Should dogs be indoor or outdoor pets? – Part 5

In my opinion, this debate is not about whether or not your pet dog should have some time outdoors, it’s about whether or not your dog should be left outside all of the time. All dogs need some time outside to run and just be a dog, but few dogs really belong outside all of the time.

If you purchase or adopt a dog, you are bringing that dog home to be a member of your family and as such the dog should get to share your living space. Dogs are pack animals and to be truly happy need to feel as though they are part of a group. I’m not saying that you need to treat your dog as though it was one of your children, but you shouldn’t be ignoring it either. Can you really consider a dog to be your pet if it spends all of its time in your yard?

You also need to consider the potentially dangerous situations you are placing the dog and your neighbors in if the dog is left outside unattended for long periods of time. Many dogs are territorial and will treat your yard as their domain. This can pose a serious threat to people entering your yard, such as mail carriers, utility workers, or neighbors dropping by. What would happen if one of the neighborhood children should chase a stray ball into your yard and meet your unattended dog? Some dogs will perceive cars as fast moving prey and feel the need to chase them. Wouldn’t it be awful if your dog succeeded in catching one, only to lose its life under the wheels?

No fence or chain will keep every dog in all the time. My grandparents had one of those dogs that was a master escape artist when I was very young. He would spend part of his day outdoors, typically when my grandparents were at work, in a pen within the fenced in yard or on a long tether if some of us were home. He was more than ten years old, but every so often he would need to stretch his legs and off he would go. I can still remember my grandmother walking down the street, after having retrieved him, holding the length of chain he was still attached to as the dog walked beside her still wearing one of those cones around his neck from a minor surgery just days before.

Should dogs be indoor or outdoor pets? I would say yes, but you need to balance a dog’s indoor and outdoor time and spend at least some of the outdoor time with your dog. There are few people who couldn’t use to spend a little more time outside.

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