Your Dog Outdoors
Inevitably at some point your dog needs to be outdoors, regardless of whether it is inside 90% of the time. Even an inside pet needs to be taken to the vet at some point. Your pet needs to be able to know how to behave and react in an outdoor setting.
If you are transporting a pet that does not normally go outside, be sure the pet is on a leash. You do not want it to be startled and escape from your protecting arms. You can attach the leash to a halter or collar.
Some pet owners leave their dogs outside during the day while they are at work. If your pet is such an outdoor animal, be sure that you supply water and shelter for it. Make sure it has a water bowl that is always full, especially during hot summer days. In winter, you will have to have some way to make sure the water doesn’t freeze. Also, you need to provide a house for shelter for hot or cold weather. The sun can be as harmful to your dog as the cold can be. There are many good dog-houses available if you look around.
You may have a dog that remains outside and is not allowed in the house, perhaps due to allergies in the family. If such is the case, however, be sure that you spend time with your pet outdoors. It is cruel to simply leave it to itself all the time. You can even get your pet a companion so that it has company and is not so lonely.
A word about leaving your pet outdoors, especially in colder climates: Be very concerned about the really cold temperatures if your pet is always outdoors. Even if you supply your pet with an insulated dog house, if the temperature drops significantly your pet can still freeze or die. During extreme temperature drops, if you care about your pet, it is wise to let it sleep indoors in a garage or a back porch area.
You are fortunate today that there are many pet owners who have the same needs as you do. If you do not have a backyard at all, or even one large enough for your dog to exercise in, most cities now provide a space for a dog park. These parks are created especially for dogs to be able to run, play, and social with other dogs. They are great places for pet owners to meet, share and interact with other pet owners.
If you do take your dog to a dog park, there are certain rules that you should follow. First, make sure that your dog is healthy and parasite free, and that all his shots are up-to-date. You do not want your pet to catch anything from another dog whose owner may not be as conscientious as you are. Also, be sure that your dog is able to interact and socialize with other dogs appropriately—you do not want a dog-fight on your hands. And, even though the dog parks are supposed to be pet-friendly, keep an eye on your dog so that he doesn’t get into mischief—like getting into garbage cans or other people’s things.
When at the dog park, do not feed or reprimand other people’s pets. And only bring along a toy that your dog is willing to share with other dogs. Dog parks are usually surrounded by fences and/or gates so be sure that you close any gates behind you so other’s pets cannot escape.
Ideal components for the overall health of your pet
Walking your dog:
Taking your dog for a walk is a good way for you both to get exercise. It can also be a great way to interact with your pet and to let your dog know who the leader in this relationship is.
Always walk your dog on a leash attached to a collar or halter. It is a good idea nowadays to also muzzle your pet if there is a risk he may be a biter. Some cities have rules to this effect—check what your local by-laws dictate.
When walking your dog, he should walk slightly behind you (remember you are the leader) and should never be ahead ‘pulling’ you. The leash should be held slack and your dog should keep pace with you (not the other way around). Your dog should be able to ignore others on the walkway, even other dogs that they pass by. All of this may take a little training, but if you are firm it can be accomplished with any type of dog, large or small.
Be aware of the local by-laws with regards to your dog’s excrement. Plan ahead and bring alone a plastic bag and ‘pooper scoop’ to clean up after your dog along any walkways. And, be sure to deposit the filled bag in an appropriate place.
If you find that you need help in training your dog to walk on a leash properly, there are many professional trainers that you can refer to.
If you do not have the time to walk your dog yourself, you can use professional dog-walkers. Or, you can hire a neighbor or friend to walk your dog for you.