DEAR PAW’S CORNER: My boxer and I just moved downtown. I love the convenience of walking to the stores, but I can’t bring Jackson in with me. Is it safe to tie him up outside, or should I leave him behind when shopping? – Tom L., Tampa, Fla.
DEAR TOM: Bringing Jackson along is a judgment call on your part. First and foremost, is he comfortable in an urban environment yet? The noise and crowds can cause even the best-trained dog to become nervous and antsy.
Second, how does your dog interact with other canines? If Jackson is well-socialized and amiable, “turf wars” are less likely to occur.
Third – and this is a daily consideration – are the destinations you want to take him to safe enough to tie him outside?
There are two preparatory steps to take here. First, get Jackson used to the city and his place in it. Take him for walks and incorporate training sessions into them, especially sit-stay sessions. Make sure that he will stay quietly, without getting restless, for several minutes.
Next, before taking Jackson on your daily errands, go on a scouting expedition of your own. At each stop, ask yourself the following questions:
• Is there a safe, sturdy place to tether him, so that he doesn’t trip pedestrians or go into the street?
• Can you see him at all times when you’re in the store?
• How do pedestrians and customers react to other dogs that are passing or are tethered nearby?
Note all these factors, and any others that you think will be a concern, and design a “Jackson shopping trip” that will let him come along with you on at least a few errands of short duration.
Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Did you know mosquitoes can transmit heartworm larvae to dogs, but fleas don’t? Find out more in my new book “Fighting Fleas,” available now. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com. © 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.