When we lived in DC, Emmett and Lucas had very busy social lives. They went to the park for 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the evening. We took them to Petsmart or to friends’ houses for puppy play dates on the weekends. They went to a doggy birthday party with all their park friends. On nice nights, they would romp on our building’s (fully fenced in!) roof deck with other dogs from our building. Dog owners sought each other out for social activities, group walks, and park meet-ups. Every single day, Emmett and Lucas met and interacted with lots of dogs. In fact, I think that’s what helped Lucas overcome many of his dog-related issues. At some point he realized, Wow! Dogs are FUN!
When we moved to Indiana, the comment we received from absolutely everyone was, “The dogs will be so happy to finally have a yard!”
And they are, of course. Sort of.
When I walk the boys around my neighborhood, they get barked at. A lot. There’s the boxer who yelps from over his blue picket fence. There’s the collie-something who rushes his chain-link fence, snarling and snapping. Then there are the dogs behind electric fences, and the dogs who rush out from half-open garage doors to yip and yap as the boys pass by. These poor dogs sound miserable. And, sadly, I only see the same few dogs get walked consistently. (I’m not really a Gladys Kravitz. I just work from home in an office with a window!)
Now we have to really strive to arrange dog interactions. And, unfortunately, I think Lucas is starting to digress a little. Even though we take him to Petsmart and arrange play dates, he’s doing pretty poorly at greeting unfamiliar dogs again. So we just need to step it up, find more opportunities, or create them!
But it makes me wonder about all those people who were so excited that the boys would finally have a yard… In the city, at least in our neighborhood, dog owners strove to arrange interactions and socialization for their dogs. In the suburbs, at least in our neighborhood, most of the dogs we encounter are barking at us from behind a fence.
So is the yard really all that great? Could it be? Are city dogs happier than suburban dogs?