Dogs in the Yard
Comments about freedom in the yard when dogs aren’t
Dogs that are either left outside or have access to outside when you are not
home or aren’t supervised are at the whim of things out of your control.
Dogs will be dogs, and barking, digging, fence climbing, chewing inappropriate
items, etc, are all normal dog behaviors. The problem is, these things can be
irritating to us and more importantly, people around us - not to mention, can be
dangerous to or for your dogs!
By letting your dogs in the yard when you are
not supervising, I can envision numerous scenarios:
Your dogs bark “too much”, and your neighbor on the next
street, who works afternoons or midnights, cannot sleep. He may “take matters
into his own hands” by taking your dogs to the shelter/pound one day when you
are not home. Or, you will find yourself with tickets for public disturbances,
or slapped with a lawsuit by the neighbor. Or, that same neighbor will slip
your dogs some antifreeze, which will kill them quickly. In the subdivision I
lived before I moved to the country I had a neighbor behind me who let their
(Sheltie) dog out for long periods and never corrected the barking (shelties
are awful barkers!). This dog would bark at butterflies, cars going by, bikes,
other dogs, and imaginary intruders! It drove me crazy!
Your dogs dig under the fence, trying to either get a “toy”
in the neighbors’ yard, go after a squirrel, or just “escape”, and either
disappear or are hit by a car.
Dogs adept at fence jumping can easily to jump into your yard and interact
or fight with your dogs or possibly pass fleas, worms, or contagious
diseases. Cats can come and go at will.
Gates that are not padlocked are a welcome invitation to anyone. The
meter-reader can inadvertently leave the gate ajar or mace your dogs if he
perceives a threat. Kids can help themselves to your yard and your dogs at any
time (and if one of those kids claims to have been bitten by one of your dogs
it doesn’t matter that the dogs were in your yard, the kids were trespassing
OR that they may not have actually been bitten by the dog).
People are at liberty to harass your dogs. A long time ago, I had one
dog who I let out in the yard while I slept (I worked afternoons). I was
unaware the kid next door would throw sticks at my dog, and later threw
firecrackers at her. When I discovered this, I never let her outside
without my supervision, but she was never the same about loud noises (thunder
or firecrackers) OR ten year old boys! A friend of mine caught the
neighbor kids throwing rocks at her dog after climbing onto the roof of their
garage. Kids will be kids!
And, sometimes, adults will be kids, too!
The bottom line is that unsupervised dogs can become nuisances to your
neighbors. Even I, who LOVES dogs, don’t appreciate nuisance barking or
other out-of-control dog behavior that will interfere with my dogs or my
Pam Young, LVT
Dog Gone Good LLC
Dog Behavior Consultant
Personal Dog Trainer