How Safe is Your Backyard?
Have you ever considered the dangers that lurk when leaving your dog unsupervised outside?
Consider this: Would you leave your 2-year-old son or daughter outside alone? Like small children, dogs don’t have the capacity to reason for themselves. They act without thinking. They are very curious. They don’t always do exactly what you want them to do.
See the similarities?
Dogs need close supervision when outside – even in a fenced area. Just ask your local animal shelter about the number of dogs they receive who were found running loose after they escaped their yards. Talk to them about how many people call looking to “replace” or find their dog, which dug out of the backyard, leaped over a fence, escaped via an insecurely latched gate, was stolen or died after being hit by a car or attacked by another animal.
- Most dogs – especially hounds and sporting breeds – can dig vigorously. If your dog smells a raccoon or a chicken bone on the other side of the fence, will he resist the temptation to get at what he wants? What if boredom sets in while he’s left outside all alone? Think again if you trust your dog not to dig under your fence.
- Dogs have been known to scale 6-foot fences. Some simply leap over them, while others actually find footholds to climb up and over.
- Dogs are notorious for chewing – and possibly eating – things they’re not supposed to. This is especially true if the dog is young. There are many hazards out there – poisonous plants (like sago palms), pesticides and other articles that, when left on the ground and chewed up by your dog, can cause serious injury or death.
- What would your golden do if confronted in the back yard by a poisonous snake? A raccoon? A feral cat? All of these can potentially injure or even kill your dog.
Dogs Are Not Humans
People often attribute human qualities to their dogs. Have you ever said:
“My dog would never leave the yard.”
“I trust my dog.”
Ask a rescue group about these rationalizations. By the time you’ve rescued hundreds, or even thousands of dogs, you’ve seen it all … the calls from people sobbing and heartbroken over a dog that has escaped. They almost always say:
“He’s NEVER done anything like that before!”
“I just don’t understand what got into her!”
Funny thing is, they often believe it is the dog’s fault that something bad has happened. Dogs are not human. They don’t act based on wisdom and logic – they follow their instincts. And their instincts are to dig, run, eat and chase. It is wrong to expect a dog to show good judgment.
It’s your responsibility – and yours alone – to keep your dog safe.
Stolen dogs often are sold to research laboratories. Others are used as “fight bait” for dog-fighting rings. If your dog is friendly and healthy, she may be VERY desirable for a thief. What a terrible way to end up – sacrificed for medical research or ripped to shreds by a vicious fighting dog.
Picking a Fence
A fenced yard is a great way to exercise your dog. But what type of fence should you get? Visit our “Fences” information page dedicated to the pros and cons associated with fence types.
Leashed is Loved!
Whenever your dog is outside the fenced yard, keep it on a leash. Don’t fool yourself with a false sense of security when it comes to your dog. Regardless of how well trained he is, your companion, first and foremost, is a dog. And all dogs follow their instincts. It only takes ONCE … the one time he takes off after a squirrel or a passing dog, there will surely be a car in his path.
It’s Your Job
You love your dog too much to take a chance that he may end up hit by a car, poisoned or stolen. He deserves to have a long, happy and safe life – that’s your responsibility as a pet owner. Please consider the safety of your backyard, and remember, NEVER leave your dog in the backyard or let it have access to the backyard via a doggie door when you are away from home. The safest place to leave your dog is inside your home.