London dog behaviourist and author of ‘Dog About Town‘, Louise Glazebrook on the wonderful – and downright weird – life of a London dog lover.
CHICKEN BONES and DRUG PACKETS
City living means wrestling chicken bones, drug packets, and all sort of other unsavoury things out of a dog’s mouth can be a daily chore. Teaching your dog the ‘drop’ command – and being armed with an emergency treat that’s even more tasty and smelly than the creepy thing they’ve just picked up – will get you out of most sticky situations. An old Mini Babybel usually does the trick. Cooked chicken bones aren’t good – they can splinter and injure your dog. If you think your dog has swallowed something it shouldn’t – especially chocolate or raisins – get to the vet’s, ASAP.
DOGS ON WHEELS
Most Londoners don’t have a car, so your dog will need to use the bus, tube and trains. Which means that if your dog is going to accompany you on trips you need to get them used to using these modes of transport. If you have a puppy it is key that you start this process from eight weeks onwards. If you have a rescue dog then you may need to test the ground to see how much your dog can handle before working out a program to teach them, unless the rescue centre you got them from can shed any light on their previous experiences. Do not take for granted that all dogs enjoy using public transport, it’s not always as easy as you might think.
Having a well-trained dog is a must, and it’s your duty to make sure other Londoners (especially the ones who don’t like dogs) feel safe and happy, too. This means cleaning up after your dog, tucking them under your legs when on the bus, not allowing your dog to snatch picnics or jump up at people. Living with and owning a dog in London can be amazing with so many great spaces, distractions and things to do. Just don’t underestimate how stimulating and tiring it can all be too. Invest in that big bed for them to fall into at the end of a long London day.
THE THINGS YOU SEE
Having a dog means you’ll be out and about at all times of the day, from the brisk morning walk to the late night toilet stop. My clients and I have spotted all sorts of London life as we walk and play with our dogs, from the heart-warming to the just plain weird. Have you seen anything similar to these?
1. A woman knelt down squatting trying to encourage her puppy to pee.
2. The look on my dog’s face when he interrupted a couple in a bush on Primrose Hill.
3. Looking down to find the dog you are working with has a condom stuck on his leg like grandma’s stocking.
4. Your client freaking out and jumping in a lake because they don’t believe their dog can swim on its own.
5. Your dog interrupting a man having a mid-morning poo behind a tree on Hackney Downs.
Interview by Dan Jones