Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pooches:Dogs without Backyards

While I was at the Angels with Tails adoption event with Wilma, I was surprised how many people I met who thought they couldn't own a dog unless they also had a house and backyard. One of the reasons we write this blog is to show how easy it can be to live in the city with big dogs. Like we wrote earlier, we feel despite living in a 2-bedroom condo our daily walks give the pooches exercise and socialization. Being exposed to so many people, other dogs, and loud noises has made them more confident and well-mannered. Plus, we enjoy the time we spend together.
On our walks we always pass dogs, who have their own front yards, but also have incredible fence aggression. Each time we pass they bark and lunge at us. We have never seen these dogs on walks with their owners, and I think living in the city they need more walks, socialization and stimulation than being stuck in their own yard.
At the same time, we often find ourselves saying we can't wait for the time when we too will own a yard for the dogs to play in. We know how much our dogs would love the freedom to run at whim, and if we had a yard they could do it any time they wanted. Plus, it would make our lives easier because we wouldn't be forced to walk through rainstorms and blizzards.
Seeing both sides, I was just curious how everyone else felt about dogs and yards. Do you think dogs can be truly happy without their own yard to play in?


Anonymous said...

Ah, living in a house with a fenced in backyard doesn't necessarily preclude you from walking in crappy weather. My beloved Quizz won't go out in bad weather (i.e. pouring rain, terrible snow, etc.) unless he brings me with him. Apparently, if he has to go I must suffer the weather with him. On good weather days, he just enjoys the yard and it's squirrels. sigh.

He loves to watch people go by, out front as he basks in the sun. But the key is daily walks whether you live in a house or an apartment or a condo. Socialization and exposure to something other than the home yard is absolutely key to a happy dog.

BTW, every time you guys post a picture of your dogs peering over the edge of your balcony I just giggle.

Patty said...

I sure do! Walks make such a difference in a dog's socialization. When they only see their backyard... I'd think it would be sort of boring! Plus it gets the owners out too.

Anonymous said...

Although it depends on the dog and the owner, I think a dog could be happy anywhere if the owner is committed to meeting the dog's needs for exercise and socialization. If you have a high energy dog and live in an apartment, you'll need to make sure your dog gets enough exercise through long walks and maybe even doggie daycare, if there are any available in your area and you can afford it.

I once lived with a dog in an apartment in a boatyard. While I could never let her off-leash there, we walked the perimeter of the yard several times during the day and she got to meet the boat owners and their dogs as well as the boatyard staff.

I've also lived in houses with backyards where my dogs could run loose and play. But, they didn't get the socialization that my apartment dog got.

Unknown said...

I have a yard for my 2 big dogs and I still have to walk them for socialization, mental stmulation and exercise. A yard is just a big crate to my dogs - It was great the first few days but they grow tired of it just as im sure apartment dogs do of their homes - hence the walking and socialization. So I dont think it matters if you have a yard or not, what matters if you get your dogs out to exercise :)

Unknown said...

Although we have a big yard, we *just* got a fence in the last month. Because we did not have a fence previously I was forced to find stimulating/fun walks for the dogs. I personally think my dogs have a fantastic life! If anything, the new fence has made me slightly lazy and a few times I've put them out there to play in lieu of a walk...not a good habit!

Anonymous said...

Just look at the ads people write when they are trying to find new homes for their dogs: "needs yard/ needs room to run"... meaning "needs someone who will pay attention to the dog's physical and mental exercise needs, which I am incapable of"

So people believe it, though you show that it's clearly not true. Your dogs seem to have a great life!


Nubbin' Tails said...

We have a yard and to be honest we don't really use it for more than a bathroom. :-) Once in a while we get a game of zoomies going, but we really just like hanging out inside with our people. We go to daycare once a week, (when not newly coned) and get good exercise that way. We get walks, albeit short since Lucky can't do long ones anymore. So we are kinda like condo dogs, but mom and dad get the benefit of sending us out back in the snow, assuming we will even go out. Not liking to be wet and all.


Mr. Nubbin'

Anonymous said...

I am a huge proponent of walks! Though we have a yard, it is only partially fenced in, which makes it difficult to let Sock run free. In turn, we make sure he gets two long walks a day, with varying routes. You can definitely tell he appreciates it...his personality is completely different if for some reason we skip even one walk.

On a side note, I think daily walks creates a better image for bully breeds. People see them out in the streets with owners caring enough to walk them, and minds slowly begin to change. Our neighbors were not very keen on Sock until they began to see him daily, walking, smelling, and tail wagging like any other dog. It's done wonders for our family!

Anonymous said...

Um, well, we have a backyard but my mom and dad still have to take us for a walk around the block whenever there's rain or a snowstorm cuz, see, we pretty much refuse to go out in the backyard when there's rain or a snowstorm. Yep. We let dad take us around the block in a full-blown blizzard last year. He's very much lucky to have us.

We feel pretty lucky cuz we have a yard AND gets to go for walks. But I think I'd still be happy living in a condo as long as I got my walkies everyday. And I KNOW Brudder Ranger would. Despite being a terrierist, he's a bit of a couch potato.

Wiggles & Wags,

PeeS. Mom says she wants to blow a raspberry on Wilma's tummy.

Mollie Jo and Bobo said...

Let us first say that we love the first picture with each dog on a different slot...very cool and coordinated!!!!!!

mom here:
As per a yard until we moved here with our 2 acres of land I never owned a dog so I am spoiled to the fact the dogs have a large yard to run and play. Someday we hope to move into an apartment complex in our city to be closer to everything and I always thought the same thing they wouldn't be happy without a yard but with owning and living with a dog I have learned that they will be happy where ever their owner is...it just means more walks and a little less freedom. So there is my two cents.

Unknown said...

My Aunt and Uncles have a yard (Jacob, Mugsy, and Rogue) but no fence, they just use it for a potty. I'm about to move with my Mommies to a new condo where we will have no yard, but that just means once I'm big enough for a harness to fit me (Mommy Angie found me the smallest one she could but I still am too small!) Mommy Angie will take me on nice long walks! (Mommy says that she needs the exercise as much as I do, so she doesn't mind one bit!) I know that I will be happy and my Aunt and Uncles are all happy because they get to run inside the house! My Auntie (she's a pittie just like your two pups) LOVES to chase the Kong down the hall at my Grandparents house! And she goes on lots of walks with my grandma!

Kate said...

We bought a house with a yard specifically for our dogs, but to be honest, they were fine when we didn't have one too. It's nice and convenient to be able to just let them out there when they need to go, but we still walk them and they definitely thrive on having actual walks everyday. The yard will never replace walks.

In reality though, our dogs don't do much running around out there anyway. Molly and Melanie are getting older, so they mostly sunbathe. Nemo's marathon games of fetch are the biggest use for the yard. :)

Unknown said...

Mina lived for years without a backyard, and I can tell the difference in her happiness level with one (it's greater). Mina and Celeste both need off leash time to run - we can do a lot of that at work (600-acres, whoot) but now they have a nice big backyard to do it in too.

They still go on walks, but Mina prefers places where she doesn't encounter a lot of overstimulating creatures, like other dogs. :)

I figure each dog is different and what would be awful for Mina (life in a big city) is obviously quite enjoyable for your pups!

Coleen L. said...

Having a yard =/= the dog will exercise itself, especially if it is used to going on walks with you.

I had no yard at my townhouse. I would take my lab to my aunt's house to play with her lab in her backyard. If I went inside, Owen simply would stand at the back door and bark for me to come back out.

My new apartment has a courtyard. My dogs won't use it (unless the weather is bad, which was one of your mythical "pros" on having a yard). Well, my shepherd mix will, but my pit bull is too scared to go down the steps.

Walks are great teaching tools, great for socialization, and I believe dogs get better exercise on walks than playing in the backyard.

The Whitfields said...

Thank you, we hope the treatment will work too. She is such a busy dog that not exercising her is going to be difficult because she is used to serious exercise!

I think as long as they are exercised, they are completely fine. I wish I had a yard though!

John said...

hey there, my name is john...my wife and i are the ones who are doing a foster to adopt with wilma...everything so far is great...just wanted to know if you have anything that you and your husband observed with her that we should be aware of, any insight helps...feel free to email me at john.stockman@gmail.com...

Cupcake said...

I have a fully fenced yard and my dogs love to run free but I still walk them everyday and they really enjoy it. There are new smells on the walks and they get to see new people and dogs.

Luci's Mama said...

yes definitely! We also live in a two bedroom condo and make do just fine :) One of our neighbors down the street even has a great dane in her condo. I love going on our daily walks, it's the best part of the day besides night-time snuggling :)

brooke said...

We're in a tiny condo ourselves (with a giant dog)! While I want a house with a yard it'd mostly be to be so we'd be able to let Darwin run free if she wanted to for fetch or tug.... also eating outside would be nice for our kitchen floor. But she wouldn't stay out there very long.. she'd rather sleep on the couch than in the sun.

Two French Bulldogs said...

We don't understand why a "fenced backyard" is many times a requirement. Us kids could get more than enough exercise walkin with momma. No one should be left in a yard all by themselves. A yard is a big plus but just don't forget about us kids
Benny & Lily

bigalrlz said...

We have a yard but still walk our dogs daily, and when we do we often pass barking, stressed, upset dogs in yards. I tell our dogs to ignore them, they are just grumpy their people won't take them on a walk :( I think like all things, BALANCE is key :)

Anonymous said...

If you two are their human, any dog would be happy any where you were.

So sayeth,
Roo :)

Rescued Pittie Family said...

Yards are nice but my kids would be just as happy with frequent walks and running derby races up and down the stairs.
I think a loving, safe home is what's important.
Dogs are pretty easy to please and all they really need is love, good food and a human companion.

Your dogs are spoiled rotten. And they would probably be miserable in the boring suburbs. They have a great, exciting life and I bet they would not give it up for some silly yard.
I mean really.

Bijou said...

Hi everybuddy,

While we love our yard, it would be great if we "had" to go on walks for exercise. Our mom sometimes takes the lazy way out and just opens the back door and tells us to go play. Because of this we are not as social as we were last year. I think a dog can be happy without a yard so long as his hooman is willing and able to walk daily and hopefully more than once per day.


little princess Luna~ said...

hi pibbles and bully~! ;)
i think a pup can be happy even if they don't have their own backyard. i mean look at me? i am the most happy chi alive and i don't really visit the backyard--excpet for poo and peepee times. i love being indoors and i think my walks are good enough too (doggy park is not bad too). the same for my bully siblings. :)


Road Dog Tales said...

Ha! A fenced yard is just for potty breaks - not for exercise! We demand much more exercise than that! Cooper would have dug a hole to China if he didn't get lots of exercise. We used to go to parks for our exercise so we've been socialized. We have our own park now with ponds to play in real close to our house - so we just get in the dog van and drive there to swim and run. Hmmm, did that answer the question?

Road Dog Tales said...

Pee S - We came over here to say thanks for signing the petition and we got distracted by the whole exercise question thing!
The Road Dogs

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear your dog parks in Chicago are cement and overwhelmed by too many dogs.

When he gets the chance, Roo will endeavor to play in the park with all of you in mind :)

Kitty+Coco said...

Absolutely a fence and house are not necessary. Easier? Yes. We built a fence in the tiny tiny backyard for our girls and it makes it so much easier on me, but truth be told, they much prefer their walks.
We know for a fact how happy your three are so hopefully others who aren't sure about the yard situation will be encouraged.

Kitty and Coco's Mom

Those Elgin Pugs said...

Oh what sweet pho-toes!!!! SNORTS!!

Okay.. Mommy does volunteer works for NIPRA.. Northern Illinois Pug Rescue
(or Northern Il Puppy Mastiff Rescue for Anakin Man..'cuz he tinks he's a puppy Mastiff's - hee hee)

and a prerequisite when Mommy goes to house visits of applicants is a fenced in yards..

BUTT!! Hello!! First of alls, We's are Couch Pugtatoes..(just kidding) we's get exercise..snorts!!

Mommy agrees that people with fences sometimes just stick 'dere doggies in 'da yards and don't walk 'dem or play wits 'dem!!

Mommy doesn't do house trips no mores 'cuz she can't judge peeps - based off yards or no yard..

it's love and time!!

I say - Yous guys got it good and YES!! YOU CAN HAVE DOGGIES WITHOUT 'DA BIG YARD AND NO FENCE!!!!!

We have a yard wits fence and Mommy and Daddy still walks us, and never leave us outside unattended.. neighbors are likes..why 'da gets 'da fence?? Well, good points.. butt sometimes its fun to see 'dem run, but hey..dey can go do 'dat in a park too you know!!

Big Pug Hugs!!
Izzy, Josie and Anakin Man

Granite State Pet Sitting said...

We have a yard, but we also walk everyone everyday. I find if I don't walk my dogs they are all the wild side. My dogs have a fenced in backyard that they can play ball in and have a dog pool to horse around in. I never leave them in the yard when I am not home. They really rather be inside with me if I am not outside
with them!

houndstooth said...

We don't have our yard fenced yet, so it's walking for us. Our dogs seem pretty darned happy, but we do make an effort to make sure they get out and go to exciting places like the dog park, pet stores and some family events. I think it depends on your dog, too. Some dogs never get motivated to run around out in a fenced yard and need to walk, and others are the opposite. I really feel that the most important part is to find a good match of people and dog. If you both like to walk, then great, and if you both like hanging out in the back yard, that's cool, too!

Kari in Alaska said...

We miss having a backyard. Mostly its because now that we have a smaller dog who needs to go out and pee all the time. It becomes a big productions because the other too then want to go out as well.

Don't forget, we've move to dogisgodinreverse.com

jet said...

We have a very small yard now. Bender has lived in houses with large yards most of his life but he doesn't seem to miss it. If anything, he is less likely to hurt himself in our small yard because we can keep tabs on things like grass seeds more easily.

Even with a massive yard, Bender needed to be walked daily. Now that there are two of them in a smaller yard (150sqm) they still get daily walks on leash and weekly romps off leash in a fenced park.

I will probably start biking with them one day a week.

Lola and also Franklin, too said...

I have a yard and I do enjoy it, but not only do I love walks, I miss the city walks. Suburban walkies are just too quiet for my taste and don't involve meeting a lot of people. When we can walk in a town it's more to my taste, but we have to drive to get to a downtown area. I haven't used the yard for much this summer, though. It's been too hot. I think as long as we get our exercise and attention we can be happy in different environments. I think I'd give up the yard to live in the real city where you get to meet new people every day.

wags, Lola

Wyatt said...

We want it all! We love our walks and outings to different parks and trails, but we are dogs of the dirt. We love to dig and look for bugs, snakes and moles. Terriers need a daily dose of dirt!


Anonymous said...

A fence is a luxury, not a necessity. If the humans are dedicated to walking their pups every day and making sure they get enough exercise, then they absolutely don't need a fence.

ForPetsSake said...

I think a yard is nice for us, an extended territory for our dogs, and sadly, can be an easy way out of a walk. Too many people leave their pups outside and think it's enough. Walks are so important to dogs - they need all that stimulation! But a yard would be nice when my 2 get going in the living room ;) Much love to your pups!

the booker man said...

nope, you don't need to have a yard to have a dog! while it is nice to have a backyard to let asa and booker out to use the bathroom and burn off some energy before we walk, it's not 100% necessary. if you don't have a yard, it just means that you have to work a little harder to make sure your pooches get adequate exercise.

RED said...

fellow city dog owner here - our dog Zeus gets his three walks a day and loves them all. when we visit our family outside the city, it IS fun to see him running around a big fenced in backyard - he seems to really like that too. he doesn't seem to love dog parks, I think he's overwhelmed maybe? We do have a little patio out back that is enclosed for super emergency situations, which is nice to have if/when we need it- but we are all about the walks!! (also, people always stop us to remark how cute of a dog he is and ask us about what his breed is - so that's fun to hear, and makes the walks even sweeter!)

Mary said...

Well, I hope so because Levi has no yard! On the contrary, I think dogs need more than a yard to be happy. When we lived with my mom for six months, Levi had a very large yard. We still walked him three times a day, even in the snow. He sure wasn't going to go out in the yard and exercise himself. Maybe it's different if you have two dogs, but I think too many people assume their dog is getting enough exercise in their yard. And obviously socializing your dog is easier if you get out and walk him/her.

That being said, I can't wait to have a yard for Levi to get fresh air and lay out in the sun like a big, fat lizard.

Dexter said...

Yuh, we are lucky to have a big fenced yard, but lots of doggies are perfectly happy without, right? Just requires a different kind of care taking. Heck, I bet if I didn't have a yard I would get more walkies for sure so there is good and bad to both.


jen said...

great post, great question posed.

we just finished fencing in our courtyard, which is essentially a 20x30 foot area for small zoomies for our dogs. their main source of exercise and socialization remains in their walks.

i won't lie though, i'm thrilled to have the yard up should we have bad ice storms again this winter. i don't think i'll be risking my neck in those again this year. but i'm thinking that will jsut be one or two days out of 365 that they don't get twice daily walks!

Courtney said...

Up until recently, we've had fenced backyards. However, Chaos won't do anything but pee in our yard. Akitas are apparently really picky about their space and won't soil it if they can help it. So I have to walk him just so he'll poop. Currently, we're living in a rental with no fenced yard so he only goes out when I walk him (around 4 times a day). I can't wait until we get our house built so we have a fenced yard again! But I'll still be taking him on daily poop walks though.

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