Chicago is just an amazing city in summer. People are out and about enjoying the beautiful weather summer has to offer. Dog walkers are also out and about giving our furry friends a chance to enjoy the fresh outdoors as well.
Dog walkers in Chicago have a tough job. They have to maneuver through the busy streets with an excited dog, or dogs, that just want to tell everyone he comes in contact with what’s on his mind. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same love of dogs that we do and a brief encounter on a sidewalk won’t convert them.
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There are potential risks and dangers that professional dog walkers in Chicago face every day and have to minimize constantly on every walk. There are other dogs that may not be as well behaved as the dog in their care. This can be especially problematic because once one dog starts the barking and snarling it seems dogs everywhere start doing the same. There are also cars. Cars can be menacing to a dog, especially when they are being walked on a sidewalk up close and personal with each passing car. And the dreaded FedEx truck. There must be something in the FedEx color scheme that just drives dog’s nuts! But most likely it is the sounds and the movement of the vehicles that actually scare a dog and that can create stress and anxiety for them.
Professional dog walkers have to constantly be proactive to these risks and properly manage the behavior these obstacles create. They must minimize the impact by seeking a way out of the situation all while trying to maneuver the small pathway that is shared by everyone. Whether you are a dog owner or not, there a few things all of us can do to help out a fellow dog walker:
- Create some space:
When you see a professional dog walker, give up some space to allow them to pass. It goes a long way to ensure not only your safety, but theirs as well.
- Be Polite:
Acknowledge the job they are doing because it truly is hard work. Dogs are extremely perceptive of people and if you approach a dog walker because you like their dog, ask permission to approach the dog first. This minimizes the chance of aggression the dog may display. Remember, they are out of their environment and it may be a little stressful for them.
- Joggers come out of your zone:
Joggers (and even bicyclists) can be extremely hazardous to a dog walker. Dogs don’t understand the concept of jogging for fun. All they see is someone intently running up on them and they can’t differentiate between threat or not. If you happen to be jogging in the park and you see a professional dog walker, try and divert your path. It’s a lot easier for you to deviate than it is for them and it’s just a nice thing to do.
So the next time you are out along Lake Michigan or just lounging in Grant Park, give those hard working dog walkers some much needed respect. Their dogs will love you for it, and they will too!