When we decided to move to the mountains we had to embrace the idea that we would be moving into the backyard of many predators that could bring harm to our pets. The home had a small dog run on the property, but it was not easily accessible and had not aged well. At first we were careful to only allow the dogs out when nature called and then to call them back into the house after they had relieved themselves. We were diligent to make sure our pets were never put on a predictable schedule since many of the predators here stalk their pray for several days.
No only was there the problem of the predators, but also the issue of keeping them home. We discussed the idea of an invisible fence to keep our pets close to home and made many plans for what we would do in the spring. Since we moved during the winter months the ground was frozen making putting in any type of enclosure difficult until after the thaw. Time moved on, the ground thawed and we realized our dogs had become rather self-sufficient.
Since we never wanted a predictable schedule they learned to adapt, since we spend hours outside playing they learned the boundaries of our property, since they are canines with a natural instinct to defend they bark at everything that comes onto their property and then there is the pile of bones they have collected. There are predators near and we see the evidence of that in the bones that our pets bring home, but they are dogs and to keep them inside or on a short leash would be to deny their identity. We may lose one or both of them one day, but maybe not. Right now they accompany our children everywhere and defend them. I have no doubt that our dogs would sacrifice themselves to defend our children if the need were to ever arise (I'm hopeful it will not) and they will use the skills they learned when we finally embraced letting them be dogs.
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