Fencing for Love
Fencing for Love
Copyright: By Irene Cook, 2008
Several years ago, before I discovered the wonder of greyhounds, I had an incredible show-quality Pomeranian named Dolly. She loved the front yard and never left the property boundaries. Unfortunately, the neighbor’s dogs weren’t so well trained. One very miserable day our Dolly was grabbed, shaken and killed by a neighbor’s dog in just seconds. I still mourn Dolly, but I have many wonderful memories, too. It was a very difficult lesson, but it made me realize that I will never have a dog without a fenced yard. My yard is to love and protect my pets. Granted my parents think I may have gone to the extreme with a 6-foot chain link fence, but it is safe for my beloved companions.
The fenced yard protects our dogs from other animals and people wondering into the yard. While the new electronic and radio fences advertise that they give our dogs freedom and still confine them, they do nothing to protect our dogs from intruding dogs and people. Using this system, the collar that restricts our dogs to their own yard does nothing to stop intruders because they don’t wear such a collar. These collars can also cause rashes and discomfort to our companions. I’ve personally seen a Malamute cross with a nasty rash around his neck, especially in the soft front section, from one of these electronic collars. Think what would have happened to the neck of our beloved and thin-skinned greyhounds wearing a similar collar. Also consider that our dogs could be through the safety perimeter so quickly that they wouldn’t get much warning or reminder to remain in their assigned area.
As descendants from wolves, our dogs are territorial animals. They need to have boundaries for security as well as safety. Dog’s territorial instincts lead them to want to protect what they perceive as their territory. This creates a potential for injury both to our dogs and by them.
Because our dogs are sighthounds, they see many things. Their fine-tuned and highly developed instinct for the chase makes them terrific racers. You must consider the consequences if the object that you dog chases is the neighbor’s small dog, pet cat or rabbit. While these small animals might outrun and escape from most dogs, a greyhound is fast enough to catch its target or prey. This could be a very traumatic event for you and your neighbor, not to mention the other dog, cat or rabbit. A fluttering piece of paper may excite the urge to chase, and once running, the greyhound may choose to run further. At speeds as fast as 40 mph, the greyhound is beyond your voice range nearly instantly.
Fencing protects our companions from running out in front of an oncoming vehicle. A greyhound giving chase does not watch his feet or the areas around him; he watches the "prey". Dogs who have had track training are often taught to watch the lure as they run. This keeps their attention focused; however, it does not teach them to observe traffic and extraneous events. A fenced yard or exercise area helps to keep our animals from becoming tragically killed or seriously injured by traffic. No matter how much we trust our dogs to return when called, remember the greyhound is a sighthound, hunting by sight, not scent. He can see clearly for a great distance and can be running at full speed in only a couple of leaps. Please don’t be fooled into a false sense of security. I know of more than one dog who met an untimely death with much distress to family. The fence keeps your friend in your yard. In doing this, it protects your greyhound from running after a moving object and then being lost.
When you first bring home your companion home, or when you fence your yard, take a moment to walk the perimeters with your friend. Let him see the fence and learn about it before he runs into it. Our dogs are highly intelligent and will only need to shown the boundaries to keep them in mind when running and playing in the yard. This is good practice when you visit a friends or other fenced areas where your dog will be allowed to run freely. Walk the perimeter to show the dog the fence, and check it for possible escape routes while you’re at it. A little prevention can save a lot of grief.
Since I’ve become more dog-oriented, I’ve talked to many people who breed, show and even judge at shows. One thing they all have in common is a requirement for a fenced yard for any placements they make. It seems we’ve all learned from tragic experiences and wish to prevent a recurrence to us or any dog with which we’ve had intimate contact. Please provide a fenced yard or exercise area for your companion. If one tragedy is averted, it has been worth the time, effort and expense to fence.