Dogs are messy creatures. They shed hair, chew slippers and furniture, and are not fussy about where they leave muddy footprints. For this reason, some pet owners opt to keep their pets outside in the yard. The question is whether this is OK, so let’s take a look at the reasons why it might not be the best idea for your pet.
As a dog owner, you have a duty to ensure your pet’s welfare at all times. If you fail to take care of your dog in a humane manner, you could be prosecuted for cruelty or end up with a dog that is dangerously disturbed or aggressive.
Dogs are pack animals. They have evolved to live with us as a member of our ‘pack’. Ideally, we are the pack leader and our dog does as he is told. In practice, some owners fail to understand how this works!
Keeping a dog outside is rarely a good idea. Left alone for extended periods of time, a dog will exhibit symptoms of distress, anxiety, and may become aggressive and destructive. Dogs kept outside are also more likely to have behavioral problems, which can be difficult to treat.
Part of the Family
Dogs are much happier when kept as part of the family. They don’t need to sleep on your bed, but they do need to feel included in the pack. It is OK to give your dog the run of the yard for short periods of time, but the majority of their time needs to be spent with you.
It’s OK to keep your dog outside for short spells as long as you provide the following:
- A waterproof shelter so he can have shade if it is hot and sunny, a dry place to sleep if it’s raining, and somewhere warm in cooler temperatures. http://pawcastle.com/ has some great dog beds and kennels.
- Provide a source of clean drinking water and some food. Dogs like to chew, so a large bone or a chew toy will keep him happy for a couple of hours while you pop off to do some shopping.
Most dogs dislike being left alone, so it is better to provide company for your dog. A dog left alone will soon become bored. Bored dogs whine and bark, which is annoying for your neighbors. Leave your dog with a friend or ask a pet sitter to call in and exercise your dog while you are at work. Even better, take your dog to doggy daycare if you have to leave him home alone all day. It’s not appropriate to shut him in the yard all day long.
How Not to Keep a Dog
Never tether a dog up outside. Tethered dogs can’t exercise or move around normally, which causes them great distress and leads to all kinds of issues. Don’t leave your dog in a crate for long periods either.
Dogs are for life, so make sure you can provide the environment a dog needs before you introduce one into your home.