Sunday, April 20, 2008
Tank is my next door neighbors' dog. He's a Border Collie or Australian Shepherd or a similar type of sheep herding breed. He's young, barely out of puppyhood. And he is, like all sheep herding dogs, VERY smart and VERY energetic. And for the last 7 months since my neighbors moved in, he's been chained up in the back yard. It's not entirely their fault. They are renting and the landlord won't allow pets inside. And although he agreed to build them a fence when they moved in last fall, he didn't. So they had to keep him chained up. He just completed their fence and now Tank is "free to roam the backyard." But people, dogs are NOT meant to be chained up! And that includes roaming the back yard. Since I watched my first episode of The Dog Whisperer last year, I've come to believe deep in my heart with so much conviction that I'm practically neurotic about it, that dogs need to go for walks. It's in their nature to migrate with the pack. And unless they go for pack walks (with you as the pack leader), they will not be happy. Cesar Milan (the Dog Whisperer) says that a backyard is just a bigger kennel. It doesn't make up for lack of exercise, and it doesn't establish a pack leader. Only walking your dog on a short leash--his head up, looking forward like a wolf pack on the move--gives your dog a sense of happiness and purpose, establishes the social order of his pack (your family), and releases his pent up energy.
Tank is a good dog. A sweet-natured dog. But he has WAY too much pent up energy. He's never been for a walk that I can tell since he moved in. He barks like Kujo at anyone who passes (even though he's not actually agressive). He has worn a path in the grass from one side of the yard to the other as he has run the length of his chain back and forth. He jumps on people he knows instead of sniffing or wagging his tail like a good dog. All of these are signs of pent up energy and lack of a pack leader. I wish like anything that I could take Tank for walks. He could be such a happy dog if he could get out some of that pent-up energy!
Well, my point to all of this is: If you have a dog, please, please, PLEASE take your dog for a walk. Every day. Be a responsible dog owner. Don't assume that being in the backyard by himself is enough exercise for your dog. Even little dogs, so-called "indoor" dogs or "lap dogs" need to walk with the pack leader. You know those yappy, snippy little dogs? The ones likely to bite your hand off if you go near them? Pent up energy. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, just watch one episode of The Dog Whisperer. When Cesar cures the most viscious, destructive, hyper, naughty, posessive, obsessive, and yappy dogs in several hours just by establishing a pack leader and taking the dogs for walks, you'll be convinced. And you will give your dog the best gift you could ever give him: letting him be the dog he was meant to be, not just a 4-legged additional child in your family.