Backyard time can be fun for a dog but when it becomes the sole source of activity, it can easily lead to problems.
Like humans, dogs require physical exercise as well as mental stimulation. While a dog can run around and tire himself out in a yard he requires a change of scenery and environment in order to fully engage his mind and help his social development.
Behavioral problems arise when boredom develops from being confined in the same location day after day with no other outlet.
If you want to create a feeling of frustration in a dog, a great way to do it is to isolate his movements and limit his access to nearby stimulus. This means that the dog can observe people and other dogs walk by, but is unable to interact with them.
We see this commonly in dogs that have been confined to a shelter for an extended period of time. Another example is the stereotypical junkyard dog that is tied or chained to a post and growls or lunges at everyone walking by. Unable to greet or interact with each person it sees over time, the dog’s frustration manifests in undesirable and potentially scary behaviors.
But these are only the external manifestations of a deeper feeling of frustration that grows and leads to major behavioral issues, such as aggression.
It’s important to understand that dogs are not born with these characteristics but that these are traits that build up over time from a frustrated mind.
It’s not unusual for owners to observe this kind of behavior and chalk it up to just another annoying and barky dog without fully understand the root cause of the problem. This issue goes back to our understanding of what the dog needs and wants and a failure to meet those basic requirements.
Needless to say, it is not a good idea to provide little else in the way of exercise or exposure for a dog other than a backyard.
What you eventually end up with is a dog with so much energy and frustration that they prove difficult to control and train, as well as one that is greatly under socialized.
So what do you do?
Try taking your dog on daily walks to supplement her backyard time. Games and training time are also fantastic ways to engage your dog and keep her occupied.