'Free Dog - needs space to run...'

lilodOctober 6, 2006

I see this type of ad many times, often describing high energy dogs living in restricted space, driving their owner crazy, I suppose. So they want to do the dog a favor and send it to the country, where it can ran free.

This is about the biggest misconception. Country dogs are definitely not encouraged to "run free". I live in the country and the dogs I know have been trained to understand the boundaries of the property they live on, are outside under supervision, are confined over night and at the owner's absence, whether house-dogs or dog-pen dogs, working dog or pet.

Any dog roaming un-restricted has an irresponsible owner, gets into trouble - often with fatal results.

I did have city visitors bringing their dogs and letting them loose, and when I requested they control them, they thought I was daft.

Someone in the area had a couple of Shar-Peis running loose at night, they dug under the goat-pen (hot-wire kept them from going over the fence) and attacked and nearly killed one of my goats. Later I found out they killed several goats in the area - and they were never heard of again, probably got shot.

It's very rural here, we do not have easy acess to Animal control or the Police, we know we are responible for our dog's behavior and that's ok.

If they run free, they probably get eaten, we have Mt.Lions on patrol. If they bother livestock, they likely get shot, the rancher has the right to do so.

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High energy dogs need a job and lots of exercise with the supervision of their owners. I own an aussie who helps us out with our livestock, is trained in agility but lives within her boundaries. When we are outside, she is outside with us and is never allowed to roam. She stays with us in the house if we are in the house. If a high energy dog is allowed to roam they will get in trouble so they need a lot of supervised exercise, a "job" and alot of attention. In my humble opinion, I cannot imagine letting my dog loose to just roam as it would hurt me badly if she got lost, hurt or shot and I had done nothing to protect her. Others may think differently, but where I live I have seen dogs that have been dumped "pack" into wild dogs. It is so sad. I just don't understand that mindset of people that get the "cute" little puppy without the lifetime of care commitment.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 12:50AM
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It's a shame that many people don't take the time to talk to breeders and read publications to determine what type of dog, if any, will suit their lifestyle. They just see a cute little puppy and take it home.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 1:46PM
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Yes, karyn. Just look at the border collie and Australian Shepherd Rescue Org. out there. Well, look at all the high energy dogs, mainly Shepherd Breeds that someone thought was a cute puppy but did not consider they are high energy, demand a job, and lots of exercise. Then they give it to someone who lives out in the "country" who lets them roam free. Alot of times they will pack up with wild dogs.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 7:56PM
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This may be a diversion from the original topic, but my neighbors bought an Austrailian Shepherd (I think - she almost looks like a cross between an Aussie and a Sheltie, but I'm not sure) just to stick in their back yard and ignore. I pet her over the fence when I go outside, and coo to her. She is such a sweet dog. I wish that people would THINK before acting. These people also had a Jack Russel (I know their name was changed, but I don't remember what the new name is.), and commented that they didn't know they were so high energy. They ended up giving her away. I guess that's part of the point of the post, though, people getting dogs without thinking, without doing the research. What's funny is that a little exersize would do the people some good. They are both over weight and diabetic. I know that's beside the point, but if they'd just take her for a couple of good walks a day that would be an improvement for both the people and their poor dog. I don't wish for this dog to be able to run free and unsupervised, I just wish for her to be given the proper exersize and entertainment - or work - that she deserves.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 9:20AM
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Working dog breeds need to work, they weren't bred for companion animals although they may make great companions if they are kept busy with training or play.

Dogs don't want to just "roam free" or "have room to run"

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 2:48PM
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Hmm, I never interpreted that sort of ad as to mean "running all over the place unsupervised". Is that because I am in the north east and you guys are out in the untamed west or a very rural area?

I have 2 acres inside an underground fence. When we are not home, the dogs are inside. When we are home, they are in and out, mostly in with us by choice. We're outside every chance we get though, and the dogs are out there with us...only they are playing ball, sprinting around playing "catch me" and other doggie games. They have lots of room to run.

I always thought those ads were placed by people who wanted to make sure their dogs would be adopted by people with large yards. Even dog rescue groups will specify that certain dogs need lots of room to exercise in....but they say upfront that is inside a fence.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 10:07PM
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sally2- Parson Russell terrier is the new name the akc recognizes of course JACK is still far more commonly used.

And yeah I too assumed "Needs space to run" means exactly that... Have a big secure yard not a townhouse or row house or condo or apartment or houseboat.

I can really demostrate this need for the boys to run. For the past 3 weeks my back yard has been under lawn renovation and up until last friday was closed to the dogs. They used the sideyard instead which is really too small to get a get run in so they didn't. They basically went 3 weeks without a run except for on leash and at the bark park. On friday when I reopened the back yard the first thing they did was dart around in circles, frollicking happily that they have space to run in again. Really did a number on the new grass though LOL. I guess it's sort of like keeping the floors clean with shaggy dogs, you have about 10 minutes to enjoy it.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 9:11PM
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From the other point of view-- any of you been divorced? Broken up a friendship that was making you unhappy? Were you publicly reviled for doing so?

We researched for years before getting a dog. We got a mixed breed puppy from a rescue group. He's a sweetheart, but he urinates daily inside (a) the house I'm currently selling (b) my new house under construction. I am best friends with the enzyme spray. He routinely urinates on visitors. He escapes every chance he gets because he dearly loves to chase rabbits and generally doesn't return for an hour or two. I have told the children not to chase him because I am terrified one of them will follow him into the street. We do what we can-- walk him daily, take him to the dog park, he is never alone except for the 2 days that I am at work. If this were my DH, I would have been divorced by now for incompatibility, and I think I could have done that with far less public disapproval than trying to find another home for the dog.

I did place an ad exactly like this and decided not to give him away despite 7 offers to take him-- partly because I am fond of him in spite of everything, partly because dog-lovers have me convinced he is my cross to bear. Is he really better off with us? We'll never know. He's not two yet, I have been told he will settle out when he gets older. I sure hope so.

I don't expect to find sympathy here, I just wanted to represent the other point of view.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 9:13AM
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What is our point of view? You are fond of the dog, what makes you assume someone else would be?
Here is the story of Lady:
I adopted her, a friend of a friend needed to find a home (or the pound) for her. Six years old, beautiful dog, supposed to be part Border Collie because she had the "herding instinct".
After I committed myself and Lady was delivered I discovered that she had been allowed to roam free in the city, that she was not trained to come when called, that she was very cat-aggressive and didn't have a herding, but a prey drive.
She was personable and charming and I had committed myself, so we worked things out.
I have a lot of land for a dog to run, but Lady choose to run on the road or to neighbor's houses, chase cats and everything else.
So in the six years she lived with me, in the country, she never was off-leash. Lady was a good companion, a fine house-dog, and I managed to desensitize her to my cats, but she still was cat-agressive to my daughter's cats.
Was she better off? I don't know. She had diverticulitis, another reason she could not be off-leash, in the country there are so many things to find and eat, she had to be on a controlled diet.
Eventually she got ill with congestive heart failure, it got worse and worse, so finally I had to let her go.
I am re-habbing another dog now - a cow-dog who lived on a ranch for five years, had been severely abused and is finally coming around. At least she is the type who sticks around the home-place, has a job: herding the goats, but she's shy.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 1:07PM
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Demeron, with all due respect, you cannot compare owning a dog with human relationships like marriage, parenting or friendship. We love our animals, but we are stewards over them, not partners or parents.

Also, whoever told you your dog would "settle out" is wrong. At his age, he should not be urinating in the house. Take him to a vet to make sure there are no internal problems; if his bill of health is clean, start re-housebreaking. Also, if he is not neutered, that may be causing some of your urination problems.

I don't mean to sound mean, but your dog sounds completely untrained and out of control. Urinating on visitors? Escaping? These need to be addressed. Often, though it is the human that needs the training more than the dog.

This kind of life isn't fair to him and it certainly sounds like you're not enjoying it much either. So, I say, forget about what other people think/say about you, if you cannot give this dog a proper home with proper discipline, please give him to someone who can.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 1:10PM
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Yes, commitment is a very important. We have 4 dogs, one of which is 15. Our 6 year old used to be an escapee when we opened the door and it took alot of training to teach her not to run the neighborhood. She was abondoned as a pup and was roaming freely when we got her. We have had our 7 year old for 2 years and she was a fenced yard dog/house dog, she also like to run when given the chance and our 3 year old was also a fence-outside dog.
Our back yard is divided into 2 parts, one which is completely fenced and the other which is partially fenced.
Part of our training besides lots of love and vocal discipline is that we allow our 15 year old and 6 year old into the partially unfenced areas with us while the other 2 watch. When we feel comfortable we let one out and watch them closely to correct them if they want to run. It is working well for the 7 year old as she is more receptive to discipline as time passes. You have to treat them like children as you never want them to leave your eyesight. Our 3 year old is not there just yet, but with time I know he will learn his parameters too. They love to go out of the fence with us and run around, it's like a whole new world to them.
I think the better you treat your dog with love and discipline the more willing they are to please and listen.
Just my Opinion.
Love my pups, Christy

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 8:49PM
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I have debated with myself as whether to post this or not. Some dear members can be rather umm mean, and condescending. Remember, this is my opinion.
I have never had a great success record with older rescue dogs, and will never own another one.
I have had 2 in my life and I had to spend a small fortune on obedience and training for them. They came with so much baggage from being abused. I just am not the right owner for older rescue dogs.
I have raised one puppy that was a rescue and that was an extremely enjoyable experience. Hobo was a cocker spaniel mix. I loved that dog, he was no problem at all,and I did all the training myself. He was obedient, loving, and quick to learn tricks.
Since my experience with the two older rescue dogs, I have bought my dogs from a reputable breeder. I know what I need and want. When I picked out the breed, I pretty much knew what to expect, but with a mixed breed you get what you get. NOW this is MY opinion and what I have experienced. Others with much better training skills are called to help these poor rescue dogs. The two that I had were so possessive of my husband and me. Aggressive toward other people. Like I have said, I spent a small fortune on their training. It has been over 10 years ago that my last rescue dog died. He had cancer and I swore I would never get another dog. Then a breeder talked to me about investigating what kind of pure bred dog would be best for me. I did this and have never been sorry.
When people in the city get a dog they need to consider what that dog needs as far a physical activity and the time they can spend with it. Also pure bred or not purebred.
If you think I don't like rescue dogs you are so wrong. I volunteer at the local animal shelter with their feeding, cleaning up their poo, and washing down kennels, also I walk them. I have all the dogs I want but I still like to do what little I can. I just don't have a desire to bring one home. Call it cold. Sorry. I dislike the people that abused these poor creatures. I love them at the shelter and hope someone like are on this site will adopt them.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 4:09AM
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Allowing a dog in rural areas to wander (run free) is asking for it to be shot. Rural land/farm owners can shoot any free roaming dog if it enters their property and is perceived (subjective, of course) to be a threat to their family/livestock. No questions asked or answered.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 10:17AM
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You are correct, webcat. Consider also that loose dogs tend to want to pack up and then become much more of a threat. Many very early morning roaming packs are actually family pets that have formed this sort of association and roam the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 10:56AM
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We got a pair of shih tsus. A large part of that is that they don't need much room to run, though we have 2 acres, 1.5 of which are woods that the dogs love to explore hunting for deer poop. They get lots of exercise chasing eachother around the house and on short walks. My wife and I both work- the 2 keep eachother exercised and company during the work day.

My ex-wife got a rescue dog that was maybe 5 years old. He's about the best behaved dog I've ever seen, and sweet as pie. Tell you what- he must be a saint to put up with that woman :)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 1:21PM
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Well, to play devils advocate "room to run" could be a large backyard and a son who will spend time throwing the ball to retrieve. The people advertising the dog are stating in the best way they know howÂbe aware this dog needs lots of exercise to be happy. They arenÂt asking for a country estate, a 500-acre farm, or a career in dog racing. Room to run might mean frequent trips to a dog park. It's also very clear "room to run" is not an owner over 75 needing knee replacement.

Being the sometimes-baffled owner of a very, very high-energy border collie, I have found "room to run" means a whole lot of things. Unless you have owned a high-energy dog, or psychotic maniac as I affectionately think of her, you have no idea of the problems. Training helps but these dogs are usually of exceptionally high intelligence. When you arenÂt there, they will always be thinking of ways to amuse themselves or ways to overcome obstacles. Obstacles like being inside when they want to be outside. Windows are no longer an obstacle for my Aggie. Fences aren't an obstacle either. SheÂs a problem solver! Outside of buying a heard of goats, whatÂs the solution? This dog is on the move for 18-hours a day. We have reached a compromise that we are both somewhat happy with. Good luck to anyone who finds themselves living with a dog like this.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 2:45PM
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In defense of demeron, I think she was saying some people give you more negative flack for trying to find a new home for a dog than they do for breaking up a marraige. I do wonder if you've tried obedience school, Demeron? It can make a world of difference. Urinating on people can be a sign of over excitement or extreme submissiveness....or a health problem.

When we adopted our 1 year old "wild" rescue dog it made all the difference in the world to take her to "school". I can humbly admit that the real training was on US, my son and I, and we trained the rest of the family. We had to learn how to handle her. We went from thinking she was a stubborn idiot who didn't understand the word "no" to the realization that she was a highly intelligent animal who would take any inch we allowed her. She trained very quickly once we learned how to work with her.

rthummer, we need more people like you to care for the animals that no one else wants. You may be the last kind word they hear or the last hug they receive. Whatever heaven you believe in, there's special place there for you.

I'm saddened to hear about negative experiences with rescue animals. Do you guys means rescues or SPCA's? One of the objectives of rescues (rather than SPCA's) is to place the animals in homes where they will fit in. All 3 of the dogs I've had in my adult life have been rescues and involved a lot of dialog with the rescue organizations. Harley came house broken, was good with children and cats, listened well and trained quickly, just as the foster mom said. Our Roxie was a wild thing who climbed on counters and burst through doors, but with training she came around in a matter of weeks. We were advized of all of this by the foster mom. Atticus at 3 years old was a well trained 80 pound labrador who walked on a leash like a perfect gentleman, responded instantly to all basic commands, and is working on his manners around cats. Roxie fell in love with him after Harley passed away, which is why we agreed to work through his cat issues. Adopting an older dog that has been fostered is a really good idea as long as the fosters are honest and have the animal's best interest at heart.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 9:10PM
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Claysoil, that was also my experience. We went through a breed specific adoption group and the foster was honest with me. We were also very honest with her.

We have two perfect (ok nearly perfect!) adopted adult Corgi's and I LOVE them so much! I feel so blessed to be given two great dogs. They needed some training. My youngest one used to try to herd me by nipping me. After about a month he stopped that. I know corgi's often do this so I knew how to handle it and knew he wasn't trying to hurt me.

I do not think I would have gone to the SPCA just because I do not have much experience training dogs and was worried that we would end up with an aggressive dog.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 5:10PM
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People need to look into breeds before getting one. I own a very high-energy dog. She's a jack russell terrier. She makes a great dog just as long as someone in the family plays with her some each day whether chasing one another tgrough the house for an hour or throwing frisbees and balls outside. she is a great listener and knows not to run off. she will stay within the yard unless she sees a dog walking around by itself. But, for the most part she definately doesn't need a free space to run around in. We moved into a new house in September and we don't even have a fenced in backyard yet.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 7:23PM
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One time not so very long ago I thought a JRT was the dog for me. A friend has one, then got another pup. He did his best to try to talk me into getting the sister of the pup. I came oh so very close but glad I had the sense enough to stay strong and "just say no!" It wouldn't be fair, especially to an energized pup to be left alone all day.

Now, one of you guys have gotten my DH in trouble. (Well, actually he's working on that himself) Someone suggested recently how fun it was to go to petfinder.com and look around. So, DD saw me and made a little confession. Her dad said he was getting another golden. Of course I was sworn to secrecy that I wouldn't tell that she happened to mention it so I can't curse DH out.. at least not yet.

Goldens are my all time favorite dog. Yeah, you guys remember me bragging about my superior pet. *heh* But now is not the time for a pup in this house, and when the time does come, I'd like to have a small dog, and one that sheds less. DD sure is tired of vacuuming. :)

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 10:41PM
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    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 1:31PM
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I think all dog owners need to read Cesars Way, by Cesar Milan. I am a trainer and while I do not agree with him 100 percent on everything it would go along way to solving the problem of dogs ending up dumped at the pound or worse, like the "free running" dogs.
To the demeron, you need to make sure your dog has no medical problem then hire a trainer IMMEDIATELY! A dog will calm down some as far as energy after the terrible twos but if it's urnitating now it will always. When it's peeing on people it is being submissive and overly afraid. You need to have people not look at the dog, do not talk to the dog it does not exist until it comes QUEITLY up to them. Then it sould be made to sit BEFORE it is petted. This should help correct some of the problems with peeing on people. It also needs to be walked daily and as often as possible put it in the car drive a few blocks then walk. This helps the dog not only get used to the car but works it's brain by introducing it to new situations where it will slowly build confidence. I had a dog that flattened to the ground when ever I took her out on leash around people she was SOOOO scared. I just kept walking her where lots of people are and threw treats on the ground near the people so she associated the people with good things. I am not saying that your dog was ever abused the one I had wasn't either, just not socialized properly until I got her.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 11:36PM
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After reading this I had to say something. My 2 male Aussie's are laying quietly at my feet. This is what they do almost 7 hours a day. They come to work with me. I guess I haven't met the high energy aussie yet.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 4:54PM
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I am a former Aussie person. I agree that most times any job will keep them happy, and the rest of the time they are great couch potatoes. I now have mixed breeds, but only because I'm getting older and not able to keep up with the intelligence of an Aussie in my life. Sometimes the smartest breeds aren't the right breeds for everyone.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 5:54PM
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My brother's Aussie is one of the high energy ones....sweet and happy but very high energy. His previous one was a couch potato so he is baffled and somewhat overwhelmed.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 1:36PM
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If your brothers dog doesn't have a herding job your brother should find another job for him. My first one was raised the first two years in a small apartment. His jobs were many. Go downstairs, get the paper, get the mail, pay the paperboy, get the card punched, pick up anything you drop on the floor, be it a dime, or your keys and give back. Bring daddy's shoes, socks, hats. Take off daddy's shoes, socks, hat.Things like that. We kept his brain very busy, and maybe that had something to do with him being so laid back.He really did not get all that much physical exercise. My other aussies after that were calm too though.Maybe I just got lucky.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 2:30PM
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