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Shazam in the City

We live in a condominium building in downtown Chicago, not a typical home for a border collie.  My husband, Gregg, was able to get Jan to keep it a secret from me that I was getting the “red boy” from the May 2007 Scandal/Edge litter. On June 26,2007 I got the surprise of my life when Gregg showed up with Shazam. 

Life as an urban dog is very different and city dogs get exposed to so many different things everyday of their lives. I knew it would be important for him to have reliable basic behaviors (like sitting calmly in an elevator, walking nicely on a leash through crowded city sidewalks, holding a sit stay waiting to cross a busy street, being well-behaved at sidewalk cafes and in stores, etc) regardless of the distractions going on around him. And in a city there are tons of distractions.

Sights and sounds in the city can be scary and overwhelming too.  For example, we live right near the elevated train tracks and we walk under the very loud train tracks on our daily walks.  I taught Shazam from the time he as a puppy that the sound of the train is a cue to tug.  He gets so excited when he hears “his train” and he has never been afraid of it.

We started running together when he was 2 years old. I taught him the cues “go straight” and “pace” because in the beginning he wanted to herd me.  On a run we can see speeding bicycles, loud motorcycles, other runners, walkers, strollers, kids, geese, rollerbladers, scooters, people on segway tours, emergency vehicles w/ loud sirens, street cleaning trucks, city buses and the frequent barking, lunging dog.  We run all over the city- down Michigan Ave, around Navy Pier and other city landmarks and on the usually crowded lakefront path.   Shazam is an amazing running partner-he always stays at my side or slightly behind me. He taught himself to adjust his position depending on how crowded it is around us. He is a pro at weaving through crowed streets, staying focused and right by my side.  There isn’t a run that I don’t get a compliment on how well behaved he is, how sweet he is and of course how handsome he is.  The people that know about border collies are impressed at how well adjusted he is to life in a big city.

My original motivation to run with him was to exercise him and spend time with him. We started running further and further. This past summer he trained me for my 4th Half Marathon. 

We run all year long, except if the wind chill is negative (yes that happens here). In the summer we get up extra early to run before it gets too hot.  I think my most relaxing time of day is our runs together (from the big smile on his face during runs, I think it his too)

Shazam is a true Chicago dog. He is a huge Blackhawks and White Sox fan and LOVES watching sports on tv.  His favorite food is deep-dish pizza.

Shazam is a great obedience partner, earning his CDX and U-CDX with high scores and several HIT’s.  We are working on Utility. He has taught me so much on our journey together.  Michelle Schwartz

Thank you Jan for trusting us with “red boy” and sending him to live in the city.

This handsome red and white son of Edge and Scandal grew up to be...