You might hear it a lot: My dogs need acres and acres of space to run and roam. That’s why I leave them in the backyard when I’m out of the house. I hate to keep them cooped up.
While this may be true sometimes, it doesn’t always ring consistently with all dogs. Like people, each dog is a unique individual with unique and individual needs. In the same way some pups love squeaking chew toys and other dogs despise them, not all dogs need wide open spaces to feel happy, especially when you’re not around.
It’s a pretty common myth that your canine pal needs massive amounts of room to play in while you are out of the house. Sure, some do, but most dogs actually curl up on a couch, chair, or bed and sleep off the loneliness until you get back (and tackle, lick, and love you as soon as you unlock the door). Similar to cats, most dogs feel comforted by smaller, darker places. It helps them feel safe and secure while their best friend is gone. Remember, dogs come from wolves which are “den creatures”, so they are naturally attracted to coverings.
Most dogs who are left outside during the day aren’t actually getting the kind of exercise their owners imagine. Usually, dogs get mentally frustrated with the smells, sounds, and sights that they can’t physically interact with besides barking until they can’t bark anymore. Some will try to dig out of the yard, but most will just dig up your landscaping efforts out of boredom. This can even foster bad behaviors that are supposed to be left behind in their puppy-hood, like chewing and gnawing on objects you didn’t exactly want teeth marks on.
Dogs that are strictly “outdoor dogs” tend to disassociate with the family that owns them and can be antisocial and hard to train.
Don’t trust your pup in your home while you’re out and about? Crate them or keep them in a room. The lack of stimuli will help your dog stay chilled out while you aren’t present. If nothing else, this should make sure your fluffy friend is safe above all else. If your dog doesn’t take well to any of these options, even being outside while you’re away, remember there is no shame in calling a trainer – it benefits you both! If this is something you’d like to explore, come see us at The Barking Lot! We offer dog training in Chicago for you and your fuzzy best friend.