Inside vs outside

Inside vs Outside – should you bring the dog in?

People who allow their dogs indoors don’t see the point of owning a dog if you’re not going to spend time with it. People who believe that dogs should stay outside often believe that allowing a dog inside will cause the dog to become soft or spoiled as well as making the home less pleasant.

Current studies in dog psychology show that dogs isolated in backyards are highly likely to develop serious behavioural problems that often result in euthanasia for the animal. Certainly, dogs benefit from spending some time outside. But this time should consist of play sessions in the yard and walks around the neighbourhood, not solitary confinement outdoors.

Here are some points to consider:

Dogs are social animals. Dogs are by nature pack animals, so keeping dogs outside denies them a place in the family pack which is quite psychologically damaging for the dog. They like to be wherever the family is.

Inside dogs exhibit fewer behavioural problems. Since all of the dog’s instincts are telling her that it is not good to be left alone or isolated from her pack, the outside only dog can become very stressed or anxious. This results in digging, barking, howling, destructiveness, chewing, escaping and displaying hyperactivity. These problems can become so troublesome that neighbours may complain.

Backyard dogs can be harder to train. As they spend less time with the family, they form less of a bond, making training more difficult.

Protection for YOU, not your backyard. A dog becomes naturally protective of the area he lives in and will only defend this area. Unless allowed to spend time inside, your dog will not feel protective of this area. Where do you keep your valuables – inside or on the lawn? It is not uncommon to hear stories of families being robbed while their dog snoozed peacefully in the backyard.

Backyard dogs have higher rates of euthanasia. Many backyard dogs are not looked upon as family and are given up more easily when behavioural problems arise. And as mentioned, behavioural problems are more likely to occur in dogs that are outdoors only.

More value for money. Most people today own dogs primarily for companionship. Lifestyles have changed and where people once did spend a lot more time outdoors – gardening, playing and working, people are now busier working longer hours, getting home later and spending more time in front of the television or computer. Due to hectic schedules, we actually spend 75% less time outdoors. If added to this, the dog is not allowed indoors, the time you spend together becomes negligible. To make the cost and effort of owning a dog worthwhile, it makes sense to bring them in to spend time with them.

Dogs learn from you. Every minute you are together, the dog is learning by observation. The inside dog quickly learns what behaviours lead to walks, treats and play and what doesn’t. Even without formal training the inside dog quickly learns how to fit in with family life. You will learn to read your dog more easily as well. With limited time spent with you, the outside dog is less able to integrate into your lifestyle successfully.

What can you do?

The key is to spend more time with your dog. Ideally the bare minimum would be that the dog is allowed in when you are home and to sleep indoors at night. You do not have to spend every waking minute playing with your dog but the fact that he can be with you while you watch TV or work on the computer is very important for his well-being.

Train your dog. If your dog is untrained, take him to training classes. Begin training the day you bring your new puppy home. Well trained dogs can quickly and easily learn great house manners. Ideally you should teach your dog house manners from a puppy but any dog can learn to be well mannered in the house. If you need help with general house manners, give us a call or email.

Keep the dog clean. Remember, the Queen even keeps her Corgis indoors. Properly cared for dogs are perfectly suited to sharing our homes with us. Dogs should be kept generally clean and also free of internal and external parasites. Assistance dogs such as guide dogs for the blind live in the home and also accompanies their owners to many public areas such as restaurants and hospitals. A dog’s condition is a reflection of your attitude towards him. A clean, healthy dog is a loved dog.

What if there is no other option? For some, they dearly love their dogs but do not have the option to allow their dog indoors, whether because of landlord’s limitations or someone else who lives in the house not being able to live with a dog, perhaps due to allergies. If the is the case, spend more time outdoors so that your dog’s needs can be met.

Give your dog a chance to be your best friend – don’t kick him out because you think he is untrainable, unruly or you think it is good for him to be outside. Instead take the time to make him part of your family, part of your pack.

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