We’ve all experienced it, and in many neighborhoods you can hear more than one: the continuous, barking of a dog ignored and left in the backyard. Does he want out? Does he want food? It’s likely he just wants to be a part of his family. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. Some dog-owners think the best place for their dogs is outside, all the time.
Reasons vary, but in our opinion none of them are really all that good. Some dogs are left outside because they shed and their owners want to keep their houses clean. Other dogs are locked out because of destructive behavior or other bad behavior. And yet other dogs are left out in the cold because someone in the household is allergic to them.
Sadly, often dogs are left outside by dog-owners that aren’t putting enough effort into their pets. Whether they’re unwilling or unable to train and socialize their dogs, or whether they have unrealistic expectations of their dog’s behavior, some people find it easier to just keep their dogs outside.
But leaving a dog in the backyard can lead to a number of bad habits in dogs that might force the owner to want to give the dog away. Endless barking, destructive digging, chewing offurniture, hoses, sprinklers, and shrubs are some possibilities. Some dogs left outside extensively become aggressive or hostile.
Dogs are pack animals, and once they are welcomed into a family, humans become their pack.
We urge all pet-owners and would-be pet-owners to choose a dog that’s right for their lifestyle and can fit into their “pack.” If you want your house to be spick and span, for example, it’s not a good idea to get a German Shepherd or other dog that sheds heavily. If you don’t have time to train and exercise a big, energetic dog, look for a smaller, mellower breed. Most of all, if you’re not willing to welcome a dog into your family with open arms and open doors, it’s probably best to consider another pet. It’s not fair to the dog, and it’s not fair for you.
After all, we love dogs most of all for their companionship. You’re not going to get much joy out of a dog that spends all its time away from you.
If you currently have a dog that you’ve been keeping outside because of behavior problems, talk to your veterinarian or a behavioralist. If you’re keeping a dog outside because a member of your household is allergic, talk with an allergist. The best and happiest dogs are dogs that are a part of family.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.