Pitfalls of Having a Fenced in Yard
Why fences aren’t always the best solution for exercising your dog.
I’m guessing that the title of this dog blog post got your interest. Why would a dog trainer have concerns about a fenced in yard? But everything in life has a risk factor. So, today I’m going to discuss the pitfalls of a fenced yard.
With my many years actively working with dog rescue groups, I have come across more than a handful of dog rescues that require a potential new adopter or foster parent to have a fenced-in yard. Don’t get me wrong, I think having a fenced in yard for your dog and children is wonderful, I truly do. I’m definitely pro-fence. I just feel there are some precautions that a dog guardian should think about before unleashing their dog in their yard.
Active supervision is always a must. A lot of the pitfalls of a fenced in yard can be avoided if you are out with your dog and engaging your dog. Remember, dogs are active and curious, and a lot of dogs can be mischievous. Unattended, they can get themselves in a lot of trouble. They are companion animals, so be a partner and engage them outside.
Ten Things To Consider
- Wildlife: Depending on where you and your dog live, wildlife can be dangerous. Birds of prey, coyotes, bears, alligators, poisonous snakes, porcupines and raccoons are just a few creatures that can harm and potentially kill your dog. If your dog is bitten by a spider and you aren’t aware of it, it could be lethal. On the other hand, if you are out with your dog, you are likely to realize what happened and will be able to seek emergency veterinary care.
- He Ate What? Poisonous plants, berries, mushrooms, sticks, mulch, rat poison, and even broken glass are a few things that might be lingering in your yard. A lot of dogs like to investigate their surroundings by eating. Eat now, ask later.
- No Walks: Sometimes the convenience of having a fenced in yard equals no walks. Taking a dog for a walk is not only a great physical activity for both your dog and you, but it’s also a very mentally stimulating activity. Daily dog walks provide a great bonding opportunity. If you are relying on your fenced yard for exercise vs. dog walks or daily adventures, you may find your dog’s socialization skills start to decrease.
- Fence Running: If your fence butts up to another dog fence, you may experience fence running between the dogs. This behavior typically starts out as fun between the two dogs but often escalates to aggression and anxiety. Do you have a fence runner? Read my article: One Cue That Will Get Your Dog To Stop.
- You’re Boring: If your dog has a lot of access to his fenced-in yard without you, you may find it challenging to get your dog to pay attention to you outside. He has learned that his environment is more exciting than you are. Coming inside the house when you call him, just forget about it.
- Territorial: When a dog spends a lot of time in one area, he can become territorial. If this is the case, you may see your dog getting more agitated as other dogs, animals, or people pass by.
- Escape: Dogs can easily escape a yard by digging under, jumping over, climbing over, or strolling out through a gate inadvertently left open. Don’t risk your dog escaping your yard: double check gates and fence lines daily, even if you actively supervise your dog.
- Destruction: Running through flower beds, digging holes, and eating the house are only a few ways a dog may be destructive while unsupervised in his yard.
- Did He Potty? Often people assume if their dog is outside, they are eliminating. This assumption can sometimes lead to potty training issues, because a dog may not have pottied, or he pottied an hour ago, not right before you let him back inside the house. Another concern is not knowing what our dog’s stool looks like. Dog poop is a big key in determining a dog’s health. If you are unaware of subtle changes in his bowel movements, you may not be aware of a medical condition. Need help potty training your dog? Read my article: Dog Potty Training.
- Theft! According to Petfinder, up to 2 MILLION pets are stolen each year! When I read that, I was just shocked. The reasons behind dog theft are just as shocking. Grab your tissues! Petfinder lists these motives for dog theft: Sold to research laboratories, Fighters or bait in dogfighting, Breeders for puppy mills, Meat for human consumption, Meat for exotic animal consumption, Fur for clothing and accessories, For sale in pet stores, Dissection, Protective guard dogs, and Ritual sacrifice for satanic cults. Is walking away from your dog in his yard worth the risk?
Fences can be a great addition to a home with a dog. When used properly, a dog has an opportunity to run, play, and just chill out. As dog parents, we have a responsibility to protect our dogs and to ensure their safety to the best of our ability. Leaving them in a yard unsupervised is risky. It’s a risk I’m not willing to take. Are you?
Your questions or comments are welcome below.
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