Why Leaving Your Dog Alone in the Yard is a Bad Idea
Deciding what to do with your dog while you’re at work, running errands, or otherwise out of the house can be a tough choice.
Most dog owners have to leave their dogs home alone for periods of the day, and some owners choose to leave their dogs alone in the yard unattended.
While this might sound like a good idea, leaving a dog alone in the yard all day can actually lead to behavior problems. Many owners don’t even realize that leaving their dogs alone outside is the cause!
Common Behavior Issues
When isolated with limited human companionship, even friendly dogs may become bored and frustrated. This can lead to excessive barking, destructive habits, running away, aggression, or depression.
Anxious and fearful dogs who have no way of escaping from people or animals passing by the fence may resort to lunging, snapping, or biting to protect themselves.
In addition, some neighborhoods are noisier than others and have lots of dogs barking all day. This can cause a neighborhood pack effect and cause your dog to start barking, howling or whining more often.
Having a doggie door installed can also be an issue. Another dog walking by or a bird chirping outside can cause the dog inside of the house to race outside and bark or chase.
With all of that adrenaline, it’s no wonder these unwanted behaviors become strong.
Unfortunately, being left alone in the yard can affect a dog’s loose leash walking skills. A dog who previously walked politely on leash may now become frustrated when restrained around these same dogs or birds and act out.
Pet parents may think that dogs left alone in the yard have been having fun all day and don’t need walks. This can result in a dog becoming frustrated and he or she may go bonkers when the leash eventually does come out, leading to even more unwanted behavior on walks.
Remember, any behavior that your dog practices over and over again will become stronger. If he or she is reactively barking in the yard, you will see more of this behavior in everyday life. Social behaviors will deteriorate and anxiety, hyperactivity, or guarding behaviors will flourish.
Changing up the Routine
If you are experiencing destruction in the yard, barking, trouble on your walks, or separation anxiety, consider changing up your dog's routine.
Removing the doggie door is a good place to start gaining more control over your dog. Instead of going outside whenever he or she pleases, your dog will now have to give you calm, desired behaviors, like sit and stay, before going outside.
You can also implement some backyard enrichment activities. A baby pool filled with sand and buried toys is fun!
Hiding some favorite treats and toys around the yard will keep your dog guessing all day long. Rotate the items to keep them new and fresh in your dog’s mind.
Consider confining your dog to the inside of your home. He or she may actually be calmer and less stimulated by what goes on in the neighborhood. We recommend crate training.
If your dog is sociable with other dogs and you work long hours or are frequently out of the house, daycare is a great option! Daycare will provide your dog with all of the learning, interaction, and companionship he or she needs. In addition, daycare will tucker your pup out, so he or she will come home nice and tired for you!
For more information about our daycare services, schedule a Meet & Greet and tour!