If you live in NYC, then you are familiar with the term “PLEASE CURB YOUR DOG”. It’s printed on little signs and placed on many of the tree beds that line the residential streets of the city. Many homeowners consider the sidewalk in front of their buildings to be part of their home. They can be seen sweeping it or hosing it down. They are in fact responsible for cleaning the snow and ice from it and can face penalties if it is not shoveled and salted in a timely fashion. It shocks me however at how few people actually know what it means to curb your dog. Very simply it means don’t let your dog urinate or defecate in the middle of the sidewalk, on trees and plants or on stoops and buildings. It means bring your dog to the curb to do his business in the street. It always irritates me to see a big smear of doggie diarrhea that someone attempted to pick up but was only able to finger-paint the sidewalk with. Especially when I am wheeling my daughters’ baby carriage and have to wiggle around other pedestrians who are also trying to avoid the despicable specimen. Even worse are “professional” dog walkers who are chatting on their phone while the dogs in their care are peeing on a neighbors stoop.
The very simple and practical solution to this issue is to teach your dog to go in the street next to the curb. We all pay taxes, and play parking ticket roulette with alternate side parking so that the streets can be cleaned. Let the street sweeper worry about the smeared poo. When you are first training your dog (puppy or adult) to eliminate outside, consistently take them to the curb area and reward them when they hit their mark. You will find that in no time they are pulling you over to the street to do their business. Even if your dog already has the habit of doing its business wherever it is when the mood strikes, he or she can learn in no time that the curb is the place to go. Remember it’s your job to teach your dog about living in a human environment. Teaching him were the bathroom is, is a good place to start. Not curbing our dogs or worse, not picking up after them at all, will lead to stricter restrictions on where dogs can be including dog friendly apartments, off leash hours in parks and out door cafes. So, be a responsible dog owner and a good neighbor. It’s all part of living happily in NYC.