Why Leaving Your Dog Outside is a Bad Idea
As a professional dog trainer, this is easily one of the most common questions that comes up during consultations. Many pet owners assume their dogs would prefer to play outdoors alone, but that’s not always true. The simple answer is no; you shouldn’t leave your dog outside unattended. Please allow me to explain why, and I think you’ll agree too.
Overprotective Pet Owner?
Keeping an eye on your dog in the backyard is preventative, and not overprotective, behavior. 🙂 Many pet owners assume hanging outside while their dogs play in the backyard is helicopter pet owner behavior. While it’s not necessary to hover over their dogs like a helicopter, they should be aware of what their dogs are doing outdoors. It’s best to hang out in your yard while your dog potties and plays. Of course, you can go indoors and grab a drink, but never leave your dog outside for longer than 5-10 minutes.
Best Way to Prevent Unwanted Behaviors
When dogs are left outdoors unattended, they can get into trouble quickly. Many dogs become lost because they’ve dug out from under their fence within seconds. Also, many accidentally walk through backyard gates unintentionally left open by service workers.
Incessantly barking dogs usually practice this behavior when left alone in the backyard, and it can quickly become a problem with neighbors. Fence fighting behavior can start abruptly and will continue until someone is hurt—and this dog behavior is tough to manage once it starts. Some dogs are teased behind fences, which can certainly cause human aggression.
Lots of unwanted dog behaviors can happen within minutes, so it’s best to hang out with your dog to prevent these behaviors from happening instead of trying to address them later. Prevention is key, and it takes much less time than changing behavior. 🙂
It’s Not Safe
Dogs can eat sticks, stones and so many other harmful objects within seconds. Surgery is often required to remove ingested acorns, pinecones, pine straw, mulch and so forth, which can cost thousands of dollars and even your dog’s life.
Backyards may contain poisonous mushrooms, frogs and stinging insects, which become fatal within hours. If you’re outdoors with your dog, you can prevent your dog from chewing or ingesting harmful objects. If your dog is stung, you’re aware of the insect that stung your dog, so your veterinarian will be able to quickly save your dog’s life.
Keep an Eye on Your Dog
When your dog is outdoors, sit outside and have a conversation with a friend on the phone or, even better, play a fun game with your dog. If it’s too hot or cold for you to sit outdoors, then the weather is too extreme for your dog to sit outdoors too. When your dog tries to chew on acorns, ask your dog to “leave it” and reward your dog with a yummy treat. Additionally, if your dog tries to engage in fence fighting, bring your dog indoors, so he doesn’t practice this behavior. Bored dogs will find something to do if kept outside during the day or while you’re at work, which is never a good thing. So hang out with your dog and prevent unwanted behavior.
An ounce of prevention prevents hours of changing behavior, so never leave your dog outside unattended.