We had installed a Dog Guard Out of Sight Dog Fence for a client in Southwest Ranches a few weeks ago and visited them yesterday for a refresher lesson to finish up the perimeter training. Milo, their Pit Bull, was doing great. He could be outside and be happy and not run after the ducks and chickens in the neighbor’s yard. With this great success, our client had a new question. Now that Milo had no problem being outside, he was wondering where Milo really wanted to stay most of the day. Should he leave him outside all day?
We have been asked this question many times as both perimeter dog fence trainers and canine behavioral therapists. There are several aspects to the answer, and like most of my answers, it normally comes down to “it depends”. Below are some considerations in arriving at your answer:
The first thing that you need to understand is that it is your responsibility to maintain the health of your dog. We live in a semi-tropical environment in South Florida where the temperatures can become very hot. Sunstroke and dehydration are constant dangers for all animals during most of the year in South Florida. Humans have sweat glands and we can “sweat like a pig” when we start to become overheated. This is our body’s natural cooling mechanism. The way that dogs cool off is panting through their mouths. Long snouted dogs have a higher ability to cool through this process than short snouted dogs. Pugs, Bull Dogs, etc. should never be left outside in the heat for extended periods of time. They can quickly dehydrate to a point where even intravenous liquids cannot save them.
Having a pool or pond where the dog can cool off is a great thing, but you have to make sure that your dog likes to get in the water by himself. Be sure to have a dog bowl with cool water always full and available for your dog. Have shaded areas on a cool deck or grass accessible where your dog can lay and relax.
One thing than many people don’t understand is that some dogs like to be outside and some would rather be with you. Most working breeds such as German Shepherds enjoy the outside. They like to guard their territory from the “invisible nothings”. It isn’t that they are vicious or aggressive; it is just their working breed temperament. They love to be outside. On the other hand, breeds such as terriers are very social and would rather be with the family in a group situation. They would much rather be sitting in your lap watching TV than being outside barking at the duck in the lake. Many people make this mistake with Pit Bulls they try to turn into guard dogs. The Pit Bulls are terriers who want to be with you and not “ostracized to the outside”.
If you aren’t sure which type of dog you have, talk with your veterinarian or contact us. This will help you decide where your dog would like to be.
Now that your outside is secure and your dog understands where he can be and not be, you need to look at the next level of the environment you have just secured. You want to do your best to maintain your dog’s focus back to your house and his area of safety. In order to accomplish this, you should think about limiting your dog’s outside time during periods of high external distractions. If there are kids who walk by and say “Come on Milo, you can get to me, run to me”, or a neighbor who lets his insane dogs out first thing in the morning, or people who walk in the afternoon with their dogs off leash and could enter your yard; think about having your dog inside during those times.
I am not saying that the perimeter fence training hasn’t cured your dog’s drive to run through the perimeter, I just don’t want to knowingly be putting him in a worst case scenario.
We have worked with many dog containment fence clients with small dogs. Several of the clients like to leave their dogs outside most of the day where they can sit by the pool on the patio. Although we have worked with them so that the dogs do not want to leave the area we have designed, there are still risks that need to be examined.
First of all, little dogs are often designer breeds and are worth a considerable sum of money. It is very easy for an unscrupulous individual to quickly enter the area, scoop them up, and drive away.
We also have to we worried about hawks. Hawks normally scope the area, hovering about two to three hundred feet off the ground. They are constantly looking for lunch or dinner. This is normally a squirrel or mouse, but it can also be a small dog. Hawks can lift about six to eight pounds off the ground. Many small dogs fall into this category and could easily become a meal before we could do anything about it.
The bottom line is to always be with your small dog when you are outside and never leave them alone.
This is an interesting topic that kind of transcends the inside/outside discussion. We have installed the out of sight dog fences for our clients so that their dogs could safely be outside. When used in the appropriate situations, the doggie door allows the dog to make the decision whether to be in or out. I have several clients who allow their dogs to use the doggie door all day long. The dogs normally regulate themselves and are very content with whatever environment they choose.
So should you allow your dog to roam or not? It all depends on how you and your dog fit into the criteria we have just discussed. In any case, do not force your dog into situations that might make him feel scared or unsafe. As a good dog owner, that is not what you are trying to accomplish.
If you have any questions about training your dog, understanding where he would like to be, or the Dog Guard underground pet containment system, please contact The Best Out of Sight Fence Trainers in Southwest Ranches and South Florida. Also, please check out our South Florida Dog Training Blog on our Home Dog Training of South Florida Web Location.