Backyard Dogs

Michael Baugh, CPDT-KA, CDBC

HOUSTON – This time of year especially, dogs in Texas spend a lot of time outdoors. It’s part of our culture. It’s also true that a lot of our dogs do quite well on their own outdoors in safe secure yards. They lounge about, chew on appropriate items like bones, sun themselves, or play with a sibling our housemate. Some even have doggie doors so that they can freely move from inside to outside at their own discretion.

If you have one of these dogs, my hat is off to you. This article is not about your dog. It is about the problem behaviors many other dogs develop from being left unattended (sometimes for days) in backyards on their own. It’s a long list. I’ll keep this one short, however.

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Fearful Dogs

Stella looking a bit worried. Photo Courtesty Robyn Arouty Photography


HOUSTON – Fear in dogs is rather common, just as it is in humans. In fact, in both species it’s normal. Fear has an evolutionary function. In the proper context it protects the gene pool. Remember survival of the fittest? The cautious survived too. Keep that in mind.

Curiosity in dogs (and people) is also normal. We’re both social creatures. In the case of dogs, curiosity conquers fear easily in the early stages of development. Around the age of 5 weeks, dogs become mobile and start taking in their environment. By the time they go home with their new families at about the age of 7-8 weeks, they are in their prime for meeting and bonding with human beings.

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