Disclaimer: This is a topic that’s been on my mind for awhile now. It’s a little scattered and a bit of a mind dump but I hope some of you out there can relate and share your thoughts with me. Ok. Rant before rant over.
I live in a large community of townhouses. I’ve lived her for almost 4 years. Our pet restrictions are as follows: no more than 2 pets, dogs must be under 45 lbs and breed restrictions apply.
Through fences, I have seen pitbulls, large labs, bulldogs, huskies, etc. And while I kind of love that these restrictions are obviously very flexible (my landlord often sees me walking large client pups in and out of our place and never seems to mind), I also know that most of these dogs hardly ever see the outside of their (very small) yards.
Of course it was a total bonus for me to move into a place with a fenced-in yard, but ours is strictly used for sunbathing, potty training foster pups, and quick nighttime potty breaks. Rufus does not “exercise” in his backyard and he barely hangs out there 99% of the year.
We walk. We travel to parks. We hike. We socialize with clients. We walk some more. We get out of our tiny bubble every single day.
And while I completely understand that not everyone has the luxury of taking their dog to work with them or even on vacations and day trips, I think that every single dog deserves to explore their own neighborhood at the very least. New scents and daily stimulation are so important for a dog’s well-being, don’t you think?
I don’t preach much on this little ole blog, but this happens to be a matter very close to my heart. I have a dog that can be a little bit of a handful in certain situations, but that would never keep me from exposing him to new things. We’d both be miserable if I did and that’s just not ok with me.
Oh, and I also socialize dogs for a living. Minor detail.
Generally speaking, I know that a lot of people get their dogs out of some American habit – as gifts, because they think every home needs a dog, or whatever else reason pops into their mind. It doesn’t make them bad people – they just may not be educated in the same way that us crazy dog bloggers seem to be.
So what have I done to fix this? Well I lead by example…a lot! Everyone in my complex comments on how lucky Rufus is to be walked so much. Some people have even gone as far to say thing like, “I didn’t even recognize you without Rufus by your side!” Hilarious. True but hilarious.
But that’s all I’ve really done so far. Once I gave a neighbor tips on how to get her wild pup under control during walks and it really seemed to motivate her, but I only saw her out with her dog a handful of times before she seemed to have given up. :sigh:
So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing: commenting and educating when necessary and hope that things change through kind words and knowledge. That’s how I’ve always done thing.
Side note: Halfway through writing this post, I ran into a neighbor while walking Rufus and actually had a really long conversation on training her dog to walk safely on a leash so that this time together is more enjoyable for the both of them. It went really well and she and I are going to do a few mini training sessions this week. If that isn’t positive manifestation, I don’t know what is!
Do you come from a similar situation? Or is your neighborhood full of dogs crowding the streets regularly? I know that whenever I spend any time Portland, I see dogs EVERYWHERE and it makes me so happy. More of that please!
*Of course I know there are always exceptions – fearful dogs that prefer the comfort of a routine and become inconsolable in new situations, etc. I’m just talking about the majority of dogs that deserve more and would benefit greatly from all of the things I stated above. We all deserve a little adventure!