Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Yard Dogs" Become a Neighborhood Nuisance

"Yard dogs" are confined to a back yard without socialization or training. They become super territorial and spend their days barking at neighbors and passers by. When they get out, they usually bite.

Why do people who obviously don't give a darn for the dog, get a dog in the first place? They get a dog, dump it in their yard and then the animal gets dumped in a shelter when the dog is sick or has behavior problems from neglect. Dogs left alone in the yard for long periods of time often get bored, lonely and frustrated. They also can become fearful or aggressive. As a result, they may dig or bark excessively. Some people believe that because the dog is outside, it gets plenty of exercise. These dogs spend their days lying by the back door, waiting for "their people" to either let them in or come out and play with them. Dogs need exercise everyday, they need to be taken for a walk or play a game of fetch.

Make your dog part of the family. Dogs are happier, healthier and safer when they can be indoors with their people the majority of the time. Dogs are pack animals, we are their pack. They need to be social just like we do. Dogs that spend time with their owners and feel attached to them are more likely to be protective of "their family".

If you must leave your dog outdoors, unsupervised for extended periods of time, please provide him with the following: Fresh food and water every day. An insulated shelter with a wind-proof opening. Shade in the summertime. Some dogs cannot tolerate heat or cold. In winter, you'll need a heated water bowl to keep the water from freezing and in summer a tip-proof bowl so your dog won't tip the bowl over. Interactive play time daily. A daily walk. An escape-proof fence with a locked gate. Busy toys.

Most dogs do enjoy spending time outdoors, but the time dogs spend alone outdoors must be balanced with quality time with "their people". With a little time and training, dogs can learn to be well-behaved around people and can come to respect the house rules. They can then be left inside alone without cause for worry and be trusted companions and members of the family.