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Old 09-20-2017, 04:26 PM
Location: Left coast
2,320 posts, read 1,208,015 times
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OP, I have a working breed companion animal.
And she thrives city living (two words here- dog door) vs living on acreage with farm animals and real life critters in the sierras.
She spent most of her days there pressed up against my french doors trying to figure out what I was doing and couldn't wait for the commute back into town so she could be an indoor dog again.

Some dogs are not cut out for the life of laissez faire idealized in the thread topic....
they require a working human connection and purpose....
(as mine, and many companion animals do)...

(PS our dogs are lucky as the adults in the home have flexible schedules, much of the modern work force do not work 9-5, so they really aren't home alone much, and some of my coworkers I notice now have doggie webcams that can talk to their dogs and dispense treats when they are away at work...
now, that is modern dog ownership for you!)

i grew up rural and our three dogs lived as you remember, and you know what the only one that lived that way long term- was hit and run over by a car. Another one we had to give away because he started chasing cows and we were warned that he would be shot on sight. The other one ran off during fireworks one day and I still have nightmares about him coming to a bad end.
I guess my dad had always had dogs that way, we didnt know any better. We didnt have a fence, and the male dogs were not neutered.

Heck visited one of my mom's friends back in those days- she had coonhounds living under the trailer, momma dog had a litter of like 10 pups, and I asked what they fed the dogs, got a blank look back- "they are huntin' dogs, they hunt for themselves" ....

I would have to say modern life for most american dogs, is an improvement....

Last edited by CAjerseychick; 09-20-2017 at 04:33 PM.. Reason: corrected paragraphs
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Old 09-20-2017, 04:33 PM
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I've lived my whole life in a large, dense suburban area. Properties are small and all yards have fences. The only place for a free-roaming dog to roam would be the street, where it would promptly be hit by a car. So much for the "natural life."

I also think it would be crazy in this day and age for people to let their dog roam around freely and possibly get into an "incident" with another dog, an adult, or God forbid a small child. I don't want a lawsuit, thanks very much, and I also don't want to run into random unattended dogs, who may or may not be friendly, while I'm out and about.

I had a dog as a child and another dog as an adult. The dog was in the house almost all the time, was let out into the fenced yard whenever it wanted to go out, and walked every day. Granted, both times were a situation with several children and a stay-at-home parent, so the dog was never alone for more than 2-3 hours a day, if that. I would have no interest in keeping a dog if it would be alone every day from 8 to 6. I just don't see how that would work, so I agree with you there.

I'm also not at all a fan of keeping a dog in a crate, or leaving a dog alone in a room at night. Would never do either.

I have also never been able to understand why anyone would have a dog in places where yards are not fenced. Okay, maybe if your nearest neighbor is 1/4 mile away, and even then... It honestly blew my mind when I found out that in many places, houses are quite close together but people don't have fences around their yards. How do you keep track of your dogs and small children?
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:31 PM
Location: Santa Barbara CA
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I would say in many cases it is more fun to be a dog now as look at all the dog sports people now do with dogs. Agility, fly ball, lure coursing, nose work, rally obedience, Frisbee, dock diving, herding, treibball, and others. It seems most dog owners I know are doing one of these with their dogs or at least attempted too. When I started in agility few people even knew what it was now that is not so. If you see dogs doing any of these things most are having lots of fun as are their owners.

I work full time three 12 hrs night shifts a week, I also live in a condo so my dogs are indoor dogs but have a pet door to a small fenced area if they need to go out while I am gone. I usually have 2 dogs but have had 3 so they are not alone. My 3 prior dogs were all herding breed mixes so high energy and despite people telling me they could not live in a condo with someone that worked, that they would destroy my place out of boredom they were wrong. My dogs destroyed nothing and were not annoying neighbors with barking. They were very happy dogs. As are my two current dogs.

They were well trained and did agility, one also learned to play fly ball but just did that for fun, they got to run free at leash free beaches and a large leash free park where during the wet season they even got to play in mud puddles as mud dries and falls off. Everyday they went on walks and played some fetch even in the rain. I took them on adventures.They got to go many places unlike the dogs of my early childhood who got to roam the neighborhood but usually stayed in the yard and were outdoor dogs with dog houses.

Sorry but my dogs are much happier then those two childhood dogs were. When I decided to get dogs they became my priority and if that meant a beach run with them instead of seeing a movie with friends so be it. I have a ton of friends that are dog owners so in my world this is the norm and when we socialize it is often with each other and with the dogs.

I know there are people and dogs that live like the OP is suggesting most dogs do and yeah I feel bad for them as there are some people that are not willing to give up things to make time for a dog.But I would not say the majority of dogs live that way. I myself hate it when people say "you live in a condo and you work you can not have dogs" as maybe they could not do it but I have no problem doing it and have never felt that any of my dogs have suffered because of it. You just can not generalize about dog owners.
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by f5fstop View Post
I do not remember dogs running free when I was a kid back in the 60s, in fact, I don't remember that many people with dogs.

My two dogs get walked for miles every AM, unless it is pouring, but snow storms don't stop me. Yes, they are spoiled rotten and will continue to be spoiled rotten till the die or I die and if I go first they are well taken care of being part of my will.

You're right, most are not getting what you are rambling about. And don't even suggest I get rid of my dogs, I don't believe you have enough AMMO.
There were far fewer pets per capita in the 60s and even the 70s. People were more realistic about the costs and responsibilities of having pets.
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:23 PM
122 posts, read 77,260 times
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Originally Posted by saibot View Post
I have also never been able to understand why anyone would have a dog in places where yards are not fenced. Okay, maybe if your nearest neighbor is 1/4 mile away, and even then... It honestly blew my mind when I found out that in many places, houses are quite close together but people don't have fences around their yards. How do you keep track of your dogs and small children?
Let me blow your mind even more. I live in an apartment without a yard. My dog is not allowed to potty on the property so I have to walk a 1/4 of a mile to the street to potty him. 4-6 times a day my dog and I walk at least half a mile for him to potty. When I was looking for a dog I specifically looked for a dog that liked my walking pace and had no interest in running. I don't work but he would prefer I did. He is most active at dawn and dusk and insists on sleeping from 9 to 6. I have to poke him awake to take his mid-day potty walk. If I interrupt his sleep too much he goes and sleeps on my bed. I took him to a dog park once. He had no interest in the other dogs or running. He just walked around sniffing for a few minutes then went to lay in the shade.

Growing up my family owned a vacation home on top of a mountain on a private dirt road. We did not have a fenced area so our dog was always on leash outside from the time we got him as a puppy. This saved him from many painful meetings with the porcupine that liked to hang out next to our stairs. When he was a puppy my sister trained him to lunge like a horse including changing gait on command. He got most of his energy out walking, playing, or doing zoomies in the house but if needed he could run in circles at the end of a 10-12 foot line until the person holding it got to dizzy.

I have never owned a dog that was leash walked less than 4 times a day no matter if we had a yard or not. Yards are boring unless there is a person there to play with. They are useful for large dogs that need to run but not all dogs like running and small dogs can run indoors.
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:59 PM
5,426 posts, read 3,448,244 times
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Originally Posted by otterhere View Post

Cat ownership is rising in popularity, whereas dog ownership is declining.
Is dog ownership actually declining? To me it seems like there has been an absolute explosion of dog ownership and culturally massive explosion of interest in dogs in the U.S..

I think dogs have become so culturally important and so many people own dogs because of societal alienation between people, and widespread loneliness caused by the way U.S. society has evolved.

And there has been a cultural explosion of interest in 'rescuing' dogs.

This has increased the number of people who are very emotionally dependent upon their dog. And increased the number of people who consider their dog their best friend, their close family member, and some ascribing human attributes/customs to their dog.

Last edited by matisse12; 09-20-2017 at 07:47 PM..
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Old 09-20-2017, 07:16 PM
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I think maybe you are romanticizing your youth a little OP. If you were a child and looking back on things, don't forget children don't see the whole world for what it is. As a child, you probably didn't notice disease in dogs that caused them to live out their years in misery and pain with mange, skin issues, worms, etc.

I have a dog. She used to be an outdoor dog. I adopted her from a shelter and they told me that... and that she was an owner surrender. She was dirty and had matted fur when she came in. They had to shave her. She also wasn't housebroken and not well socialized and it took a lot of work to get her to where she is now. She was hit by a car at some point before she was a year old and has deformed back legs because one was broken on a growth plate. Not too bad, but it's noticeable.

I won't go in to how much she seems to enjoy her life now. But let me put it this way, I have a fenced in yard and I leave the sliding glass door open for her a lot... she chooses to stay inside. She's seen both ways of living and prefers indoors.
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Old 09-20-2017, 07:51 PM
Location: I am right here.
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OP, how often would you visit my yard where YOUR free-roaming dog pooped? Or are you OK with YOUR DOG pooping in OTHER PEOPLE'S yards and leaving it there for them to deal with?
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Old 09-20-2017, 09:37 PM
122 posts, read 77,260 times
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If they ARE lucky enough to be taken on regular walks, owners are now obliged to pick up their poop (funny that dog poop never killed anyone for hundreds of years, but now we can't abide it and it's an actual crime to leave it where it lands as we have since time immemorial). If the owner is ill, frail, or elderly, bending over to pick it up is not only unpleasant enough to discourage adoptions, but can actually present a fall risk to those with balance problems who probably most appreciate the companionship and love of a pet dog.
Hundreds of years ago plenty of people died from dog poop contaminated water (e. coli, salmonella, giardia, lepto) but exponentially more died for human waste. Now that we aren't dumping chamberpots out the windows we need a way to deal with 10 million tons of poop produced by our dogs yearly. It is a major source of water pollution in urban areas.

I am disabled and know many other disabled dog owners and we all have found a solution to scooping poop. One wheelchair user carries around a large metal spoon. Some train their dog to go in a specific area and pay someone else to pick it up. Some guide dogs are trained to poop wearing a harness holding a plastic shopping bag over their but. Someone attached a long handle to an embroidery hoop to catch turds in a disposable poop bag. Being unable to bend over should not hinder anyone who truly wants a dog.
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:45 AM
Location: on the wind
7,119 posts, read 2,921,213 times
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Originally Posted by otterhere View Post
I'm describing how I believe dogs are happiest and suggesting that almost no thought goes into that these days in most households. Most are forced to live a very unnatural life, IMO.
You are assuming a lot about most dogs. Just how does the domesticated dog demonstrate that it is unhappy with its life? If my dog has no separation anxiety, no behavioral problems, no health problems (that might be caused by long term frustration or boredom), no OCD patterns, behaves in a generally contented manner, are you telling me that it is miserable with its "modern" life? I doubt it. I've had my current dog for about 7 years, and for 6 I worked full time. My dog was alone during the day, but we spent the rest of our time going for rides on errands, walking, playing, etc. The rest of the time she was with me, indoors or out. Now that I am retired we spend most of the time together. Her behavior hasn't really changed...she's still content, relaxed, no separation anxiety before or since, she enjoys her time away from home just the same as she always has.

I think you are also forgetting that dogs are territorial so don't necessarily want to roam all that much away from home base. I know my dogs didn't, but some breeds including retrievers, scent hounds, sight hounds, and sled dogs will roam indefinitely.

Anyway, to get back to your original question about dogs' place in modern society....yes of course they do. It is just different for many of them. There are too many variables to really answer this in a meaningful way.

Last edited by Parnassia; 09-21-2017 at 12:54 AM..
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