A fenced yard does not equal pet enrichment for a dog


Behaviorist Dr. John Ciribassi says the backyard is no babysitter. Help your veterinary clients see that their dogs need emotional enrichment, not just space to run.

Your clients' best intentions may lead to bad behavior in the long run, according to CVC educator John Ciribassi, DVM, DACVB. He says leaving a dog alone in the yard is akin to leaving a child unattended: They run the risk of getting into trouble in their environment.

"Dogs don't only need physical exercise-they need emotional exercise," he says.

Dr. Ciribassi says that a fenced yard doesn't absolve pet owners from interacting with their dogs. He says they should still take pets on walks as well as engage dogs in play and training while in the yard.

Watch the video for more advice.

Is your client's pooch already out of hand? Help them with Dr. E'Lise Christensen's tips on how to help pet owners manage unruly dog behaviors.

For the client who has a multi-dog yard, take a look at Dr. Lisa Radosta's handout that addresses the tricky question, "Is my dog playing ... or fighting?"

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