Sunday, June 6, 2010

Country Dog Meets Big City

The road trip Niko and I took was to Brooklyn, NY.  Although he stayed at a kennel for a night in Queens a few weeks prior to this, he didn't really have a chance to explore the city.  So this was Niko's first real experience in a big city.  I was a bit apprehensive going on this trip with Niko. Mainly because he is used to living in a rural area where there are lots of greenery and it is less populated.  With his history of running off and independent nature, I was extra cautious in making sure he was leashed up properly with his harness and there was no way he can get loose.

The stay in Brooklyn was an eye opener for Niko. It overwhelmed him and he was a different dog.  He was very shy around new people and cautious on our walks.  The poor thing didn't know how to go to the bathroom on pavement! I took every opportunity I had to take him on walks.  The closest patch of grass (about a square foot) was 2 long blocks away. As soon as we get to grass, he did his business. It's funny to see how programmed his mind is.

The first night when I took him out for a walk, I envisioned what it was like to be Niko or someone being in NYC for the first time. I experienced it with him and noted all the stimulus he is not used to. Typically, at 9pm back home, we see stars, an occasional car driving by, and we hear the sound crickets. In Brooklyn, even though it was 9pm, there were people walking about, buses humming along, cars whizzing by, kids up to know good at the street corner, and in the distance, the subway train chugging along the tracks.  I took it slow and didn't force Niko into anything he wasn't comfortable with. When he stopped and refused to go in one direction for whatever reason, I'd go in a different direction.  There was so many new scents for him to sniff too. What's interesting is after one walk, he was able to sniff out the door to the apartment we were staying at. Every time we came near it, he'd pull to go towards the door as if he was telling me "OK, I've had enough for one walk, I need to process all the new things I just saw."  Niko is no city-savvy dog like Shio!
A nice walk along Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach Dog Run/Park.

There were some major positives that came out of this trip.  I introduced Niko to my family and he was well received.  Niko was clingy and protective of me. Not once did I have to worry he would run off. Being in a new environment made him stay very close to me and it was nice to be that safety zone for him.  Also, Niko and I went to a dog park for the very first time. We actually went to 2 different ones and it made me wish we had one in our neighborhood.  It's a great and affordable way to socialize your dog with other dogs and run out their energy.  Overall, this experience was another one that helped Niko be a well rounded dog, working towards the goal of socializing him to new things.  It was fun and exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.

When we arrived  home, Niko was back to his old self in no time.  He rolled around in the grass and sat peacefully in his usual spot in the backyard observing the quiet simple life of the country.


  1. Awww Niko... You are absolutely right - there's nothing sweeter than home! Glad to hear you had an exciting vacation, and an even sweeter home coming.

  2. I loooove this little sweet story especially because I am a country boy who has been living in Big Apple. Also reminded me of one of Flannery O'Conner's short stories.
    Sure some Shiba are city slickers, but they were originally from very very rural area. So Niko should be just the way he is!

  3. Niko was born on an Amish farm and in the first few weeks of his life, he frolicked with his litter mates in a barn and was out in the fields a lot. I'm not familiar with Flannery O'Conner but I'm always looking for literary suggestions. Thanks!

    I'm a city slicker turned boonie. This reminded me of the Aesop fable, "The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse."

    Thanks for the comments.

  4. Wow what a visit to da city for the little guy. I like how you recognized the differences between walks in surburbia with walks in Brooklyn, and how cool he was so protective of you.

  5. Big city, little Shiba! He did wonderfully for his first city trip... and so did you!

    Hope you had a great time in BK - lots of dogs out there for Niko to play and socialize with!

    Thanks for the shout!