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Wednesday, May 18

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e_five / May 10, 2005 3:36 PM

Make sure the dog is smaller than your tiny apartment.

steven / May 10, 2005 3:43 PM

Realize, beforehand, the responsibility of owning a dog. Too many people buy a puppy/dog because "oh, it's so cute", then end up handing the dog off to someone else because it's too much work for them.

Also, get pet insurance and a microchip. You'll thank yourself later many, many times.

Mrs. Notifbutwhen / May 10, 2005 3:45 PM

A leash!

Maggie / May 10, 2005 3:50 PM

This may just be me and the fact that I'm not comfortable with dogs I don't know... but can dogs owners please try to walk their dogs on the other side of the sidewalk when crossing paths with someone else? And DON'T use those dumb retractable leashes. You cannot have any real control over your animal with those things.

Ann / May 10, 2005 3:54 PM

Either own your own place or have a lease as long as the dog's life, because I hear apartment-hunting for a place that allows dogs is a pain. Be sure you have someone to take care of your dog when you work late or go away. Remember that you have to walk them even when it's 10 below outside.

Then when you have all that worked out, get yourself a copy of The Dog Lover's Companion to Chicago.

amyc / May 10, 2005 4:26 PM

Don't be an asshole dog owner, that's the best advice. Invest in basic obedience classes, train your dog not to jump on people, always use a lead (free-range dogs in the city are a tragedy and/or lawsuit waiting to happen), always clean up after your dog (even in the snow! seriously, what is wrong with people?), don't leave your dog alone for 16 hours a day, realize that not everyone will love your dog, and realize that anything your dog does wrong is most likely your fault.

Also, those choke collars and prong collars that everybody seems to use these days are unnecessary and cruel. If you can't control your dog with a plain ol' buckle collar, you're doing something wrong.

And then, make your dog happy and healthy with lots of love and exercise and butt scratches!

Cinnamon / May 10, 2005 4:38 PM

Take it to the vet once a year for a check up, same goes for cats too, y'all!

Clean up after your dog. Nothing turns me into a poo-slinging chimp-grrl like a lazy-ass dog owner, especially the one who comes in my yard every SINGLE day.

Understand that while you know your dog is the friendliest least harmful dog on the planet, most other people don't realize that so don't get personally offended if people are afraid of your dog.

Lori / May 10, 2005 4:48 PM

Work with your dog. Don't ever let your dog jump on people, or their children. If someone (like the poster above) is obviously uncomfortable being near dogs (and that includes your super friendly pal), respect that and keep your dog at your side. Train them to sit and allow kids and people to approach for pets.

One of the best things, I think, about having a dog in the city is that it opens up communication between different people. I have learned that many of the kids I encounter at my local park are TERRIFIED of dogs, but are often curious and want to see my dog, because she is so cuddly looking. I have her sit and keep a good grip on her leash to show the kids and their parents that I am not going to let anything happen, and then I get down with them and pet her and talk to them about my dog. I love talking to the kids and their families, and having a living example that a well trained dog is not going to hurt them.

The other thing I advise for those looking for dogs, go to Animal Control and rescue a dog. We got our beautiful Golden Retreiver as a puppy from Animal Control.

Emerson Dameron / May 10, 2005 4:49 PM

It's been said already, but for the love of god, check downstairs before you keep a large beast in an upstairs apartment. When I lived on Bryn Mawr, the folks overhead had a dog that looked like a pony, which spent its nights in the room directly above my sleeping quarters. They may as well have operated a bowling alley. Whenever I complained, they said they couldn't hear it and it wasn't a problem. If they're reading this, they should know I'm still ready to beat them silly.

Blake / May 10, 2005 5:12 PM

Before buying a dog, conduct an experiment. Eat a large meal -- half of your day's caloric intake, with plenty of beverage to boot -- and then lock yourself out of your bathroom. See how long you can go without wetting or soiling yourself.

Then think about getting a dog walker if you expect to be away from home for more than a few hours at a time, because asking a dog to hold it in for ten or twelve hours at a time while you're off at work is just plain cruel and unusual.

robin.. / May 10, 2005 5:27 PM

uh, don't.

amy / May 10, 2005 5:56 PM

Understand that city doggies are so much better than suburban doggies. Having to walk them everyday and know their movements makes you a better owner.

As before, pick up your poop, know your doggies boundaries and get them some exercise.

My dog is a good and friendly - but he is big and scary to small children and non-doggie people. I am surprised that most people I encounter seem to like him. I do not presume that most people like dogs so I get to be pleased when they like my Bill.

It is possible to have a 100 lb dog in a 1 bedroom apartment as long as you remember that the apartment is for laying about and for sleeping and the rest of the day is for running and walking. He doesn't do laps in the apt and he doesn't like big places where he can't see everybody at once. If you get an attached breed (like a male lab) small places are just fine.

I love having a dog in the city and I apologize on behalf of crappy dog owners - please don't dis us all. My dog is one of the best parts of my life and I think he makes my life better. I promise to remain conciencious of my neighbors.

Michael / May 10, 2005 6:06 PM

The timing of this is great, as I have just been considering getting a dog this week. I grew up with dogs my whole life in the burbs, but haven't had one of my own since moving to the city ten years ago, so keep the tips comin'!

J / May 10, 2005 8:07 PM

Curb your dog. I've seen the signs for this.

Cinnamon / May 10, 2005 9:49 PM

Just to clarify, I love dogs and will often go out of my way to see if I can pet a dog. I've often found that dog owners know the most about what's going in the neighborhood. However, I've seen many dog owners dismiss concerns of non-dog likers. These are usually the same owners who don't keep their dogs on a leash, or they hit their dog when it starts to bark.

That's another thing. Not only do you have to train your dog on how to behave, you need to learn the proper way to interact with your dog so it understands you. Whacking it with something is rarely, if ever, the answer.

Leelah / May 10, 2005 10:50 PM

Please pick up. If you don't, you screw things up for the test of us!

I have two 60 lb dogs who wear pinch collars. The choke collar actually chokes the dog. The collar looks cruel, but it is effective because it works like a mama dog... moms nip their puppies when getting them in line. If you put it on your arm, as I did before I got my first one, you'll see that it doesn't hurt. My dogs, known for their spazziness, walk like insane banshees out of hell without the collars.

I also have a house with a large yard, which is pretty nice for the girls, but not feasible for everyone.

rick / May 10, 2005 11:41 PM

I used to love dogs until I constantly had to share north side sidewalks with them and their neurotic owners who treat them like surrogate children. It's creepy: have real children, get into a relationship, whatever, but spare your pets the pathology of being a substitute for human exchange.

Barb Dwyer / May 11, 2005 5:09 AM

"...left their mark"
That's a joke, right/

Barb Dwyer / May 11, 2005 5:10 AM

"...left their mark"
That's a joke, right?

Tim / May 11, 2005 8:04 AM

Pick up your dogs waste. And if you see other dog waste that was not picked up, pick it up too. Dog owners are one big faternity right? And when your dog finishes its business and begins to kick up someones lawn into mulch perhaps move your dog along, unless it has an opposable thumb and can lend a hand with the yard repair and the excess watering that is required to prevent lawn bunout from the toxic urine that a dog locked up all day has built up in its bladder and expells on non-dog owners yards (odd how that works isn't it?). Again, pick up your dogs waste - big dog, small dog, dog that crap roses, I don't care. Pick it up.

~L. / May 11, 2005 8:46 AM

First off, get your dog from a shelter. Period. There's a huge selection and if you want you can even get one already housetrained.

I agree with most of the other stuff that has been said (pick up after your dog, respect other people's space, etc.), but the thing that bugs me most is when people assume that dogs have a better life in the suburbs. Dogs who live in the suburbs with a big fenced in yard may have room to run, but they probably won't. They're social animals and are happiest when sniffing around with their owners on walks or jogs. If you just shut the dog in the backyard for an hour, the poor animal isn't usually going to get exercise. It's just going to sit there wondering when you'll be coming out to play. City dogs (with responsible owners) are better socialized and happier.

This from someone with a 2 bedroom apartment and a 75 pound, happy, well-adjusted dog.

eliina / May 11, 2005 8:50 AM

Definitely take your dog to the vet and keep it's shots up to date. City dogs are exposed to many more other dogs than your average suburban pup, and every dog you meet may not be healthy.
Having a dog is a great way to get to know your fellow dog-owning neighbors--I've had a great conversations with people I've met on our 6am morning walks.
And it's been said before, but it's worth repeating--CLEAN UP after your pet. A few less-than-vigilant folks can give us all a bad name.
One last thing--adopt a pet from a shelter if you can. There are some amazing animals waiting for a little love.

Erica / May 11, 2005 9:11 AM

Yeah, clean up zee poop!
And here's a plug for a wonderful vet (I couldn't believe they did grooming cheaper than than PetSmart):

Dog culture is so cool. It's funny how when you're at the park, you tend to find out the owner's pup's name, but often don't catch the owner's name.

"Yeah, so I was talking to Rex's owner yesterday ..."

Darwin / May 11, 2005 9:11 AM

I think the people that walk 3 or 4 across the sidewalk and won't even move over an inch for you to walk by with your dog are much worse than dog people. I keep my dog's leash short as we approach people, but I shouldn't have to get off the sidewalk just because you think you have the right to walk 3 across and can't be bothered to halt your conversation for 2 seconds.

If you don't like the choke or pinch collars look into the gentle leaders. They really work well. Be prepared though for everyone to think your dog is muzzled. I love when people come up to me and ask if he is dangerous because he has a muzzle on. I inform them that no he isn't dangerous and no it isn't a muzzle and he can still open his mouth to bite you with it on if he wanted.

aj / May 11, 2005 9:54 AM

Yes, all of the above - but how about some fun stuff? Enjoy the Dog Beach on a nice day. Socialize with others at the dog park. Teach your dog to catch a ball or frisbee. Show it that obedience is a fun game to play.

The more time you spend with your dog doing fun things, the better dog you'll have, and the more tolerant your neighbors will be.

Lastly, don't leave your dog tied up while you run into a store. It's tempting, I know, but not worth the risk of it being stolen.

Erica / May 11, 2005 10:14 AM

Ooh. I almost forgot ... OK, I know this kinda sucks, but there are still people who train fighting dogs, so NEVER leave your pup alone w/out a watchful eye or a gate or something/someone to protect it.

You'd think by now people would know how to make an honest living and find ways to entertain themselves beyond watching animals kill each other, but sadly, people still do.

Yet Another Jen / May 11, 2005 10:23 AM

Y’all are giving great advice!
We've got two, great big lovable labs, one from each of the pounds listed below.

My hint for pet owning, please, please get your pets from pounds.

Chicago Animal Care & Control
2741 South Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60608

Animal Welfare League
10305 Southwest Highway
Chicago Ridge, IL

davin / May 11, 2005 11:37 AM

pick up the poop! especially on logan boulevard. thanks.

GL fan / May 11, 2005 11:54 AM

1. Obedience classes. Get into it!

2. I can't heap enough praise upon the Gentle Leader. I have a dog who is/was leash reactive, and it is magic. Not only does it keep your dog from pulling/lunging, but it works on pressure points that relax your dog. Just make sure to fit it properly or your poor pup will have a chafed nose. As mentioned, everyone will think it's a muzzle.

3. Adopt from the shelter, but spend more than a minute or two interacting with the dog before you decide you want to adopt. Watch how the dog reacts to you, watch how it reacts to other dogs (if there aren't any out exercising, you might want to ask to have one brought out to see how it reacts), check to see if it is food protective, etc. I see too many people just decide a dog is cute and then complain about problems they could've discovered if they spent even ten minutes interacting with the dog before adopting it.

4. There has been much talk about not forcing your dog upon strangers, but little talk about forcing your dog upon other strange dogs and their owners. Some dogs don't play well with others, and it's a complete nightmare when you're trying to exercise your dog and less enlightened owners constantly come bounding up to you and with their dogs so they can meet. Use some judgment.

TK / May 11, 2005 12:34 PM

Ditto so many of you.

Respect, respect, respect: your dog's physical & emotional needs, your neighbors' property (& sleeping habits if you're in an apartment), other people's misgivings & personal space.

And for everyone's sake, please, PLEASE keep your dog leashed. The best-trained dog in the city just needs one really, really enticing squirrel and he's off across the street. Not fair to your dog, the other people who love him, or certainly the driver who may not be able to stop in time. In addition, there's some potentially combative & hard-to-control pack stuff when an unleashed dog meets with a leashed one.

Letting your dog run free is fabulous and important to its health - in an appropriate, fenced-in place. Otherwise, it's just never worth it.

Matt / May 11, 2005 1:11 PM

Is there anyone out there who knows of any shelters or good places that I could get like a boston terrier, english bulldog, or pug? Don't mean to be racist but i have a small apartment, and I need a smaller dog.
I have had one before and adore these types of dogs. I guess I am just drawn to them. I want to adopt but it is really hard to find these types of dogs in shelters.

I moved up here about a year ago from my home town where my family has a pug. After growning up and running and playing in Oklahoma, she is a country dog, so the city wouldn't be good for her now (plus my father is attatched to her). However, I am looking for a smaller toy breed so that my girlfriend and I could have a dog. My work is great because we already have one dog who runs around here so the new one can be with me here and play with the other dog, during the day, and I can watch it and wouldnt need to get a sitter or a walker.

Heather / May 11, 2005 1:38 PM

If you are looking for specific dog for specific needs, that isn't racist, it is responsible. Lots of dogs, like the working breeds (Border Collies come to mind) were bred to work and unless you have 2 hours to walk and run them every night, they may not be for you. We have an Italian Greyhound specifically because of the low allergy possibilities (though no dog is hypoallergenic, really) as well as size and temperment. Plus, small dog = small poop. It does make pick-up easier.

Do a google search for breed rescue clubs in Illinois and nearby states. Not to push IG's on you, but for a good example you can go to

Keep in mind that some small dogs that end up in rescue can be high maintenance while they adjust, but it sounds like you would have the time to spend socializing your dog. Good luck!

libby / May 11, 2005 2:17 PM

there are several pug and bulldog assistance websites out there - maybe you could save one. and can help you find one near your home

some of the dogs available through these groups have health problems, many pugs and bulldogs havel health issues, e.g. strokes, seizures, eye problems...

Tim / May 11, 2005 2:25 PM

"strokes, seizures, eye problems...", kind of puts a damper on games of fetch.

libby / May 11, 2005 2:30 PM

if you understand the breed you own and care for it accordingly then nothing can put a damper on a game of fetch.

Michael / May 11, 2005 2:35 PM

Trade it for a guppy (try and get a bowl throw in while you're at it).

katie / May 11, 2005 2:48 PM

Matt, my fiance and I have a pug we received through the Northern Illinois Pug Rescue, the website is it's true, she does have some health problems, but nothing that impairs her. she's the sweetest dog, loves attention, and is obedient and well-trained.

sorry for the pug hijack! they are great urban dogs, though.

Rebecca / May 11, 2005 3:07 PM

adopt, adopt, adopt.

Try getting an older dog. They're already trained (sometimes) and you don't have to mess with a puppy chewing everything.

I've adopted 3 pugs from rescues (all between 5 and 10 years old) and they're awesome! Make no mistakes, dogs are always a lot of work, but if you're willing to take that on, why not give an older dog a second chance? Try to find the perfect dog, or other animal, to adopt.

matt / May 11, 2005 3:51 PM

Thanks so much for all of the advice and great websites. I am sure they will come in handy

Leelah / May 11, 2005 3:57 PM

Yet Another Jen --

Both of those places are where my two dogs are from! Shelter dogs and pound puppies are the best!

Robert / May 11, 2005 4:57 PM

DON'T! Dogs need fresh air and room to run. Owning a dog in the city is not only cruel to dogs, but it is disrespectful to other city dwellers. Owning a dog makes the city louder, dirtier and more dangerous. Please be kind to animals and your neighbors and DON'T GET A DOG!

Michael / May 11, 2005 5:25 PM


That's asinine on so many levels, I'm not even sure where to begin.

Diane / May 11, 2005 6:29 PM

I agree with all who say to adopt, and throw in my two cents for adopting a greyhound. They are the *best* city dogs, even if you don't have a yard. There are several adoption agencies - Midwest Greyhound Association and Greyhounds Only are two of the big ones.

As for general tips, this should go without saying: spay or neuter your dog! Intact dogs *will* find a way to get together, especially in a place with so many dogs around. And make sure your dog has a collar and tag with your address. It could be the difference between him coming home and ending up in a shelter if he gets loose.

And, of course, your dog needs snuggles and kisses several times a day. That's the fun part.

Kay / May 11, 2005 7:55 PM

"Also, those choke collars and prong collars that everybody seems to use these days are unnecessary and cruel. If you can't control your dog with a plain ol' buckle collar, you're doing something wrong."

What? No. As was pointed out earlier, those collars don't actually hurt. And some dogs just pull, pull, pull if they don't feel a pinch - which can be dangerous to the owner and other dogs. I have a Husky, and if not outfitted with a restraining collar, she will not only tow me down icy streets, she tries to attack every other dog she sees. For her, the choke is absolutely necessary.

Drdick / May 11, 2005 8:50 PM

The main thing is to clean up after those muts.

Brenda / May 11, 2005 9:37 PM

Do what I do: tell yourself that someday, when you have a house, a yard, a fence, a car, a predictable schedule and a live-in partner, you'll adopt two beautiful ex-racer greyhounds. Until then... support the great people doing the rescuing.

KAJ / May 11, 2005 9:40 PM


Your comments are uninformed on so many levels. 1. Not all dogs need "room to run". One of my crazy fosters was much happier being a slug than chasing squirrels. Dogs that like to run have a plethora of places to do so in the city - there are dog parks everywhere, not to mention the huge beach at Montrose and the lake.
2. I see way more trash out than dog waste, so I'd argue that humans are much guiltier of dirtying the city.
3. Really, are you sitting around worrying about how my aunts two yorkies are making your life more dangerous? If so, you need a new hobby.

Also, see the post above about dogs being alone in a backyard vs. being out on a walk in the city. Some great points were made.

Robert / May 12, 2005 9:05 AM

DON'T! Cars pollute fresh air and take up room to run. Owning a car in the city is not only expensive and inconvenient, but it is disrespectful to other city dwellers. Owning a car makes the city louder, dirtier and more dangerous. Please be kind to animals and your neighbors and DON'T GET A CAR!

Robert / May 12, 2005 9:46 AM

Ha Ha, verry funny. I actually agree with your post, too. I was not saying that all dogs are loud, dirty and dangerous, but the city is more loud, dirty and dangerous because of dogs. I'm not fautling the dogs here, rather irresposible owners. If you can train your dog not to bark at all hours at the drop of a hat, pick up its shit, ALWAYS have it on a leash when its off your property and provide it with all the love and execize it deserves - get a dog. Sadly, I come across far too few dog owners who meet all these criteria. I'm not anti-dog or anti-dog owning, I'm just in favor of doing whats best for dogs and your neighbors.

JT / May 12, 2005 10:16 AM

Repeating many previous comments:

1. Pick up after your dog, no matter what the weather. Pay attention to where they pee and throw up, too. We live in a six-flat with an enclosed front yard, and the grass burnout from dog urine is really sad and gross.

2. Don't leave them unattended for long periods. It's just mean. I love the previous suggestion that you first eat and drink and lock yourself out of the bathroom before getting a dog.

3. Rescue, rescue, rescue. And do realize that there will be a period of adjustment for both you and the pet(s).

4. Find a great vet, and avail yourself of their services. I highly recommend Family Pet on Webster.

5. Collar and tag your dog at all times. Don't rely solely on the microchip, because not everyone knows about it or assumes that every pet has one. You can have ID tags made very cheaply in a vending machine at any chain pet store.

6. Socialize your pet, and yourself, to the best extent you can. I grew up with three dogs and have only indoor cats now, because we don't have enough time and space to devote to a dog yet. However, it's important to me that my kids are not afraid of other animals. They love dogs and always ask politely (if excitedly) if they can pet someone's dog. They understand already that some dogs aren't comfortable with kids, and that's okay. But if you are going to run your dog near a playground, be sure that you as well as your dog are socialized. Nothing is more of a turnoff than a great dog with a cranky, kid-hating owner.

paul / May 12, 2005 11:29 AM

What about doggie fashion? Yesterday I saw a businessman-looking guy walking a toy poodle that was wearing a pink sweater. Was the poodle as comfortable with his masculinity as the guy?

And people who tie bandanas around their dogs necks, purely for fashion reasons, should ask the dog if they really want to look like some dude from the 80's.

Lofan / August 21, 2007 12:57 AM

Don't get a dog unless you are smarter than the dog and can train it and stop it from spewing toxic levels of dog noise pollution. Pick up its shit and make sure other people don't have to step in your dogs shit. Don't let you dog mual bite or kill any one esp kids. Hundreds of thousands of kids are maimed by dogs every year. google news 'dog attacks' if you doubt it.

Don't subject your quiet decent neighbors to dog noise pollution sleep deprivation torture with your dog.

If you can do all of that I mean- not do all of that maybe you could be a responsible dog owner- if not best you get a gold fish.

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