or semi-detached apartment or duplex.

Photo of Brooklyn apartment dweller with her two Cane Corsos courtesy of The New York Times

Now, we realize that we're treading into dangerous territory here, but we're going to say it anyway...those breeds (or mixed breeds) that are capable of causing real damage to other pets and humans, can prove dangerous to the aforementioned species living in close proximity. We agree that it's usually not the dogs or the specific breed, or even the size of the dog, but the control the owners have over their canine companions that's most important. But, even the most vigilent and dedicated dog owners sometimes don't have control of their dogs-and that can spell disaster with a large breed or those known to be more agressive. 
Speaking for Parental Unit and me, we are afraid of those larger breed dogs that are capable of causing major damage, and steer clear whenever possible. The bottom line is that a Toy Poodle or a Yorkie simply cannot cause the damage to human or other animals that say, a Rotweiller, Mastiff or German shepherd can cause. And a far as known temperment versus size, Standard Poodles or Golden Retrievers, although large, just aren't known for agressiveness, so we usually feel safe in meeting and greeting these dogs, even when not leashed.

So are we crazy or what? Agree or set us straight if you will, we're open to to all comments.


The Daily Pip said...

Well, this is interesting since we lived in the city in an apartment with Pip for ten years and recently moved to the suburbs. I think it can be stressful for some dogs to live in such close proximity to other dogs, lots of people, noise, in the same way it is stressful for some people. Pip never had a problem with the sirens, car alarms, screaming people, loud music, etc. that were a constant in our old apartment. He never seemed to notice any of it in fact - he did however seem more nervous around other dogs in the city. He also seems more interested in exploring in our new, very quiet neighborhood.

My mom still lives in the city in a high rise with MANY DOGS of all sizes. Her former dog (who has now passed away) was attacked by another dog in the building. It was no one's fault - she was getting off the elevator with Sophie (her dog) and another dog and owner were waiting to board the elevator. They surprised each other and the other dog went a little crazy. It all happened so fast that the other owner was not able to intervene until Sophie was already hurt. Unfortunately, I think these run ins are more likely to happen just because of the density of dogs and people. It definitely takes extra vigilance in the city - both for dog owners and people in general.

Pamela said...

My experience has been that dogs who spend the most time with their people have the best behavior. Dogs that are raised from puppyhood in the city and socialized to other dogs and people make excellent canine companions.

I appreciate your honesty about your fears. I'd never tell anyone not to be afraid. But I'd suggest that our most useful strategy is to push, encourage, and wheedle all people with dogs to train and socialize them so no one has to be afraid.

Bocci said...

Thanks for these enlightening comments...and the encouragement to be a bit braver!

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