Introduction: How to Be a Good Dog-Owner in San Francisco


Need a best friend? Maybe you need a dog.

Already have a dog? Maybe you need a few tips on how to be a better dog-owner in San Francisco.

To do this Instructable you will need:

-a dog, of course
-a leash
-dog poop bags

This is an item on the Neighbors Project Check List.

Check out more stuff by me, Casey, at my website: www.telephoneandsoup.com

Step 1: CHOOSING YOUR DOG


When choosing your dog, it's important to keep in mind what kind of space you live in. For example, if you have a one room studio where your bed also serves as your dining room table and you do your dishes in the bathtub, a Great Dane would not be your best option. If you have a roommate that's allergic to them or live in a building that doesn't allow pets, then (surprise!) don't get one at all. Birds, reptiles, and rodents are often acceptable pet alternatives to both situations. If you're really desperate for some dog love, volunteer at your local animal shelter.

Also keep in mind your available time. Remember when you were little and you begged your parents for that dog and promised you would feed it and walk it all the time and then once it got to be older than a puppy and you got more homework and more friends your parents had to start taking care of it? Well, unless you still live with them, there's not going to be anyone else to take responsibility. And it will be your--and only your--room covered in dog poop. So, be realistic about how much time you can devote to training and entertaining your new fuzzy friend.

Step 2: YOUR DOG AT HOME


Now that you have found a suitable dog, TRAIN IT. There's not a neighbor out there who enjoys a dog that barks day and night (putting it in the back yard where you can't hear it but the rest of us can does NOT count as quieting it down), jumps all over people, and leaves certain treasures in the flowers. There are TONS of How-To tools out there to help you out.

If your dog is a barker or howler, your neighbors will probably soon feel like they've gotten to know too much about your little cutie. The best way to avoid creating drama with your neighbors is to a) train your dog to have an indoor voice and b) to get to know your neighbors so that you can all talk civilly about any noise problems. This means saying hi to your neighbors, holding doors open for them on occasion, etc.

Similarly, though you may know that your dog is kinder than Mother Theresa and less violent than Ghandi, don't assume that your neighbors want her/him in their face. Keep your dog leashed and out of the way of neighbors until they get to know her/him better. They'll probably begin approaching your dog on their own soon enough. But some neighbors may never want to touch your dog, and it will make your life easier if you respect their boundaries. Don't take it personally; but do be respectful.

Step 3: YOUR DOG ON a WALK: THE BASICS


The NUMBER ONE RULE of being a good San Francisco dog-owner on a walk is PICK UP THE POOP. It may seem obvious enough, but those stray piles on the street are clear signs that some us aren't listening. So when you go on a walk, always bring a plastic bag. Stash them in your coat pockets, or if you're the forgetful type, pick up one of those handy leashes that has a bag dispenser attached. (Check out "Bags on Board" to start.)

Other bare minimum rules include:

-Keep your dog leashed where it is legally required to do so. Again, though you may know that your dog is a big ole Mrs. Softee, a good number of people on the street don't want to chance that she's not, or have to deal with a dog rubbing on or sniffing them.

-When your dog is unleashed in an acceptable area, keep an eye on it for its own safety.

-License your dog-- it's the law! You can do it online. Collar you dog with your phone-number too, so if it chases that squirrel into the next neighborhood, someone will be able to return it to you easily.

-Vaccinate your dog appropriately. (Contact your vet for all that info.)

-And of course-- talk to your neighbors when you're on the walk. Make new dog owning friends, or new dog loving-but-not-owning friends.

Step 4: YOUR DOG ON a WALK: ADVANCED


Those are the basics. There are of course, other ways to enhance your dog-owner experience:

Get to know the other dog owners (and dogs) in your building or on your street. Put up a flyer, or stop to talk with fellow dog-walkers you run into around your place. Some neighborhoods even have dog owner associations, like Duboce Dog for example. These are all people you can trade tales, tricks, and tips with. And much like you, dogs are social animals-- so help yours make a few friends. David Troup, head of Duboce Dog, says: "In my neighborhood, we formed a dog owners' group and managed to get a great new off-leash area in our neighborhood park. I think people's involvement in the group gives them a sense of community and ownership of "our" park, and as a result, everyone takes better care of it and everyone gets a nicer park to enjoy." He also points out that, it's especially useful for new dog "parents."

Beyond your neighborhood, you can check out dog friendly hot spots. Parks are a great place to start (try Duboce or Buena Vista). Some restaurants, cafes and bars allow dogs to socialize along with their owners. Check out www.dogfriendly.com or www.sfdog.org for a bunch of listings. Some places might surprise you. (Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus? Really?)

And don't forget that this is San Francisco-- a city of many outdoor attractions, beyond just parks. Get your furry friend out of the house and on a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, or to one of the many beaches (try Baker, Fort Funston, or Ocean Beach). And whenever you think it's too cold or rainy to head out, just remember your dog-owning friends in Minnesota, or all of Canada for Pete's sake. If they can bundle up and do it, you can surely put on your flip-flops and brave the 65 degrees.

Step 5: YOUR DOG ON a WALK: THE EXPERT


Really it's quite easy to be an expert dog-owner. So far all you've really had to do is pick up some poop and say hello to other people with dogs while you take yours out on a walk or for a beer. To really up your dog-owner game, try the following:

-Walk your friend's/neighbor's dogs.
Yes, I said it. It sounds outrageous at first, but really it's quite easy. If you're going to take your dog for an afternoon in Golden Gate Park, why not call up your neighbor and ask if her/his pup would like to come along too?

-Bring your dog to a Giants' game.
Once a year, Giants fans are allowed to bring their dogs with them to the games. Get one of those $5 hot-dogs for your hot dog and sign them up for the pre-game parade on the field. (See the Giants official website for more details.)

-Go to the Bark and Wine Ball
CLAW (Critter Lovers at Work) hosts a benefit ball where you and your dog can dance the night away and enjoy a full bar and buffet, all while raising money for animal shelters.

-Check out Pugs in the Park
At around 2:30 on the first Sunday each month, pugs (and their much larger owners) gather at Alta Plaza Park (in Pacific Heights) to all run around huff loudly together. The optional-yet-appreciated costumes are hilarious to say the least.

-Take your dog on the MUNI
Why not let them enjoy a cable car ride up the hill? Check out my other Instructable for all the details.

-Cruise dog blogs
Start with Dog Blog which features pictures of dogs tied to things and imaginative commentary. Or try this one, aptly named "Halloween Pet Costumes (a.k.a. Why Dogs Bite People)".

-Do good with your dog
Visit the elderly in your neighborhood, or bring some canine love to the children's ward of a hospital. There are plenty of groups out there that can teach you about volunteer opportunities for you and your pet. Try The Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc., Therapy Dogs International, Inc., or Delta Society.

Step 6: HELP IMPROVE NEIGHBORHOOD-FRIENDLY DOG INFRASTRUCTURE


Though leading by example is great, you can help other dog owners pick up canine emissions by putting up a plastic bag dispenser near your home or in a well-traveled public space (and fill it with the bags you can't seem to avoid collecting from stores). If you're a renter, ask your landlord about putting one up. Or reach out to the local neighborhood association or dog owners' group in your neighborhood for advice and help.

Similarly, you may find that your neighborhood is in need of a dog run so that your loved one and her/his friends can frolic and play. Work with your new neighborhood dog friends and/or the neighborhood association to find a place that serves both dog-owners and non-dog owners. Be careful that you don't end up taking space away from some other established neighborhood group or need; your dogs will become a lightning rod for controversy instead of a great way to bring all kinds of people together.

Finally, encourage neighborhood stores to put out water and/or bone dishes for dogs during the day. It helps attract more customers for the store (the dogs will literally pull people to the store to get at that water), and makes a walk even easier for you and your little friend.

Comments

author
jdege made it!(author)2008-06-10

Use some caution when getting info from HSUS - they are primarily a fund-raising scam, trading on people who confuse them with ASPCA and the myriad local Humane Societies that are running shelters all over the country. HSUS runs no shelters, and provides funding for no shelters.

author
farfl made it!(author)2014-05-03

The HSUS is not a shelter, their funding goes for legislative work that is critical to getting humane laws passed to end the abuse of animals.

author
msminnamouse made it!(author)2012-08-21

I train my dogs to use their "indoor bark".

author
p0g068 made it!(author)2009-10-13

 my pooches and I thank you for your instructable! your writing is very entertaining 

author
%3DSMART%3D made it!(author)2008-06-11

This is my dog

IMG_2106.JPGIMG_2381.JPGIMG_2384.JPG
author
Sunny124613 made it!(author)2008-07-17

Raelly nice dog! he(or she) looks like some sort of bloodhound?

author
%3DSMART%3D made it!(author)2008-07-17

Thanks :P its a she, she's called maple and she's a Hungarian Visla its a sort of gun dog, very athletic

author
Sunny124613 made it!(author)2008-07-17

Oh wow is she rare?

author
ksoutherland made it!(author)2008-09-25

This is our Vizsla who follows the known trait of being very attached to her people. She is extremely intelligent...maybe too much so! The first pic is at 7 weeks when she came home with us. The second was taken to remind us how small she was (3 months)and the last at 5 months.

Confusion.JPGI am little.JPGI am proud.JPG
author
%3DSMART%3D made it!(author)2009-09-19

Awww, yea my dog is attached to us too, they are a very intelligent breed ! Say hello to her for me !

author
Sunny124613 made it!(author)2008-09-30

oooh! shes a cutee! my dog is a jack russell!her name is skippy

author
%3DSMART%3D made it!(author)2008-07-17

she was a very expensive puppy yea lol, worth it though she's a fantastic dog and arguably my best friend however sad that is lol

author
Sunny124613 made it!(author)2008-07-17

I do not think that is sad, I think it is unusual
but my dog is my best BEST friend!

author
%3DSMART%3D made it!(author)2008-07-17

i have normal best friends but i like the fact she cant talk and she appreciates everything you do for her

author
Sunny124613 made it!(author)2008-07-17

Yeah my dog appreciates me by slobbering my face up and then peeing on my bed. And I have friends too

author
%3DSMART%3D made it!(author)2008-07-17

Haha my dog licks my face too

author
Sunny124613 made it!(author)2008-07-17

funny

author
Sunny124613 made it!(author)2008-07-17

Also I think that she is really pretty!

author
Marina+Coblentz made it!(author)2009-09-19

He is beautiful. The cap fits very well, but the sunglasses don't (a bit too wide).

author
idogis1 made it!(author)2009-03-07

My dog really isn't that violent, but my dad is cheap and never had a fence installed a fence. So when I let her out to poo she wanders. She never caused any problems, just kinda wanders around. There are also a lot of aggressive dogs in my neighborhood that people let out all day, no leash no fence. So I have two questions. How do I train my dog not to wander out of the yard and how do I handle the aggressive dogs, some of which will come up and bite my dog?

author
get+to+da+parakeet made it!(author)2008-10-01

this is my dog testing out his new bowl

P8030011.AVI
author
Sunny124613 made it!(author)2008-07-17

I also have a dog called Skippy(or Skipster and DJ Skip) heehee

author
ilovedobermans made it!(author)2008-06-07

Hi, reposting my comment from a few pages ago, I didn't realize it was only on the ONE area! Jun 7, 2008. 10:45 PMilovedobermanssays: Adding in my $5, (hey, inflation, y'know!) on being a good dog owner, think about having your dog in your home at night. Crate train, or a doggy bed. Usually dogs don't need to go out at night, and will be quiet. Well, I never heard anyone complain, and I know LOTS of dog owners. Now you don't have to worry about your dog barking at night! PS If you dog does make noise, check it out. There may even be a reason! Voice of experience. Usually with my dobies I ask "What is it?" Open the door, ask out "Hello?" Then thank my dog like "Oh, good boy, Buddy! Thank you!" And they are very happy, having done their duty, and content that you checked it out. PPS If you think your dog is there for "protection", the dog won't guard what isn't his, ie the backyard is his property, and what good does it do you if a) you ignore his concerns and yell "shut up!" and b) the burglar gets in the house and the dog can't? Thank you for reading this, I hope I made sense! "Whoever says money can't buy love has never cuddled up to their own loving snuggly dobie!"

author
ilovedobermans made it!(author)2008-06-08

The HSUS loads of information, and one I like is about the use of a Head Halter.hsus.org
Try this!

author
ilovedobermans made it!(author)2008-06-07

Adding in my $5, (hey, inflation, y'know!) on being a good dog owner, think about having your dog in your home at night. Crate train, or a doggy bed. Usually dogs don't need to go out at night, and will be quiet. Well, I never heard anyone complain, and I know LOTS of dog owners. Now you don't have to worry about your dog barking at night! PS If you dog does make noise, check it out. There may even be a reason! Voice of experience. Usually with my dobies I ask "What is it?" Open the door, ask out "Hello?" Then thank my dog like "Oh, good boy, Buddy! Thank you!" And they are very happy, having done their duty, and content that you checked it out. PPS If you think your dog is there for "protection", the dog won't guard what isn't his, ie the backyard is his property, and what good does it do you if a) you ignore his concerns and yell "shut up!" and b) the burglar gets in the house and the dog can't? Thank you for reading this, I hope I made sense! "Whoever says money can't buy love has never cuddled up to their own loving snuggly dobie!"

author
incorrigible+packrat made it!(author)2008-04-30

Wow! A responsible dog owner? There's a rare breed, indeed. Although, I suppose, evidence of those less responsible dog owners is much more visible, audible, and olfactorily challenging... That tends to overshadow the efforts of the responsible ones, at least it does, to my perspective.

author
joejoerowley made it!(author)2008-04-30

Cool! Great Instructable! Very Nice Guide! Thanks Joe

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