I wanted to take a moment to comment on responsible dog ownership. Although this subject can take many forms, today’s topic is dog containment. Since I mostly write about working dogs, please take this into consideration when reading the article.
Having recently moved to a new area, my first major action was to scope out my property and determine what had to be done to make it safe for dogs and humans. This is a rural area, but near a couple of upscale subdivisions. Young children play nearby, so safety is a big issue.
The first observation made after two days was that nobody, I mean nobody, has put up a barrier of any kind to contain their dogs. No fences, not even kennels, yet dogs all around. In the first week at my new place, no less than three dogs owned by neighbors had wandered onto my property. I started looking and found people do not even use leashes to control their dogs. Dogs, as large as Danes, walking around the streets, loose as can be.
As I began the task of building an enclosed, fenced in area for my dogs, I began to realize why there were no other fences or barriers for dogs in the area: it actually costs some money and involves hard work to get something like this done! (Note: If you feel it’s too much work to keep your dog and others safe, then owning a dog may not be a good choice for you)
Just to expound a bit, the property liability laws are pretty clear in most states in the US. If someone comes onto your property and is injured, you, the owner, are still liable, whether the person is invited or not (I’m not talking about criminal trespass here..). That alone makes it very clear to me why it is vital for one to safely contain their dogs on a permanent basis. Other situations, such as dogs breeding bitches that are in heat down the block, annoying your neighbors due to your dog crapping on their lawn, dog fights, are among a long list of reasons for containment.
Okay, so here is the rest of my lecture on responsible dog ownership: If you own a dog, one of the first things you need to do is construct a safe barrier for your pet to be in, whether it is a secure back yard, a paddock, an enclosed kennel or a completely fenced in property. I am not advocating tying out a dog all day, by the way. That is just ridiculous, lazy and potentially harmful to the dog.
To those of you who insist that kenneling or crating a dog is ‘cruel’, just imagine what it would be like for your dog to get hit by a passing car or the lawsuit you’d have on your hands when the dog bites your neighbor’s child. By the way, good obedience training and socialization also helps immeasurably in controlling a dog’s actions, but that is another topic altogether.
To those of you who have already done the above, congratulations! You are true friends to your dogs and your neighbors.
To the remaining dog owners who are continually bailing your dogs out of the pound or getting threatened by a neighbor for your dog’s misbehavior, please consider implementing responsible containment for your pet.