No more backyard dogs, spread the word

Its Friday morning and I'm going to get serious, I have always been and will always be completely against keeping a dog outdoors. Outdoors meaning that a dog lives outside of the home, not inside with the rest of the family. Wow it even has more impact to me when put like that "outside of your home." I don't mean dogs that are outside for the afternoon or the ones who are put outside while you are off doing your running around for a couple of hours. I'm talking about the dogs that live in a backyard, never coming in, never joining the pack and living a very sad and lonely life.

Some backyard dogs are dealt a double blow by being a tied dog as well. These dogs are left sitting alone, tied to some inanimate object so that they cannot wander off in search of a better life. There are also fenced dogs, those who are fenced into a backyard and those that live in a tiny "dog run." The term "dog run" is such a hugely incorrect use of the word. A dog that lives in a dog run will not be doing much running at all and if they are running it would be correctly labelled as behavior pacing. Most are about 4x6, some of the luckier dogs live in an expansive 4x8 or even 4x10 woohoo. So it is about these tied or fenced dogs that I am talking about.

In all of my years of training I have only been asked to work with about a dozen or so outdoor dogs and out of these I only agreed to work with a few. One was a rescue which should not have been placed with this family as they had no intention of living with the dog as a family member. I only agreed to work with these people because they were utterly clueless, they had never had a dog before and didn't know the first thing to do with this newly acquired item. So when I could I did my best selling act for this dog, I tried my hardest to work him into the home and family that he deserved and where he belonged.

The others were people who seemed to have a softspot that I could work on, there was something in our discussion that told me I could work this dog into the house. And out of the the few outside dogs that I did work with; they all became indoor/outdoor dogs which I call a success.

The way people think about dogs that have an outdoor dog is completely foreign and different from those of us who consider our dogs as family members. For most people who have an outside dog; a dog is a dog and dogs belong outdoors. Believe me, I've talked to alot of people who have outside dogs and they are just different. Some tell me "she loves being out there, she never wants to come in." Other have said "I can't imagine her inside, all the hair and my poor house." And I'm not shy about telling people that I do not believe in having dogs live outside which obviously puts a stick into our conversation. But I've planted a seed that will hopefully grow with time. Just perhaps that one tiny seed will persuade the "owner" to look at their dog differently.

I mean honestly, what is the point of getting a dog if you plan on throwing it into the backyard? I just don't get it? What is the satisfaction in that? Is it the pressure from society thinking that everyone should have a dog? If that is the case then shame on those people who give into pressure and do not hold up their end of the bargain. The backyard is no place for a dog to live out their life and I don't care what breed they are. So many breeders or breed fanciers will say "this is not a breed you can just put in the backyard." There is NO BREED OR MIX; regardless of size, coat or structure that should be sentenced to a backyard life.

I want all of you dog lovers to spread the word, do what you can for those who are less fortunate than your dogs. If you know of someone who wants a dog and is planning on having them live outside, speak up. I have told many people to spend the money that they have put aside for a dog on a beautiful new patio set instead. It takes self control, tact and alot of calm explaining to try to enlighten the people on adding a dog to the family correctly. And I always tell people that if they don't want the hair, don't want the chewing, peeing and pooping then don't get a dog. And the most important thing I can tell someone who feels this way? Is that it's okay to feel this way, it is a good thing to know that you don't want a dog. Just don't feel this way and then go ahead and get the dog that you really don't want.

One of the greatest moments in a puppy's life can be when they join their new family and start life as a member of the family. Yet one of the saddest moments in a puppy's life can be when they leave the caring and loving environment with their Mother and siblings to be placed in a yard to live out their life alone, all alone. Let's all do what we can do to make sure that doesn't happen quite so often.

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