Do not use the backyard as a replacement for time spent with you. Fenced in yards are wonderful for letting dogs out safely to go to the bathroom-but they should not be a substitute for actual walks and play time with you. Classes of any sort (flyball, obedience, agility) are exhausting to your dog. All that stimulation and concentration is tiring. A romp at the dog park is a great way to get physical exercise and have "conversations" with other dogs. Find a schedule/system that works for you and your dog, but please put some effort into enriching their lives. You will both greatly benefit.
Sheila McGregor lives in Addison County, Vt., and has been rescuing, training and "rehoming" dogs for over 20 years. Her column appears once a month in the Addison Eagle.