Many people want to have their dogs roam freely in their own yard, including a front yard that is not fenced. For this to be a possibility, you have to look at the immediate environment along with positive and negative neighborhood distractions before the most appropriate and “family safe” solution can be implemented.
The first question that I always ask is if there are off-leash, aggressive dogs in the neighborhood. If the answer is “yes” and there is now way to rectify the situation, you have no way to safely contain any “dog on dog” situation. You have put your dog in a very bad and unsafe situation. You have also put yourself and your family in a dangerous situation. When you have “roaming, aggressive” dogs in the neighborhood, the only thing you can do is to not let your dog in the front yard or to build a standard fence (wood, chain link, or other solid material) that can keep out the neighbor dogs when you and your dog are in the front.
If there are no “bad dogs” roaming the neighborhood, your next question comes down to the activity and proximity of the street in front of your house. If the street is busy most of the day and your front yard is small, that doesn’t leave much room for your dog to roam. If your yard is not large enough to establish a safe perimeter zone, then you may want to rethink letting your dog in the front yard.
If you have determined that there are no free-roaming, bad dogs in the neighborhood and you have a front yard that is big enough to comfortably allow your dog to roam and be away from any vehicle traffic, the last question you need to answer is if you are willing teach your dog about boundaries and coming when called. Spending about ten to fifteen minutes each day for a couple of weeks training your dog to come to you, no matter what the distance and the distraction will ensure your dog’s safety and make for happier front yard outings with your dog.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery County, northern Chester County and eastern Berks County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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