Good Monday morning, I'm running a bit late this morning.  I had a blank head this morning when I typically blog so hit the gym first.  I hope you all had a great weekend, we did; quiet but very nice.  We had a big walk at one of our favorite parks on Saturday.  Elsa and I stumbled upon an Earth day event going on as we came to one end of the park.  It was small so we took our time wandering around all the booths.  Events like this are great social exposure for dogs, all sorts of people and dogs to see.

I don't know how many times I was stopped by people with puzzled faces.  They loved the look of Elsa but just couldn't figure out what she was.  Once my husband and Luke joined us they were even more confused.  "What are those?" is the most common question that we hear.  I've heard everything from Airedale and Weimaraner to Greyhound, but by far we get 'doodle' most often.  It doesn't matter to me at all what people think my dogs look like.  They are by true definition a curly coated, non shedding retriever/working dog.  Far from the walking bouffant hairstyle that most people think when they hear "poodle."

So one group of guys who stopped us wanted to know if they were indeed poodles.  It looked like a Dad and his two older sons and they were fans.  The Dad said he'd always wanted a poodle and wanted to know all about them.  Were they great companions?  Did they do dog type things like retrieve balls etc?  The big question that initiated this blog was are they indoor/outdoor dogs?  I was stopped in my tracks at that one and said "indoor."  This question is a common one and has many different meanings to various folks.

I almost got into my "no dog is an outdoor dog" schpeel  but didn't.  I kept on topic and told him about the breed and their amazing talent for any sport or activity you'd like to participate in.  Then I got to thinking as we walked away how people think that specific breeds are okay being outdoor dogs.  Let me just make a blanket statement here and now; "no dog is an outdoor dog by choice."  Dogs are pack animals and as such should live with the pack.  If you want a dog to live in your backyard, get a nice resin or concrete version.

Living a life alone is a horrible sentence for any dog.  So many people say "they don't want to come in."  Of course if a dog lives outside it's entire life, coming in is a strange and foreign concept.  It really has nothing to do with preferring to stay outside, alone and away from the rest of the pack.  My dogs are as much indoor/outdoor as I am, we live in a house together but go out much of the time.  The whole idea of having a dog and putting it in the backyard to live is just such a strange concept to me.  But it is done a lot.

Not only is living alone in a backyard a very sad life for a dog it sets them up for failure.  Just imagine a dog that lives in solitude in a backyard trying to contain their enthusiasm when someone goes outside on occasion?  It almost always leads to tying the dog up or putting them then in a kennel.  Dogs are such social creatures that they deserves far more than a life in a backyard or cage.   I truly wish that there was no such thing as "outdoor dogs."  If keeping dogs inside with you in your home was a prerequisite to canine ownership perhaps people would think twice about acquiring something that they really don't want.

The whole idea that different dogs can be okay with living alone in a backyard with no human companionship is just wrong.  Not only are you doing an injustice to your dog but you are also short changing yourself on an amazing relationship that you can only achieve by "living" with your dog.