a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Freedom to Roam

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Freedom to Roam

SUMMARY: But, for my dogs, only in my yard.
From Facebook discussion June 12, 2020. About the concern for things like whether the dog might eat the neighbors' oleander leaves (which are toxic to dogs) that drop into the yard.

Different people have different approaches towards giving their dogs free rein in the house and, in particular, the yard.

Amber in my tiny townhouse yard.
Would hang out under the storage bin where she could
 peer through cracks in the fence  boards to watch the world go by.
I never thought about them being free in the yard particularly; they just had access. My family's dog (a Collie mix) had freedom in their fenced yard. My first dog (German Shepherd / Golden mix) was about 6 months old when I moved to a townhouse with a patio/"lawn" maybe 12 feet square and 8 foot walls all around, so she grew up without obvious danger accessing that enclosure without me around.

So, by the time I moved to a place with a normal yard, she and I were accustomed to her being on her own out there (w/access to the house).

My entire townhouse back yard.
My dogs get gradually more autonomy as they grow up and/or as I get to know them better and learn what their mean propensities for consumption are. [That's a sophisticated economics joke to impress you with my wit and perspicaciousness.]

I've been lucky and so far had no dogs who were at any obvious risk for eating dangerous things in the house or yard, and I do my best to keep my yard reasonably free of potentially toxic things.

Domesticated foxglove near here,
just one of many colors.
(My last yard had gorgeous pale lavender foxglove flowers come up every spring and I miss them so much. I and dogs had been there for a few years before I learned that they were poisonous. Never saw any of my 4 adults show any interest in eating parts. Also never had a real puppy there.)

Once they've earned it, during the day, they have a doggie door, hence, free run of the house and yard. I wouldn't do this with dogs under 20 pounds, probably. Or still in blatant puppyhood. Or if I lived in a location where, say, coyotes were wont to wander at will through my yard. Or if the yard weren't securely fenced.

Has worked fine with all eight dogs so far except for Sheba the Amazing! Escape Artist Extraordinaire! Had to work hard to keep her home.

But there are risks: Remington engaged with a full-grown raccoon one evening after dark and even at 55 lbs he was severely bitten.   A friend's dog found a skunk in the yard and paid for it. A mile from my house. Same neighborhood. Not big yards. Not wild yards. Middle of the suburbs on the flat valley floor. So--  I just keep my fingers crossed.

No comments:

Post a Comment