Brought to you by Gatsby the Weimaraner:
Before you start exploring the dog-friendly side of Chicago with me, it's very important that you understand the rules for being a good canine citizen in Chicago as well as general guidelines for doggie etiquette you must share with your human.
Rule #1: Get your license! I've observed how humans become so excited to get their licenses, but yet they don't seem to care about our licenses. Why is this? Maybe they're jealous that we can get our license at 4 months old instead of waiting until we're 16 years old? Whatever the reason, a dog license provides us with many benefits, and it helps our canine buddies who are in need. If your human hasn't gotten you your license yet, then it's time you make it clear to him how much you want it. For the rebels in the crowd, check out the benefits of dog registration posted for our humans by the Chicago City Clerk:
Benefits of Registering Your Dog
- A portion of the money from registration fees adds to City funds directed to Animal Care & Control
- Your dog’s registration tag assists in finding your lost pet. The person who finds your dog simply calls our office at 312-744-DOGS with your registration number (on your dog’s tag). We then help reunite you with your lost pet.
- Your dog must be registered with the city when taking it to an animal care facility that boards or provides dog daycare services.
- Dog registration is used to obtain your required permit to enter Chicago Park District dog-friendly areas. Permits to enter these areas are available at participating vet offices.
Let me translate that into dog for you:
- Animal Care & Control will have more money to provide our lost canine buddies with even better healthcare while lowering and possibly eliminating the need for euthanasia in Chicago.
- If you get lost, you're more likely to find your way home.
- You have more options for social time at daycares, boarding facilities and dog parks (additional permit is required for dog parks).
It's so simple to get your license. No written test, no eye exam, no birth certificate or social security card. All you need is a valid Rabies vaccination and $5 (or $50 if your human refuses to get you spayed or neutered, but we'll talk about that later). Once you have that, drag your human to the computer and tell them to register you online If they refuse, just start destroying their shoes one by one...
BONUS! The City Clerk's office is holding a Dog of Distinctioncompetition if you register before March 31st! The Grand Prize includes:
- Custom-designed Chicago dog tag with real rubies and topazes created by Sherry Bender of famed The Goldsmith, Ltd jewelers, valued at $2,000.
- Appearance in a 'WCIU, The U' TV ad
- Weekend stay at the Palmer House Hilton
- Photo shoot at Urban Out Sitters
- Feature story in Chicagoland Tails magazine
Rule #2: Obtain a permit for the Chicago Park District Dog-Friendly Areas if you plan to use them. This permit only costs $5 and can be purchased at most local veterinary offices. Visit the Chicago Park District's Website for more information about rules, locations, and answers to FAQ's about Chicago's dog-friendly areas.
Rule #3: Make sure your human picks up your poop!!!! I can't stress this enough because, although I often enjoy sniffing out poop left behind, I'm not a fan of zoonotic diseases like Giardia and Roundworm. Gross! If your human thinks it only affects us canines, be sure to let them know that most of the zoonotic diseases that can be found in our poop can also infect humans, and I'm sure your human isn't a fan of cleaning poop off the bottom of his shoe either.
Does your human always act like they forgot poop bags at home? Drag them to the nearest street corner because there's sure to be tons of free newspaper publications they can use as an alternative. And if they claim plastic bags are cruel to the environment, tell them to check out the 100% biodgradeable poop bags Get Pet sells that even smell like lavender. The bottom line: No excuses! Pick up the poop!
If you choose to not play by any of these 3 simple rules, tell your human to be prepared for fines ranging from $200 to $500!
Ok, now you know the basic rules, it's time for a short lesson in doggie etiquette for city dogs.
- If you want to go for a ride in a taxi cab, either ride on the floor or make sure your human brings along a towel to protect the seat or wipes to clean the seat after you get out.
- If you plan to hang out at a dog-friendly bar or restaurant patio, keep your voice down and mind your own business. There's nothing more annoying to anti-dog humans than a dog who can't stop barking or putting his nose where it doesn't belong. When you misbehave, it ruins it for all of us canines because it risks making that dog-friendly business stop allowing dogs when they receive too many complaints or lose customers.
- Four on the floor. Kyle tells me that school teachers use this rule for juvenile humans regarding their chairs, but it equally applies to us. Don't jump on people on the street, and although your human might think it's cute, insist that you stay on the ground in public places. Chairs were designed for humans not dogs, and tables were most certainly not designed for humans or dogs to climb upon.
- If you must lift your leg, keep it away from building entrances, potted plants and raised planters with signs that clearly state "No dogs allowed." There are thousands of miles of sidewalk from which I'm sure you can choose a more appropriate bathroom stop.
- Wear your leash at all times. Just because you're a well-behaved pooch, you can still scare someone by running up to them unattended.
If you're having trouble learning proper etiquette, then please contact a certified dog trainer. If you need a recommendation, ask me and I'll put you in touch with someone. As a large dog I already get nasty looks when I enter some dog-friendly places because people expect I'm going to be a problem. In reality, we all know I'm perfect, but please help me change the stigma that's been created for dogs. Most humans think we are noisy, smelly, dirty and don't know how to behave. When we start proving them wrong, then we can start fighting to make even more places dog friendly.
I realize a lot of this depends on being able to convince your human to follow the rules with you. If you're having trouble with that because they insist on ignoring your bad behavior or treating you like a human, please tell them to read my post "What Dogs Really Want from Humans" Lastly, let them know that Kyle is on a mission to get Chicago back to the top of the list for most dog-friendly city in the United States. He is actually planning to take pictures and videos of dogs and humans behaving badly to share on Twitter and other places on the internet. He told me he thinks that embarrassing the dogs who are misbehaving will result in a higher standard of accountability so that we can all continue on a path toward progress. I agree with him.
In conclusion, I would like to add a big thank you to those of my readers who are already abiding by the rules and practicing good doggie etiquette. If you're not already Good Citizen Canine certified with the American Kennel Club, you should really check it out; it's a great program for us well-behaved dogs to show the world we care.