The domestic dog is a social animal which thrives on mental and physical stimulation. He requires the company of his pack in order to have a fulfilled life. The indoor dog who lives in the body of the family unit receives the majority of its training in real-life situations, all day, every day. He is calmer in the house, because it isn't a novelty to be there.
outdoor "farm dog" had a job which kept him physically and mentally satisfied,
and he worked side by side with his master every day. He didn't spend hours
and hours in a boring backyard with the same old bone, pacing the same old fence,
or worse, left on a chain running around and around in circles. Having another
dog for "company" doesn't solve the problem - you just have two dogs starving
for attention and needing a job.
Many behavior problems are consistently seen and are exaggerated in outdoor dogs:
Due to the novelty of the infrequent attention it receives, the dog is on an adrenaline "high" every time its owners appear. He's not stupid - he's just not thinking; he's reacting. No matter how much training you do, the sheer excitement of your arrival makes it nearly impossible for the dog to listen and follow directions.
So frantic to get close to its people, the outdoor dog launches himself to get as close to visitors as possible. The chained dog leaps in frustration at the end of his tether while his people stand just out of reach - where it's safe.
Boredom barking: bark-bark ... bark, bark, bark ... bark, bark. Howl. Excitement barking, barking to get attention - even if the attention is a momentary face in the window yelling "shut up!"
chewing, and other destructive behaviors.
He needs interesting activities to stimulate him mentally and physically and if left to his own devices, will make up his own games.
If a dog's social needs and physical exercise requirements aren't met at home, he will go elsewhere to gain the attention and social life that it misses in its lonely backyard.
How can he be good at something when he gets so little chance to practice it? The "mostly outdoor - gets to come in every once in awhile" dog is a maniac when he comes in, so he is let in less often, so he gets even less practice, so his behavior gets even worse, so he is rarely invited in. It's a vicious cycle.
He barks and the "intruders" seem to run away. How is the dog supposed to know that the mailman was leaving anyway? Kids seem to be "teasing" the dog as they hop, skip and run by - bikes and skateboards are particularly aggravating, not to mention the few kids who do purposely tease the dog who can't get away.
doesn't have a job - so he makes up his own.
Self-appointed jobs are rarely the ones you would have chosen. The Labrador might dismantle the deck or rid the yard of pesky rosebushes. The Malamute might dig to China. You can't prevent or re-direct behaviors that you're not there to see!
This handout may be reprinted in its entirety for distribution free of charge and with full credit given:
© CAROL A. BYRNES "DIAMONDS IN THE RUFF" Training for Dogs & Their People -
ditr_training @ hotmail.com - http://www.diamondsintheruff.com
"Dogs in the Country"