Perhaps the question should be, "do dogs want to live in the garden - or would they prefer sharing the family home?"
Theoretically, a dog can live in the garden, but there a ton of things to consider before you banish them to the outdoors on a leash. Certain breeds may have an adversity to extremes of hot and cold while other dogs may not be bred for such a lonely existence.
There are working dogs that do well living outdoors and then there are dogs who are left on chains and forgotten. The purpose of this analysis is to offer potential dog owners an in-depth and fair view of what lifestyle maybe be best suited to your new pup. This is a subject often heavily debated, so let’s weigh up the pros and cons of a dog living outside.
Signs a Dog Doesn't Want to Live in the Garden
We have all heard that dog howling in the middle of the night and cringed as it goes on and on until some kind soul alerts the authorities to its distress. The neglected pup that lives on a chain is all too prevalent in our society and is often why the shelters are overflowing with unwanted dogs. We see pictures in the newspaper of dogs with collar burns and vow never to leave our babies outside in this same state.
Dogs that have no social life are lonely creatures and will develop their own set of issues like barking, lunging, or pacing. They may show signs of aggression, as they feel helpless with no hope of escape.
As creatures of planet earth, we are ingrained with a will to be free, so when your dog starts a revolution from being chained in the garden, it’s time to evaluate if being a dog owner is right for you.
On a positive note, dogs who work on the farm are usually outside and seem well-suited to this way of life. Their owners generally value their adept dogs that not only herd the cattle but keep a vigilant eye out for animals or thieves entering their domain.
Working dogs deserve to be well fed, housed and socialized. Loneliness is not an issue with these pooches, as there are usually a few farm dogs living together outside. A farm dog can develop behavior issues if it’s underfed and devoid of human affection. The dog may bark more than usual, dig holes around his kennel area and chew on his lead.
If the weather gets too hot or cold, it's important to evaluate how it is affecting the dogs, as many folks still assume that dogs can handle just about anything. If it breathes, bleeds and has a heart - like humans - it demands “due care.”
Dogs have hit the headlines with the news that they are smarter, more emotional and creative than was ever thought. This may not occur to the owner of the dog on a chain, but makes a strong argument for dogs to be kept indoors with their families.
That dog you pass by yelping in the neighbor’s yard could be wildly intelligent and going crazy, or maybe just be wanting his owner to come home.
The History of Dogs in the Garden
So how did this all come about? Dogs were wolves once and lived in packs in the wild. Mankind, as we know, has a passion for acquiring territory, so wolves found their prey diminishing as early-man claimed their hunting grounds. Survival instinct kicked in and after a time, wolves united with man.
Humans are social creatures who live in packs with a strong instinct to protect their own. Wolves may have furry bodies, four legs, and long, pointy snouts but they have the same family values and continuance ethic as humans.
We know making dogs our pets goes a lot further back than first thought, as the ancients had fur-baby friends, too! Fast track into the future and it became fashionable to have a pooch, with each nation creating their own unique breed.
Dogs become the new BFF, as humans found they were affectionate as well as smart. A frenzy of dog breeding gave us the wonderful woofers we have today - some bred for a purpose while others for sheer vanity. Those with exotic tastes befriended tigers and chimpanzees but soon found they didn’t respond well to captivity. The humble mutt won the highest accolade to become “man’s best friend”.
A dog living the backyard was perfectly acceptable until experts realized it might not be that great for the dog.
Mankind has played master of the universe with the gene pool of our mutts - designing various sizes, shapes, and uses. Our doggy-buddies are bred to herd sheep, work for the police and military, sniff out illegal stuff at airport and rescue folk in strife.
They have also been engineered to be the perfect indoor dog, accommodating those who live in apartments or suburban homes. The same rule of thumb applies if your dog is indoors or out - don't leave them alone for long periods of time. They need friendship and to feel part of the human clan.
The Science of Dogs Living in the Garden
Science has had a lot to say about dogs being left on their own, with a study showing dogs howl and whine when their owner leaves the home.
In the study, their anxiety was distressing and it showed how connected our dogs are to us. Cameras were put into the homes of family dogs and it was surprising to see what happens when dogs are left alone.
Dogs left on chains can exhibit similar behavior to dogs left home alone for too long. If a pup is tethered all day, they can suffer psychological damage as its freedom and social interplay is marred. The old adage “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” might be a wake-up call for the person who leaves their dog on a chain.
Pet lovers cry passionately about the plight of dogs stuck in the back garden, but there is an argument for responsible folk who ensure their pup is happy with their outside life. They take their dog to the park, inside during inclement weather, and give plenty of doggy-love and fun times with other pups.
The discussion can get fairly heated, as one side believes all dogs should enjoy the comfort and security of the family home, while the other says if wolves live outside - so should dogs!
Both parties are probably right. As long as the dogs' social needs are addressed and all care is taken to ensure they are comfortable and content pups, they are probably happy.
Training for Keeping a Dog in the Garden
Training a dog to live in the garden is a task in itself, as some dogs might enjoy communing with nature, while others will bark until the authorities arrive. Simple rules could mean a dog is okay with being outside, but there are some things to consider before you make that choice.
Never leave a dog unattended for long if they are on a leash outside. They could get tangled or caught on something.
The downside of a dog alone in the garden is they could get attacked by people or other animals. There have been cases of wild animals coming into a yard and hurting a tied up dog. Creating a run or a high fenced area is a safer option.
If you are at work for most of the day, you could ask a neighbor if they’ll check on your pup, or get a pawsome dog-walker to pop by and take them out for a few hours.
Make sure there are no poisonous plants in the yard that could be harmful to your mutt.
You need to be aware of the weather and get your dog inside if there’s a storm. A pup couldn’t survive a tornado or hurricane although they might alert you it’s on the way. Yep, pups can tell if a natural event is about to begin!
How will your dog survive in extreme cold or heat? If you have the air-conditioning turned up to the max inside, it might give you an idea how your pooch is feeling outside!
Some folks think a dog's hair is all they need to keep warm, but they are highly susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia - so owners, be aware! Some owners opt for a heated dog blanket in a covered shelter, but on the really cold days and nights, it's better just to bring your dog inside. The same goes for dogs outside in the very hot Summer months.
Dogs left outside are also more at-risk to be stolen. Pet theft is on the rise, so secure the yard! Dog theives often use dogs for dog fights or try to sell them for profit online.
Written by a Japanese Chin lover Linda Cole
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 02/19/2018, edited: 04/06/2020