You are outside playing with your puppy and having lots of fun. Then, all of a sudden he sees something and runs off into the bushes and out of sight. Do you know what is in those bushes? You don’t want your puppy bitten or eating something that might make him sick. To help keep you puppy healthy and safe, here are tips to create a safe yard and happy play area.
First, think about your puppy – age, level of energy, breed of dog (hunters vs non-hunters) – and the interactions you want to have with you pup. Puppies have a natural tendency to explore new sights and smells. This increases their focus away from you and their home and increases the adrenaline to run after the distraction.
With this in mind, we need to create a “safety zone” where the puppy can play and have fun. We also need to create barriers that would keep the puppy from getting out of sight and running off. Play areas are a great way to do this. The first area could be in the back of the house. Create a perimeter that allows the puppy to be in the yard but not to approach the perimeter hedges or flower beds. Make a boarder about 10 feet back from the edge of the yard to assure he would never get close to that side. Also creating a “don’t go here area” along the sides of the house so that the puppy doesn’t just run from the back yard to the front without supervision. This provides a safe backyard area and keeps the puppy away from the bushes and plants.
If you want to allow your puppy access to the front yard, you need to create a safe area there too. Creating a perimeter will ensure your puppy stays on the grass and doesn’t think about going in the “big world” and exploring. This perimeter will also keep him safe while neighbors walk their dogs along the edge of your yard, either on the street or sidewalk. This is important because we need to carefully manage the initial social interaction between our puppy and other dogs. Establishing a perimeter that will always have other dogs come into our puppy’s safe zone defeats this purpose.
Now we have two, distinct play zones that are easily managed and create a safe place for your dog. In addition, you have naturally kept the puppy out of the flower beds and away from the edge of the property. All this makes the experience for the family easy and safe. You will be able to create lasting bonds while establishing clear and consistent boundary rules.
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 and northern Chester County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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