Thursday, June 9

Dogs In Crowds

Tonight is Art Walk and that always inspires me to talk about the affect the crowds have on dogs.  Every Art Walk I see the same thing, the dog owners that refuse to veer off their normal walking course to avoid the crowds and their dogs paying the price.  It makes me keep writing these blogs in hopes that the word will spread... most dogs can not handle this intense of crowds.
I think it might help to understand what your dog is seeing or experiencing.  Imagine yourself at their level no matter how big or small, then put yourself in the middle of a herd of people moving erratically, some intoxicated and stumbling, some eating their Food Truck food not paying attention to the pooch passing by and others talking, walking and sometimes dancing to the DJ's and having a good time with friends.  The focus is not on the ground where your dog is.  The perception to the dog then becomes that these people are in danger of trampling them or falling on them.  This ignites fear and anxiety.

Why do this to your dog?  I know there is a small percentage of dogs that would care less in these situations and would just get through it.  But that is a very small percentage.  Most dogs that live Downtown can deal with the normal crowds, loud sounds and other distractions, but Art Walk is not a normal amount of any of that.  

My advice is this, stay off of Spring street as much as possible and find a route to your usual or secondary potty spot that avoids the crowds as much as you can.  If you have a small dog, you may want to carry them if you have to walk through a crowded or very loud area.

I know no one at Art Walk would intentionally hurt our dogs that live here, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.  I don't think any of them intentionally trash our neighborhood, yet tomorrow morning when I walk Neville, I know the streets will be lined with trash.  It is just part of a big crowd.  You are the owners of these amazing creatures, protect them, keep them safe and do what is best for them not what is more fun for you.

For more information on training with Bark & Clark, bark on the link:  Bark!