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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why Dogs Should be Supervised While Outdoors

A few people have asked me why its so important to supervise their dog outdoors even though they have a fully fenced in back yard? I can not stress enough how important this is. Firstly as we all know Boxers, are not outdoor dogs. They should be living indoors with their family where it is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Boxers thrive on being with their people and being a part of the family. They require exercise other than being in their backyard. They should still be going for long walks to exert this high level of energy that they all have.

Dogs love being outdoors. And who can blame them? On a nice sunny day, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the air is fresh and clean. However, there is lots of mischief that our Boxers can get into. They can dig, tear up the garden, get into garbage, find holes in our fence to squeeze through and get loose or even jump a fence! We all know that Boxers can clear a 6 foot fence with no problem. That is one of the facts about having an athletic breed.

One sunny day last year, Matt & I were in the backyard with Leia. A cat had come into our back bushes and Leia automatically darted for it. We did not see the cat but Leia was hot on her trail in the trees behind our house. We could hear the commotion and went to investigate. Almost seconds the cat jumped the fence into the other yard and Leia decided to run through the fence to chase after it (ok she didn't jump the fence but ran clear through it!). The cat took off and Leia was out of the yard! Luckily Matt jumped the fence just as quick and in time to see Leia taking off for a very busy street. If Matt didn't call her back she would have continued to chase the cat and probably would have gotten hit by a car. This all happened within a matter of seconds. I thought our fence was secure. We then had a Leia sized hole in our back fence. Little did I know that our Leia is a little Bull in a China shop!

OK so now your fence is secured and you know nothing can happen. But do you have total control of what comes into your yard?

We didn't find out that Luke is allergic to bees and wasps, until one summer we were visiting my parents in Calgary. We were playing fetch with Luke in the backyard. I ran to get the ball, as Luke has me trained very well to fetch the ball when he doesn't feel like it! Luke was sniffing something underneath the stairs when I came back and he was rubbing his head in an odd way. I looked on his face and didn't see anything and then looked under the stairs to see a wasps nest. I didn't think he got stung but then about an hour later his head was swollen like a balloon and he could barely breathe. I had called the vet and they asked me to bring him in. They had given him an Epi Pen for dogs to help calm the reaction. If we weren't with him it could have been fatal.

My neighbour had a lab puppy. Both of them worked full time jobs so they trained the dog to use a doggy door. It was great for them. They raved about it and how wonderful it was that they didn't have to have a dog walker or worry about her having to go potty while they were at work. She was a great dog. So well trained and never ever got into any trouble. They had her for a year. Then one day they came home after work to find the dog laying in the backyard and not breathing. There were chocolate wrappers laying around the fence. Some school kids thought that the nice doggy would have liked some chocolate so they fed it to her through the fence. The kids didn't know that chocolate is poison for dogs and didn't know they were doing any harm. Unfortunately the owners did not arrive home in time and it was too late to save her.

These kids meant no harm to the dog. But some kids and even adults like to tease dogs through the fence and torment them mentally. Some dogs become severely aggressive and become very scared and confused. If this happens on a regular basis it would create some very unwanted behaviours in your dog. We have had dogs come to the rescue who were so terribly teased that they developed aggression towards people even their owners!

Now these, are just a few examples of what can happen. These are all things we can not control. These things shouldn't have happened but they did. I think that its important we are aware of what can happen to our beloved family member. I know none of us would ever want to put our dogs in danger. So why not just take a cup of coffee or a magazine into the yard and hang out with your pooch? I'm sure your dog would appreciate the company and it would definitely give you peace of mind.


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