Living in the countryside might mean rolling hills and open spaces for your buddy to run around in. But when it comes to living in an apartment in a city, raising a street-savvy pack of city dogs is priority #1.

Because with all the comforts of big city life, your buddy (or buddies) still faces a bunch of challenges. Whether that’s from other dogs, other people, garbage, traffic, noise – all of which could potentially harm them, spook them, or cause them to escape from home.

So if you’re looking to raise city dogs that can handle any urban challenge, it’s going to take some work. Your buddies will need a keen sense of the surroundings, good team work between the two of you – and a plan in case you do find them lost or missing. Let’s get started.

1) Understand your local leash laws

While it’s tempting to want to let your buddy enjoy some off-leash time, most cities have strict leash laws. (Especially when it comes to allowing dogs on board public transport.) Leash laws are usually enforced by your local police department – and they mean business. So if you’re caught without one, it’s possible you’ll have to pay a hefty fine.

So make sure to look up your local leash laws, especially:

  • How long they should be (standard leashes typically being required to be no longer than 6 feet)
  • Whether you can use retractable leashes
  • What areas you can let your dog off-leash (like some dog parks or designated dog runs)
  • What else your dog needs if you’re both taking public transport (like, for example, a muzzle)
A city dog walking on a leash

⚠️ Now generally, all dogs (regardless of size, age, or lifestyle) should be taught to walk nicely on leash – but even more so for city dogs.

How come? Because it only takes a second’s negligence for them to bolt away from you…and potentially end up getting hit by a car.

Similarly, getting your dog used to a muzzle will also help you both travel comfortably while on public transport.

Read more: The Guide To Leash Training A Puppy Or Dog

2) Be extra mindful of every morsel your dog eats

While some dog parents teach dogs to walk on the side of their owner, city dog parents should keep their dogs a bit in front of them.

Why? So you can see if your buddy is nibbling something from off of the street. City dogs quickly learn that there are lots of goodies on the sidewalk – chicken bones, rat poison, ice melting products, wrappers, and more “tasty treats” that are 100% off-limits for them!

Read more: What Can Dogs Not Eat? 15 Foods Poisonous To Dogs

A dog sitting in front of a fallen muffin on a street sidewalk

3) Make regular training a priority

Doesn’t matter what it is – anything you practice on a regular basis, you’ll get better at naturally. Which, in the case of city dogs (and kind of like our kids), means basic obedience training. Including commands like:

  • Sit and Stay, perfect for indoor environments like cafes and restaurants
  • Drop it, especially if you see your buddy sniffing at some food dropped on the ground
  • Come back, to prevent your buddy from running out in front of a car
A man training a small dog outdoors

⚠️ A well-trained dog doesn’t just give you bragging rights in front of your friends and loved ones. It’s only the best-trained city dogs that end up being allowed in dog parks, cafes, public transport, beaches, and some stores.

So make regular training a priority – whether that’s at a specific obedience training school or by yourself with your buddy at home. It’s a great way to keep your buddy both physically and mentally active, plus get you two some important bonding time together.

Read more:

4) Figure out where your dog’s allowed (and not allowed!) to enter

Your dog might be the good-est boy or girl in the world – but there are still some spots in town they absolutely can’t enter. (And others they can.)

So make sure you know the difference, ask and inform well in advance, and plan accordingly:

Places most city dogs aren’t allowedPlaces most city dogs may be allowed
MuseumsDog parks
LibrariesSome outdoor cafes and restaurants
Most places of worship (like mosques, temples, and churches)Some pet-friendly stores
Specific shopping centersBeaches and waterfronts

💡A good rule of thumb is to always check a store or cafe’s pet policy and whether they have any requirements for dogs.

It’s most likely the case you’ll have to keep your buddy leashed at the very minimum – and supervised every second – to ensure they don’t make a nuisance of themselves.

A woman petting a leashed dog at a cafe

5) Be a considerate dog parent in dog-friendly spaces

We’ve all heard about “that” dog parent…you know, the one that never scoops the poop or takes accountability for their dog getting rambunctious. So let’s avoid being them, shall we?

  • Always carry poop bags and gloves along with you on walks. No one wants to step in a mess while on the sidewalk – plus your dog’s poop can transmit harmful parasites and diseases.
  • Train your dog to do their business at the very edge of the sidewalk. This can prevent it from landing directly in the middle of where other pedestrians might be walking.
A woman scooping up a dog's poop with a plastic trash bag
  • Stay on top of dog park etiquette. Not every dog wants to socialize – and it’s up to you to ensure your buddy doesn’t leap all over one that isn’t as friendly or just wants to be left alone. Make sure to always ask fellow dog parents if it’s okay for your buddy to “say hi” to theirs.
  • Be aware that some people absolutely DO NOT WANT dogs anywhere near them. Keep your buddy firmly leashed by your side at all times to prevent any unpleasant encounters.

Read more:

6) Plan ahead for a “missing dog” situation

Whether you take your dog to the park, to the vet or for a simple walk, there’s no end to the dangers that can occur. And with all the reasons dogs run away, it makes sense to plan ahead for an emergency – aka, if they’ve gone missing.

So if you’re looking to keep your buddy safe, it’s a good idea to:

  • Become a familiar face with your neighbors. So you have at least a few emergency contacts – or someone who can help you physically look for your dog.
  • Get your dog used to wearing a collar and ID tag at the very least. This can help prevent them from getting picked up by a city pound – where they might even end up being euthanized if the staff can’t identify you as the owner!
Man and woman with dog
  • Get your dog microchipped. So a helpful stranger can take them to a vet – who can scan them for a microchip, find your contact details, and get in touch with you.
  • Update your microchip details on the worldwide registry. So you can help a vet or shelter identify your missing dog no matter where you are in the world.

⚠️ Just remember: an ID tag can fall off or get smudged – while a microchip can only identify your dog. Not track them down in real-time or help you take an active role in, well, actually finding them.

That’s where…

A GPS tracker can be a lifesaver.

Especially since you now have a whole sky full of satellites helping you locate your missing dogin real-time, over an unlimited range, and with just a glance at your phone.

💡And if you’ve invested in a Tractive device, you can also track your dog while on vacation. Or, well, over 175 countries at least. (If you’re on a Premium subscription.)

Pictured below is Tractive’s LIVE tracking feature – where you can follow your moving dog’s every step, no matter how far away they are.

Tractive GPS app feature screenshot LIVE Tracking
Lisa van Roon and Charlie the Basenji

“The LIVE tracking is my #1 recommendation when it comes to peace of mind.

Besides that, Tractive’s Family Sharing feature is super helpful. Both let me monitor how (my dog is) doing even if I’m not around.

…I can get anxious wanting to know where he is at all times. So I check the LIVE tracking to see where he’s being walked.

Once I see my parents and Charlie are back home safe, I have my peace of mind because the tracker helps me see his location even if I’m not there.

This helps me feel more confident I can let him off-leash in specific areas. Especially ones that don’t have other dogs walking off-leash, who might end up chasing or biting him, and that are fenced in – to make sure he stays safe.”

– Lisa van Roon & Charlie, NL

Read more: Lisa & Charlie the Basenji: Adventuring With Tractive

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Ready to raise your street-savvy pack of city dogs with pride?

Remember: with great comfort, comes great responsibility – and you’re the captain of this urban city ship, especially when it comes to controlling your pack of city dogs.

So make sure to:

  • Follow your city’s leash laws to the T. Ensure your dog is used to being walked on a leash at all times. (Especially if you’re both taking public transport.)
  • Be extra mindful of any extra “treats” and tibdits lying around your city streets. You want to avoid your dog eating something they really shouldn’t – and then ending up paying a hefty vet bill.
  • Make regular training a priority, especially for basic obedience commands like “Sit,” “Stay,” “Drop it,” and “Come back.” All of which can keep your buddy safe while at cafes, crossing the street, or out on walks.
A woman walking two city dogs on leash
  • Figure out where your dog is (and isn’t!) allowed. Always check with the establishment beforehand regarding their pet policy and follow their requirements. You’ll most likely have to keep your buddy leashed and supervised every second.
  • Be a considerate dog parent in dog-friendly spaces. Make sure to clean up after your buddy and check with others before your dog “says hi.”

And most importantly…

  • Plan ahead for an emergency – aka, a missing dog situation. Ensure your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag at all times and ideally, also has a microchip.

And if you’re looking for a solution that means you can take an active role in finding your missing buddygo for a dedicated dog GPS tracker.

Meaning you can now track your dog:

  • In real-time,
  • Over an unlimited range,
  • While on vacation (if you’re on a Premium subscription)

…all with just a glance at your phone.

Tractive Trustpilot review
packaging of the Tractive GPS DOG tracker

Always know where your dog is

Follow every step in real-time with unlimited range. Get alerts if they wander too far. Keep them happy & healthy with Wellness Monitoring. And let others – like walkers or sitters – keep an eye on your dog too.

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Curious about the most dog-friendly cities in the world? Here’s a short, sweet video to help you plan your next move or vacation:

And if you’ve liked this post, share it with a friend or a loved one – and let’s help build a safer, kinder world for our furry friends together.