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Rex and the City

Two books provide tips on keeping canines content with the urban life

Two books provide tips on keeping canines content with the urban life

When you consider the traffic, loud noises, small apartments, crowded sidewalks, strange people and dogs, weird smells, and constant commotion, there’s only one conclusion to be drawn: City life can be stressful for a dog. And as too many shelter workers have seen, a stressed out dog can develop behaviors that lead to a stressed out owner—which all too frequently leads to surrender.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, and two recently published books offer guidance on how to make city life for dogs as happy, safe, and stimulating as it can be. Metrodog: The Essential Guide to Raising Your Dog in the City by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson and City Dog: Choosing and Living Well with a Dog in Town by Patricia Curtis are both excellent resources for urban dog owners; city shelters with retail departments should consider offering the books in their shops. Both books discourage people from purchasing pet store puppies, and both encourage people to consider adopting dogs.

City Dog is especially positive in its discussions of shelter pooches and mixed breeds, and the author offers excellent advice on providing dogs with mental stimulation and physical exercise using limited space. A highlight of City Dog is a chapter called “The Legal Dog,” in which Curtis discusses some of the legal issues surrounding dogs in cities. She touches on scoop, leash, and licensing laws, and gives advice on how pet owners can persuade flexible housing managers to get rid of “no pet” clauses in rental agreements—and how citizens can collectively fight such clauses when dealing with landlords who aren’t so willing to compromise.

The strength of Metrodog is its in-depth advice on training urban pooches. From puppy basics like housetraining and crating to more advanced commands for “inner-city youth” (adolescent urban dogs), the book addresses a panoply of different needs of the apartment-bound canine. The authors suggest humane and easy-to-follow fixes for a variety of behavior problems, as well as methods to help nervous dogs get past fears of typical city denizens such as off-leash dogs and loud, unpredictable humans.

Both Metrodog ($14.95, Warner Books) and City Dog ($17.95, Lantern Books) are available from major retailers; Amazon.com offers a 30 percent discount on Metrodog, making it a prime choice for shelter shops aiming to profit from retail items. For shelters trying to help urbanites live happily ever after with their chic municipal mutts, both books are great resources to recommend to adopters.

 

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