Dog Space Problem?
When I hear someone opine how much they love dogs but don’t have enough space to take care of one, I wonder, is this a space problem or a laziness problem? Although there are many unique challenges to raising dogs in the city, space does not have to be one of them. Dogs are time intensive, not space intensive. While fostering dogs, one of the most common excuse or reason I hear from people about why they don’t have dogs or why they can’t volunteer to be foster parents is because they don’t have a backyard or the “space”. I want to shed some light on this issue and squash this misconception.
Is Home Space That Important for Your Dog?
Dogs are scavengers and foragers that love to walk, journey, explore and to be outside, not in a big fancy house, an apartment or in a fenced in backyard playing by themselves, with little human interaction. Furthermore, there is no better way to bond with your best friend than to take a dog walk together. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to socialize your dog with other people, pets, animals, nature, inanimate objects, sounds smells, sights and noises all while positive reinforcement dog training. Experience life together and establish that unbreakable connection where your pup looks to you for direction and to please you. This is established and solidified on walks with your dog, not by leaving them alone or in a backyard to do as they please. A large backyard or a large house where the stereotypical pet parent “checks out” and lets their dog/s do whatever it is that they want, makes it easy to lose this valuable opportunity to socialize, train, exercise and experience the world together. Without walks together and proper dog training and education your dog is doomed to have socialization or behavior problems down the road. Enrichment is vital for a healthy dog. Space is relative and not as important for dogs as it is perceived for humans.
Dogs are den animals; they enjoy nestling and crawling into small, dark spaces. If there was a television show, such as MTV Cribs, for dogs, instead of a multimillion dollar ostentatious, immense mansions with scented perfumes pumped through the air ducts, with marble floors in Beverly Hills, there would be a small crate or dog house that provided shelter, clean water, had a comfortable dirt or grass floor and the scent of the choice would be a real smelly fish or dead carcass perfume. This innate behavior is in a dog’s DNA. They are not superficial or materialistic like humans (one of the reasons we love them so much) nor do dogs care what style sweater they wear or what their new collar or leash looks like, they simply want to bond with you, go for long walks, get trained, learn, be enriched, love and be loved and to be with you. Food, water, shelter, mental and physically exercise, learning, love and affection, that’s what’s important. If your home is big enough for you, it is big enough for your dog. Dogs can live in far smaller spaces then humans can.
So enough with the fallacy that you have no space to make a difference and foster or adopt a dog, because you do. As far as exercise goes, the only thing a dog needs is your time to train and walk with them and you will have a much happier dog living in a small apartment in Manhattan verses a dog that lives in a McMansion with a big back yard with a human that doesn’t spend the time walking and bonding with them. Some words to live by; if it’s comfortable for you, it’s more than comfortable for your dog!
Written by shelter dogs everywhere.
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