Training dogs in the state of Illinois, can be difficult due to our frigid winters and humid summers. Whether you live in the rolling plains of farm country or are in the city of Chicago we have seen it all and know the different challenges that these places offer. Suburban K9 has been training dogs in Illinois since 2006 and knows all the tips and tricks that can help you work with and enjoy your dog year round. In addition we have great recommendations for everything from vets to groomers. If you ever need help with your dog we are here to help.
Socialization is extremely important. Living in the city your dog is going to see thousands of unique people and other dogs everyday. If they aren’t socialized properly at a young age it is going to make for a ton of work on your end to stop bad behaviors that have already formed. Our Socialization Article can help you with some great tips and tricks on how to properly socialize a dog. Some things you should think about in addition to what the article mentions are spending a large amount of time riding in the elevator with your dog (if your building has one). From our experience this is one of our clients’ largest headaches. Another thing that many people don’t think about is the large number of manholes, grates, and other odd surfaces that you might encounter on the city streets. It is important to ensure that your dog is comfortable on all of these surfaces, otherwise your walks will quickly become a challenge.
Exercise is also an important thing to plan for. Dog’s need to get out and do something and that can be tough in tight quarters. Some of our clients work very long hours and utilize a doggy daycare during the work week. On the weekends trips to the lakefront, parks, and even heading out to the suburbs should be high on your list.
This is our bread and butter, after all we are called Suburban K9! The suburbs provide a unique opportunity for living with your dog. Unlike the city you have the space to get your dog out and let them burn off some steam. We encourage that you find a hobby that both you and your dog enjoy. This could be as basic as hiking or as exciting as enrolling your dog in something like dock diving.
In the suburbs dog owners need to think about how wildlife can have an impact on their pet. If you own a smaller dog, coyotes and hawks are something that you need to make sure that you are protecting against. This may include fencing in your yard or taking your dog out on leash. There are some more creative options as well, including things like this Raptor Shield. Ticks are also a much bigger concern here than in the city. Make sure your dog is on a flea and tick medication and do frequent tick checks.
If you read the section on living in the city this is going to sound a little similar. Socialization of your dog is still extremely important, but your challenges are much different. In the country dogs don’t typically see many people or other dogs. This can lead to issues when they do encounter these things. It is a great practice to plan trips with your dog to more populated areas when they are young. This must be done during their Critical Socialization Window! Make a list of things that you expect your dog to see during their life and make sure that you get them to see all these things while they are still young.
It can be tough to get out of the house when it is snowy, windy and cold. Luckily there are many options for bonding with your pup indoors! One activity that we highly recommend is training your dog on scent work. This can be great fun for you and the dog, not to mention an awesome trick to show off to your friends.
We also recommend taking your dog to dog friendly stores during the winter. Two great options are Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas. They both allow dogs and have a lot of interesting things like fish ponds and waterfalls for your pup to enjoy. Another option is the Home Depot; the loud noises, carts and diversity of customers make it a great place to train and socialize.
The summer is the time in Illinois where we really need to get out and enjoy things. The heat and humidity can be a problem, so make sure that you keep your pup cool and hydrated. There are dog friendly beaches in the city where you can relax in the sand and Illinois has thousands of miles of paved and gravel trails throughout the city and suburbs. I recommend checking out the following: The 606 is a great alternative to the Lakefront trail with lots of hip spots to checkout along the route. Waterfall Glen is a unique spot not to far from the city that offers a nice “waterfall” for a brief stop along your walk. The Illinois Michigan Canal Trail is long and winds through many of the southwest suburbs, parts of the trail are paved and others are crushed gravel. In the northwest suburbs there is the Illinois Prairie Path which is always bustling with activity.
The biggest complaint that dog owners have with Spring in Illinois is MUD! If you aren’t lucky enough to have a mud room with a dog bath installed in it we recommend one of these paw cleaning stations. Your floors will thank us!