Backyard Dogs

It is a widely held misconception that dogs will be happy and healthy living only in the back yard. Current studies in dog psychology indicate that dogs isolated in back yards are very likely to develop behavioral problems. Dogs are instinctively pack animals, and forcing a dog to live away from its humans goes against a dog’s most basic instincts. Isolated, a dog exhibits stress by digging, barking, chewing, escaping, and exhibiting troublesome problems.

Dogs need companionship. When you have a dog, you become the dog’s pack and he wants to be with his pack. Forcing her to live outside with little human companionship is one of the most damaging things a pet care giver can do to a dog. Backyard dogs do not develop strong bonds with humans, making him harder to train than a dog allowed to be in the home with the family. Back yard dogs usually do not have the opportunity to become socialized to people and other dogs, so they may become fearful or even aggressive.

Dogs that are tied up or chained outside suffer great frustration!. They also are unable to escape from other animals or people who mean to do them harm. They can also become entangled and do harm to themselves. Several states are finally enacting laws prohibiting tethering your dog for extended time. Unless people have time to spend with their dog, it is best to not get a dog. A sad, lonely, bewildered dog tied out back only suffers, and hopefully no one wants to maintain suffering.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A DOG TIED IN THE BACK YARD:

Early morning: I can see and hear people moving around in the house. I am hungry and thirsty. I tipped over my food and water bowls last night when I got tangled in my chain. The chain is too tight, and it is cutting into my neck.

8:15 A.M: the people in the house are all leaving. I try to run toward them with my tail wagging, hoping they will notice me, but my chain snaps me backward. It is no use.

8:15 A.M. -2:00 P.M. : I am not sure what I am supposed to do. I can’t protect the house from my short chain. I don’t have any toys to play with. Maybe if I bark, someone will show me what to do, or come to play with me, so I bark.

2:30: The animal control officer arrives and posts a notice on the door of the house. He looks at me and sadly shakes his head. Do I look bad? I know I’m dirty but it is hard to be clean when I’m always sitting in dirt. I pace in circles and bark because I don’t know what else to do.

3;15: The smallest person in the family comes home, but he doesn’t pay any attention. I go to the bathroom in the same place, the only place I can.

5:30: the rest of the people come home. One of them removes the notice left by the animal control officer and yells at me to stop barking. I pace back and forth, confused.

6:00 I am still hungry and thirsty. One of the people from the house comes out and fills my food and water bowls. I am so happy for this attention I jump up in excitement, spilling both bowls and dirtying his clothes. He yells at me that this behavior is one of the reasons no one wants anything to do with me.

8:00: Another lonely night. I am sad and bewildered. I dream about being on a chain because it’s all I know.

Be realistic. Making the backyard your dog’s home does not make him part of your family. Dogs offer steadfast devotion, abiding love, and joyful companionship, and unless you have the time and commitment to return them in kind, please do not get a dog.

 

Water Safety Tips for Dogs

Sharing water activities with your dog provides a wonderful bonding experience, and is a great way to beat the heat, but fun can quickly turn to disaster if you are not careful. Over 4,000 dogs drown every year! Some dogs are not good swimmers, and others simply do not like water, so it is important to consider the dog’s safety and comfort. Heat from the sun is more intense around water, so make sure he has shade… a dog’s sensitive ears and nose can get burned with too much exposure, and suffer from sunburn or heat stroke, and keep him off hot sand as it can blister paws.

If this is your dog’s first introduction to water, start slowly and be patient. Don’t assume he will automatically know how to swim. Let him approach the water and investigate in his own time. Never splash him, or force him to enter the water before he is ready, and never leave him unsupervised around water. Once his caution has turned to curiosity, try going in yourself, and gradually he should be confident enough to join you. If he isn’t interested in water activities, you need to respect his feelings. We have several kiddie pools at the TLC for the dogs to splash in…we assumed that they would jump right in to happily cool off…not so…most of our smaller residents right now simply do NOT like the water.

It might seem convenient to let your dog drink from the lake or the river, but this is not a good idea. Ponds and lakes may be contaminated with parasites and bacteria such as giardia that can make your dog sick. A serious risk associated with stagnant water is blue-green algae, which is very dangerous if ingested. Swallowing too much salt or chlorinated water can also make your dog ill, and many man made pollutants are found in many lakes and rivers, so be sure to always take along a separate supply of safe drinking water for your dog.

Dogs who enjoy swimming may not enjoy boating. Keep in mind that dogs are used to surfaces that are still and stable, and regardless of the kind of boat you have, let her get acquainted with the boat while it is still tied up. Keep her first boat trips short, and watch for any signs of motion sickness. BEFORE you go out in the boat with your dog, buy her a life jacket AND USE IT. Accidents happen, and cold, deep, choppy water can challenge the strongest swimmer… even dogs that swim well can tire very quickly because they don’t understand the concept of resting or treading water…they just swim and swim, until they can’t anymore. Never let your dog swim too far away from you because he could get into trouble very quickly, and make sure he wears a life jacket when playing in water that gets deep farther out, as well as on a boat. Make sure the jacket fits him properly and allow him a chance to get used to wearing and swimming with it before taking him out in deep water or on a boat.

Take a careful look at the variety of the life jackets for dogs that are available on the market….many of them are junk. Kyjen, the maker of Outward Hound life jackets for dogs, is a leader in outdoor and travel gear for dogs, and has a good lightweight jacket which boasts high visibility colors, multiple reflective strips, easy-grab handles, quick release buckles, and outstanding flotation. It is affordable, easy to fit, durable, and most of all, comfortable on the dog. Outward Hound jackets may be found in most pet stores or on www.outwardhound.com

Another good life jacket is made by Henry and Clemmie’s, a relative new comer in the outdoor dog apparel market. Their products are made of sturdy nylon weight material across the yoke, and are made to last. Look for these at specialty stores introducing this new product at prices competitive with those of the Outward Hound life jacket. For more information, go to www.henryandclemmies.com

Considered the Cadillac of canine outdoor equipment products, EZYDOG is the leader in agility harnesses and customer product reviews consistently give this life vest 5 star ratings. It is sturdy, well made, and comes in attractive designs. The cost of this jacket is higher than the other jackets, but if you are interested, check it out on www.ezydog.com

Water activities can enrich the lives of both you and your dog, as long as you keep safety and comfort in mind!