Stress Symphony: Harmonizing city living with canine well-being!

Urban environments are packed with an abundance of different sights, sounds and smells all at once. This could be overwhelming for our furry friends as their senses are highly developed and sensitive to external stimuli.


Living in a big city comes with an abundance of stimulus, and today, with the rapid growth of urbanisation, dogs are experiencing a sensory overload. Cases of reactivity are more prevalent in cities where dogs live in smaller spaces without adequate mental and physical stimulation and are unable to do what comes naturally to them.

Exposing our pets in the correct manner to city life from puppyhood is essential for them to cope in healthy ways.

The perks of early socialisation

Socialisation is the process of gradually exposing your pup to various new experiences – like different sights, sounds, smells, and physical handling. Socialisation must be done before the age of 6 months and in a controlled manner to ensure that your pup has plenty of positive experiences with different types of people and environments so that they can grow to be a well-adjusted pet without fears and phobias.

Holistic canine wellness with mental and physical stimulation

It is no secret that city dogs live in the confines of an apartment for hours at a time with no more than one to two walks a day. Lack of mental and physical stimulation causes pent-up energy and stress in pets. They will resort to destructive behaviour and may also develop behaviour issues without an appropriate outlet.

There are many ways to enrich your pet. Take the time out and play with them, take them for long walks where they can explore new environments, and let them engage their sense of smell in different ways. The more you prioritise their needs, the greater your relationship will be. Please remember that a mentally and physically stimulated dog is a happy dog.

Take a break from the concrete jungle

Taking occasional breaks from city life is great for us and our pets. Use this time to allow both yourself and your pet to unwind. Let them experience nature and open spaces.They need to be able to dig, run, chew, roll around, and exhibit naturally occurring behaviours.

Taking a break from triggering environments works wonders for reactive dogs as well. There are plenty of options like pet-friendly resorts, farm stays, and hiking trails that you and your furry friend can enjoy.

The best mantra – “Calm down and switch off’

We must ensure that our pets have enough time to rest deeply. A pet that is not getting adequate rest will have high stress levels. Discourage any interaction when your pet is sleeping and let them relax completely. You can put them in a dimly lit room with soothing ambient music in the background and gently massage them with some essential oils. This works wonders for stress. Giving your pet something to chew on is another great way to keep them calm and preoccupied. Chewing is a natural behaviour and acts as a de-stressor.

Pawsitive reinforcement training

Dogs crave structure and guidance, so starting training from a young age is essential. This helps with house-breaking and boundaries and acts as a form of mental and physical stimulation necessary for your pet’s well-being. Contact a positive reinforcement trainer as soon as you get your pup. They will be able to guide you in the right direction.

Enriching experiences with a canine behaviourist

If you notice signs of stress in your pet, like a sudden change in behaviour, appetite changes, reactivity, or aggression, please do not punish him. After ruling out any medical issues, please contact a behaviourist who can help you understand the situation and fix the problem.

We all want well-behaved, well-adjusted furry companions. Achieving this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes commitment and effort from our end to ensure that our pets live happy and healthy lives.

Citydogs have suppressed natural instincts. The least we could do is put in the time and energy to ensure their lives are enriched. Dogs are active, social animals and living in confinement with nothing to do is nothing short of punishment for them.

(Siya Kumar – Dog trainer at Nico Training, Mumbai)