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Walkies! The Musical.

The advent of backyards is a very recent thing. They are a pleasant and enjoyable thing to own, curate and relax in. Whilst acknowledging all of this, I have to say, they’re not ideal for most dogs.

Why not? Most of the issues center around unrealistic expectations of one’s backyard. Picture the world back when all space was natural space and people set up camps wherever looked comfy. Their dogs would roam around them, find a likely spot, and dig a little hole to sleep in. Then, should a dog heed a tasty-sounding noise underground, she would dig it up for investigative and munchy purposes.

When it came toilet time, the camp’s dogs would politely find their way away from the central area, do the deed, then announce to the world where it was by scratching some markings.

When an enjoyably fast-moving and possibly tasty animal went flitting through the camp, the dogs would leap up and sprint after it on the off chance it was feeling slow or suicidal today. They would chase it until it was definitely out of range, then because everyone gets frustrated when they lose a race, they would bark at it.

Now, put fences around all this activity. Suddenly, the space is very precious, and the sleepy/munchy hole isn’t in a random patch of dirt, it’s in a random patch of petunias. The poop patch can’t get far enough away from the camp, so it spreads across the lawn. Interesting prey flit across all the time and the ‘you’re out of range, you devil!’ bark happens after three strides of chase.

So what am I advocating? Two things. Have realistic expectations of how neat your backyard will be with a dog in it. And take your dog out of the backyard on a frequent basis. Because most of all, those ancestral dogs had constant human contact, and a lot of exercise.

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