- First home and all you can afford is a townhouse?
- Moving to a high-density subdivision?
- Relocating to a city environment?
- Down-sizing from the family home to a smaller section?
Don’t worry – none of these changes mean that you can’t own a dog! It’s about having good design and thinking ahead.
If you make pets a priority in your decision-making, you will be amazed at what good design can achieve in reducing the risk of unwanted behaviours that annoy neighbours and keep your dog safe.
For example, choosing a property with some outdoor space like a secure courtyard is important. Windows that allow the warmth of sunshine to power your new home but also allow your pet to observe its surroundings are also important.
The Petcare Information and Advisory Service in Australia has collaborated with an urban policy and design firm to come up with the Four Legs Four Walls design guidelines. An interesting read even if you are not building or relocating!
I went to a talk earlier this week by Stephen Jenkinson, who is visiting New Zealand from the UK. Stephen works as a consultant in the UK, with clients including kennel clubs and other agencies. His area of interest is how public authorities can help reduce conflict over dogs and dog ownership by providing adequate facilities and opportunities for dog owners to do the right thing.
This type of urban planning helps to make dog ownership easy. For example, you don’t have to drive across town to find an off-leash dog park because there will be dog exercise areas that are within walking distance. (This helps to reduce traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and conflict when dog owners take their dog off-lead in a ‘normal’ park or reserve.) Areas in larger recreational parks may be designated for use by dogs and their owners, thus keeping other tracks free for other users who do not want to play or engage with dogs. And there is a growing body of knowledge around design of dog-friendly accommodation such as apartments and condominiums.
Stephen feels that there is opportunity for the rebuild of Christchurch to do better for dogs, their owners, and all non-dog people. Sadly, no one from the Christchurch City Council, CERA, or Gerry Brownlee’s office participated in Mr Jenkinson’s public talk on Monday evening. That signals a lack of senior level buy-in and support for the concepts.
I’ll be doing more research on this topic over the coming weeks and months, but if you’d like to get a flavour for what Mr Jenkinson talked about, you can listen to him speak with Kim Hill on Radio NZ National.
Consultant Stephen Jenkinson with his Border Collie
Posted in dog care, dog ownership
Tagged CERA, Christchurch City Council, dog ownership, dog parks, dog-friendly design, Gerry Brownlee, Kim Hill, National, park access, parks, Radio NZ, Stephen Jenkinson