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I love my dogs so much that it feels kind of cruel to kick them out of the house to sit in their yard. It's as if I'm saying, “I can't be bothered with you right now.” But that's not the case; my dogs need to spend time outside. Being inside all day isn't good for them, for us, or for our home. Over the past nine months, our dogs have been spending a tremendous amount of time inside for various reasons and I'm starting to see that this was a mistake, but it couldn't be helped.
- We have an escape artist – Apollo has become a genius when it comes to figuring out how to get out of their current yard. Granted, our current dog yard is a hot mess. It started as a 3′ yard that easily contained Rodrigo and Sydney. Today, it looks like a mishmash of fencing materials as we've tried to make it more secure until we got around to creating a new yard for the dogs. And while this mishmash works to keep four of our dogs in the yard, our fifth dog, Apollo, laughs at our attempts.
- The winter is too cold – have you noticed the change in the seasons? Here in the Pacific Northwest, our summers are longer and hotter and our winters have been crazy cold. A couple of years ago, we got almost two feet of snow and were stuck close to home for a week, which is a huge deal where I live. It's too cold for the dogs to stay outside all day, even if they can warm up in our garage.
- I'm home every day – I'm currently working from home and it's easier to allow the dogs to stay in the house because (1) they're so damn adorable and I love having them nearby and (2) Rodrigo will bark his head off and Apollo will try and find his way back in the house. It's so damn distracting and such an obvious sign that I need to do some training, but I've chosen the easy route – allow them to stay inside with me.
I recognize that it's good for our dogs to spend some time outside and I do play with them on the property and take them for daily walks, but I also think they need to be outside without me too and I wonder if others will relate to my reasons why this is the case.
5 Reasons Why My Dogs Need Their Own Yard
I'm deranged when it comes to our dogs. There are so many trips that I've been tempted to cancel because I didn't want to leave my dogs. It's not that I don't trust Johan to take care of them, he does a great job. It's that I don't want to be away from them and I need to get this under control. Allowing them to hang out in their yard without me is a great way to allow me to switch focus to other tasks – blogging, house cleaning, yard work, laundry, and more. I get so much work done when I don't have to keep an eye on the dogs – looking at you, Apollo.
1 – They Need Fresh Air
Dogs need fresh air for the same reasons humans need fresh air. It's great for our spirit, it's a nice break from the day, and it's beautiful outside. Summer is right around the corner and besides a few rainy days here and there, we've had some great weather and the dogs need to be outside to enjoy it. Dogs can't absorb Vitamin D from the sun; they get it from their diet (eggs, oysters, spinach, kale, cod liver oil), but that doesn't mean that they're not enjoying other benefits from being outside in the fresh air. There are studies that show the benefits for humans to spend time outdoors, I believe that dogs can enjoy some of these benefits too:
- Being outside reduces anxiety.
- Being outside improves the immune system.
- Being outside improves your mood.
- Being outside calms the mind.
Whenever our dogs spend an hour or more outside, I swear that they seem happier when they come inside. It could also be that it's because they're coming inside.
2 – Being Outside Builds Their Confidence
My dogs are my babies. They are with me nearly all day every day when I'm home. This can be a problem when I go back to work. The last thing I want is five big dogs with separation anxiety when our state gives us the all-clear. Allowing them to spend longer and longer breaks of time outside, without me, builds their confidence and makes them a little more independent. Granted, they'll need me to feed them, play with them walk them, etc – but we'll also know that our dogs can get through the day when I leave for work.
3 – It Helps Then Bond to Each Other
Shortly after we adopted Rodrigo and Sydney, I learned about littermate syndrome, where one symptom is that two puppies will bond to each other rather than the humans in the house. Well, we managed to avoid this with all of our dogs, with each dog having varying levels of attachment (velcro) to me. Apollo is our velcro dog, with Rodrigo next, then Sydney, then Zoey, and finally, Scout. When the dogs spend time with each other without me, they manage to create a system that works for them, they work out any issues, and they become closer as a family. We've seen this happen with Rodrigo and Sydney when Blue joined our family. Again, after we lost Blue, and Scout and Zoey joined our family. And, most recently, when Apollo joined our family.
4 – It Keeps My Dogs Safe
We live on five acres, so you'd think that our dogs have plenty of space and they do, however, they need their own yard because our property is unfenced. We live in a rural area and over the past few months, we've found bear scat, coyote scat, and deer cross our property all the time. Four of our five dogs have had encounters with skunks in the past and a few weeks ago I saw a racoon running across the road.
Our dogs don't have the good sense God gave most of us and would chase wild animal and we don't want to risk their safety. So a larger, more secure dog yard is on the docket for 2020.
5 – It Helps Us Keeps the House Cleaner
Although our dogs have amazing dog beds, they are also allowed on the furniture and on the human beds. When they're inside, we have to clean more. There's more hair to sweep up, more dead toys to dispose of, more vacuuming, and more laundry (bedding). Allowing the dogs to spend time in their yard gives me the time and space to clean the house, which is a daily task when you have five big dogs. We don't often have people over, but on the rare occasions when we do, I'd love it if our house didn't smell like wet, muddy dog.
Making Sure My Dogs Get Enough Exercise
Someone recently told me that the average dog gets about 15 minutes of exercise per day. I'm not sure if that's true, but I believe it because we are so busy today commuting back and forth to work. I'm thankful that our dogs get plenty of exercise, however, to be honest, they once only got about 15-20 minutes a day – Yikes! It's easy to fall into the habit of letting our dogs outside for several hours and then check the “exercise the dogs” box on the To-Do List. Last year, we installed indoor and outdoor cameras to allow us to check in on the dogs and I learned that they sleep all day. They may wake up to bark at a delivery driver or to watch a family of deer walk across our property, but that's it. I have to make time to exercise them daily.
I alternate games of fetch, wandering around our property, and walks for our dogs. Some dogs require less exercise than others, but we make sure all of them are moving every day, including Sydney, who has arthritis. For Sydney, we allow her to walk at her pace and rest when she wants. I'm excited to see her mobility improve thanks to her joint supplement and weight loss.
Status of Our New Dog Yard
Don't get me wrong. I love love love spending time with my dogs. However, we have big, active dogs that love to patrol, sniff, and soak in the outdoors and I don't think it's okay for me to keep them cooped up in the house every day. We're excited about our plans to design and build a new yard for them that includes a top of the line dog fencing system, a lean-to for coverage, trees and plants native to our state, and more. We received all of the dog fencing system equipment last week. We have everything we need to build the new dog yard, however, the weather hasn't been very cooperative. There's some land clearing that needs to be done plus we need to take down the old fencing system as we're using a portion of the existing dog yard. Today, we plan to map out two options for our new yard and we hope that the weather will be dry enough to allow us to install the new system next weekend.
The PetPlayground dog yard system that we chose includes 300 feet of fencing and will allow us to create a bigger yard that is not only more appropriate for five big dogs but it's more secure for our dogs.
I will be posting updates on Facebook so you can follow our progress.
Read More About Raising Dogs
- Building a Secure Dog Yard with PetPlaygrounds
- How Much Does it Cost to Build a Dog Yard?
- 10 Tips for Pet Parents Living with a Blind Dog
- Living with a Deaf Dog
- 3 of the Best Beds for Our Five Dogs
This is a sponsored post. I received a discount off of a 250′ PetPlaygrounds dog fencing system in exchange for sharing my honest thoughts on the system through a series of blog posts and social media updates. All thoughts shared on KeepTheTailWagging.com and related social media channels are true and reflect my experience with my dogs and the PetPlaygrounds system.