Dear Tango,

My people and I moved from the city to the country not long ago.  We’re moving to a farm, they said, it’s dog Heaven, they said. They’re some fun stuff about it, but some real downers too.  In the city, my people took me for walks and we went to the park together and we played together.  Now, they put me outside by myself and tell me to go play.   That isn’t my idea of Heaven.  I want to be with my people and to play with other dog friends!  But I try to oblige and I go and find things to do.  Then I wind up in trouble for it.  Like I am supposed to know that chasing chickens is bad or that herding the neighbours’ cows is a no no.  And why do they lock me outside when I’ve rolled in stuff I’ve found?  They told me to go and enjoy the farm.. so I did.  I’m confused by this Heaven and don’t understand why my people don’t want to do stuff with me now.
Please help.

Signed,   City Slicker

Dear City Slicker,
You’re right, my friend.  Your people are dropping the ball on this transition and it’s not very fair.  Many country dogs have the same troubles but it is tougher still for those used to a different lifestyle.  For them, freedom ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, if it means they can’t be with their people.
And how people expect dogs to know what is right and wrong, when they are not there to tell us, is beyond me!  Being mad at us after the fact is about as helpful as leaving us a "no dogs in the garden" sign and expecting us to read it.. or putting sticky notes on horses back ends, saying "I kick".
The only way for dogs to learn is for us to be out exploring the world with you and teaching us as we go!
If people choose the lazy route of putting us out the door on our own, they don’t get to look surprised or be angry when we come up with ways to entertain ourselves they don’t like.  

People should also know that the country presents hazards we dogs can’t possibly understand without guidance, from coyotes to farm equipment, thin ice to porcupines.  How can we be safe and enjoy the Heaven of farm life if there is no one to share it with or show us how to make the most of it, without getting in trouble?

One more tip from a dog who’s been around the block a few times (and the fields!):  Dogs need to be social to stay social.  In the city, dogs meet lots of new dogs and new people daily.   Country living can mean less socializing for them and dogs can easily become accustomed to that way of life.  Just like people who sit on their porch with a banjo, and greet strangers with a shotgun!
So if you want your dog to be social, be sure that new people, dogs and experiences are a regular part of his life.

I hope this helps your people to understand what you’re going through.  Farm life will be great, if they help you get the hang of it!


Love,    Tango

Topic: Ask Tango

Posted 6 August 2013, 1:39PM

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