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The (Mis)Adventures of a Back-Yard Dog

Location: The Smith’s Home

Time: 3.5 weeks after Puppy was brought home

Up-to-date Partial List of Owner Mistakes: *Failure to properly crate-train puppy *Failure to properly potty-train puppy *Failure to put into effect a total management system *Failure to provide acceptable mentally & physically enriching stimulation

Up-to-date Partial List of Puppy Mistakes: Little to None. The puppy’s perceived misbehavior by the human world is simply normal and natural puppy behavior in the dog world.

“That’s it! I’ve had enough. You’re going outside!”

And just like that, puppy is now left to his own devices in the back yard. Puppy has worn out his welcome inside with his jumping and pottying and shoe-chewing and that is it! So instead, puppy will be relegated to the backyard where he can potty and jump and chew…. Not shoes. It may seem like a better alternative, but little do you know-those bad habits indoors are only going to multiply, left unchecked, in the back yard. Puppy has now gone from some form of human interaction to little or none. This is going to create quite a deficiency of entertainment for pup, so he’s probably going to start finding other forms of entertainment. This will usually manifest into attempting to tunnel to China, barking incessantly at squirrels, neighbors, cats, etc, scratching and/or chewing at the back door-possibly causing leaks the next time it rains (I’ve seen it happen), and the list goes on (and on, and on).

Most new dog owners jump through hoops in preparation for the arrival of a new puppy. But oftentimes, the preparation for training and providing mental and physical stimulation is left to the way-side. When we, as dog-owners, fail to provide this training and enrichment we will often see a lot of perceived “misbehavior” from our pups. This misbehavior can often lead unprepared owners into a feeling of helplessness and a “I’m not cut out for this” mentality. In this case, it is often the dog that suffers the biggest blow though. Being relinquished to the backyard, or basement, or even the shelter. It is important that, as dog-owners, we make it a point to prepare and understand canine behavior and allow and teach our dogs to take advantage of acceptable outlets for their extra energy. Starting training early and continuing training throughout our dog’s life is an excellent source of entertainment and challenge.

Oftentimes, the backyard or basement seems to be a quick fix for our current puppy-problems. And we use this “quick fix” only to find that now, instead of shoes, it is the back-porch steps or the basement drywall being chewed. However, by the time we notice these issues, the pup is no longer a pup and instead of these being easy-to-fix accidents, they are full blown bad habits. And habits, as you know, take much more time, work, patience, and consistency to change.

If you’ve gotten to the point that pup has become “too much” to be inside or, even better, pup hasn’t gotten to that point, but you want to prevent it-look into a local training program. It could save countless shoes and potentially your pup’s life.

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