Do Your Dogs Stay in the House or Outside

Updated on March 14, 2010
M.D. asks from Rockport, TX
21 answers

We have 3 dogs and I have always loved having them inside. lately they are getting on my nerves. They are getting too comfortable indoors and their behavior is changing a bit. I have one that refuses to poop outside anymore!!! Another one wont stay off the furniture. My husband wants them outside permanently. Right now they stay out during the day and come in at night. I have never had outside dogs and I feel bad leaving them out there. They get very little attention when they stay outside all the time. Of course when the weather gets warmer we will spend more time out with them. Where do your dogs live???

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answers from Dallas on

Both, but mostly outside. I always had an inside dog and my husband is from a farm where dogs 'belong' outside. It has been a compromise. We have three large dogs. Because there are three of them, they keep themselves quite entertained. They are inside for extremely cold/hot weather and rain/snow. In the winter they are inside at night. We live on an acre lot that backs up to a creek, the fleas are really hard to keep at bay. We have a pier and beam foundation and they stay under the house with a layer of hay and diatomaceous earth (for the fleas). We have an old one that has hip problems and she prefers to pee inside on the carpet - so she has to stay in the kitchen when she is inside (she won't pee in the kitchen). Unfortunately, I am waiting for the day I am down to only one dog. That one will be an inside dog.



answers from Dallas on

My westie lives inside, but enjoys some outside play time and a walk every day. I have concerns about the hot Texas weather and leaving dogs outside unless they have ample shade, fresh water and are acclimated to the heat. If you are outside with them, great, but then if you go inside and they have no place to cool off, then they could have big problems with the heat.

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answers from Seattle on

It depends on the breed of dog (some breeds just should not be kept outside) and what kind of facilities you have for the dogs to stay permanently outside. If there is shelter (and I don't mean a little doghouse, but something like a garage or small structure), no extreme temperatures, your property is fenced and they get regular contact, training and meaningful exercise, you can humanely keep a dog "outside".
Now most people who keep their dogs outside don't provide the above. They ban their dogs from the home because of the mess or bad behavior and leave the animals to occupy themselves, simply providing food and water. If you're going to do this, your behavioral problems will exponentially multiply until noone will be able to handle the dogs anymore and they will have to be put down.

Your dogs are exhibiting unwanted behavior not because THEY "got too comfortable" but because YOUR family did and you probably have been slacking on keeping them properly trained and occupied. It happens to many dog owners... don't feel too bad about it, as long as you go back to obedience training and meaningful exercise on a regular basis, you will be able to get your peaceful home back, with the dogs inside or outside.

If giving them regular training and exercise is just too much to handle for your family, please try to re-home them rather than exiling them to the backyard. Once they have been outside for a while they will be VERY difficult to re-home. Part of being a responsible pet owner is knowing when you cannot longer properly care for your pet (give them what they need) and then making the effort of finding them a good adoptive home.
Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My dogs are like my kids, inside all the time unless they are using the bathroom or playing with the kids. I honestly dont see a point in having a pet if it is kept outside where it doesnt much attention. I understand things coming up as in the allergies and such but there are times where it is better for them to be found a new home. I am just one of those animal lovers. I think your dogs need to be reminded of the rules. Like others have said, they have become to comfortable. Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Both! :) But someone in the family needs to be the alpha and just like children, dogs need to know who is in charge to take care of them and what the expectations are. Have they been to obedience training? What if your child kept jumping on the couch - what would you do? Similar for dogs... consistency.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Indoors, they are part of our family. Maybe your dogs are getting lax about the house rules? Fortunately, they can readjust very quickly if you reinforce them. Maybe better housemates will make your husband be okay with them coming indoors. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

We have one German Shepherd, raised from 10 weeks old as part of our family INSIDE with us. She is never outside unattended. She goes out only for potty, exercise, or playing with the kids in the yard type stuff. She does not potty in the house. In fact, she won't even throw up in the house if we are at home and she can get our attention fast enough...
She is not allowed on the furniture, and that has been the rule since she first joined our family.. from day one... never on the furniture. Not the sofa, not the beds. She has her own bed(s)- one in the family room near my computer, and one in our bedroom. She sleeps all over the house, however. Usually she likes to be where ever we are, but sometimes when she is worn out or stressed (too much activity/noise) she will go into the laundry room and lie down by the back door, or get in the bottom of our closet to escape the chaos. She'll sleep in the kids rooms for a few hours, in the dining room so she can watch out the front window for trespassers and the trash truck, in our room when I go to bed.

She does occasionally (usually it is only during the colder months) like to get on the sofa when we aren't home... (who wouldn't prefer it.. it's more comfy!).. but she knows it is against the rules.. and when I come home she puts her head down before I even get inside because she knows she misbehaved. She will not even put her front feet on the furniture while playing when we are at home. But she doesn't damage any furniture or chew anything or have any destructive habits at all. She just sometimes likes to get comfy... and I have read that getting on furniture lets them get "high" on your scent... NEVER let them get on your bed.. that is like doggy heaven to get to roll in the Alpha's scent!! So maybe the sofa thing is just because she is alone at home and feels comforted (?) by our scent on the sofa?

My question would be... what has changed that has caused your dogs to change their behavior? Did the one always poop inside or is that new? Did the one with the furniture issue just start getting on it, or has it always been a problem?

I never had pets inside as a child. My mother wouldn't allow it. I always felt that way. Until we starting researching getting a dog. We ultimately decided that if we kept it outside, we would not spend much time with it, (inconvenient, dirty, hot outside, bugs outside, etc) and then what would be the point of having it? Inside/outside, results in a very stinky dog that you don't want around either... plus is confusing to the dog, imho. So we concluded that having her in the house full-time and training her properly was the best choice. And it has been. She is a great comfort for the kids, and me when hubby gets home late from work, etc. And just the greeting when we come home.. the house is always a "home" not just a "house". :)

Has there been a change in your family make-up or behavior? Animals can be very sensitive to "issues" within the family. Are you paying less attention to them in general? Maybe the pooping one is asserting some independence and attention seeking? or could he/she be ill?
I get the sense that your husband may not have ever really wanted them at all... If that is the case, then I'm sure there are some dominance issues between him and the dogs. Maybe if you can address that, then the other issues will resolve and you won't have to change where they stay?
Inside works for us, and for our dog, but it was something that we discussed at length and decided on in advance of getting her. She is truly a family member, not "just" a pet. And that goes for both me and my husband.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

In'n'out, with us. Depending on the season we tend to spend between 50-90 percent of our time outdoors.

The only people I *personally* know who have outside dogs who are well taken care of/ trained live up in Alaska and they've got sled dogs. As someone else mentioned, for a dog to be outside full time they have to be breed-appropriate to the weather (aka no huskies in florida, and no greyhounds in AK) AND they have to have appropriate shelter AND a lot more training than inside dogs.

It's not normal for a dog to poo inside the house, unless they're a puppy or very elderly. Have you taken them to the vet recently?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

Keep a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator & everytime the one doggie gets on the furniture spray him. He will eventually stop. Please rule out any medical problems for the poopy dog. If there aren't any then you may need to get some help in the training dept. to re-teach him to go to the bathroom outside.



answers from Augusta on

My dogs have always been in at night and generally outside during the day.



answers from St. Louis on

we have 2 dogs who are in/out all day long....& then in for the night. They also stay in by themselves if we're just out running errands. They stay either outside or in/out of the mudroom (with no access to the house) if we're going to be gone for the weekend. They easily adapt to whatever our needs are.

Potty accidents do NOT occur unless due to illness. They do NOT get on the furniture....except my 13y.o.'s bed & that's because he allows it! I have an inhome daycare, & on bad weather days....the dogs are in the back two bedrooms & the kids have the rest of the house.

I am totally amazed that I can live with an inhome daycare & 2 dogs totalling 150lbs !! The key is to be IN CHARGE of them at all times, to give them the attention & exercise they need, & to be consistent in their training/ all family members.

In fact - I have to brag, just tonight, we were gone for about 3 hours. When we came in, the dogs sat/stayed on my command....until all of the groceries were brought in the house....& that's just how life is! Even when my sons bring in friends, I insist that the dogs sit/stay on command until they are released. From that point on, all of the friends know that I expect them to make the dogs behave & mind their manners....regardless of how much excitement is going on. & boy, do we have energy flying around here! The dogs have a nightly chase around the house, around & around - playing chase/back & forth.....& this happens every single night! & that's just part of having pets in the house.....there's movement, energy, & obediance all bundled up in those furry bodies! Stay firm, & hopefully Peace will return.....



answers from San Diego on

We have one dog she is in and out of the house all day. We have a doggy door off the kitchen that she goes in and out of as she pleases. How ever if she decided to start pooping in the house she would find herself outside for sure.



answers from Washington DC on

Our dog lives inside. She loves to go outside to play and of course, she potties outside. We don't have a problem with her on the furniture. In fact, she sleeps in my son's bed with him!



answers from Dallas on

Like some others have said, if they're outside all of the time, what's the point of having them? We have two big dogs and they're in and out. When we're away from the house for more than an hour, they're inside. When we're home they're outside for a few hours and then inside for a few hours,etc. If they weather is extremely hot or cold or rainy we keep the outside time limited and have them indoors more. We have a pool,but they refuse to take a dip to cool off, so even if we're outside more when it's hot, we make sure they get their breaks inside. They just turned 12 and 10 and I'm sure when they were younger, we weren't as vigilant about watching the time like we do now, but we tried.
At night, they're always inside. We don't have issues w/ them getting on the furniture, b/c we trained them not too. They're not perfect though and we have found that they have been on the couch when we've been gone, but the incidents are few and far between. Our biggest issue is the fur. They're both hairy dogs and the more they're inside, the more often we vacuum ( which is practically every day). Like I said, they're 12 and 10 now, so they're family so it's an inconvienence that's well worth it and allowing them inside more often then they're outside is our way of keeping them comfortable and loved while they're with us.



answers from St. Joseph on

I had this problem when I had 2 dogs. The incontinent one needs to spend more time outside or be retrained (provided the vet says there is nothing medically wrong with him/her). Frankly, I don't see the sense of having a dog if you are leaving them outside all the time. Our dog was our first child and is a very respected member of the family. As for the furniture, once they get up on it, well there really isn't any way to undo that unless you are going to ride them 24/7. My dog is on our furniture all the time (and at 10 I don't have the heart to tell him to sleep on a hard floor anymore...LOL). When we visit my MIL he NEVER gets on her furniture UNTIL they go to bed, then he likes to sleep on the couch (just like he does at home). The last time they babysat, they just succumbed and put a sheet on the couch so he could sleep there...he never got on the furniture anywhere else or any other time then at bed time.

As for leaving them outside, you can always compromised and put them in the basement or the garage. It's cooler there, especially with hot weather coming up in the next few months. We did this with my dog growing up when we were out of the house. I never really liked it because I felt like it was more of a punishment but they were my parents rules, not mine.

Sounds to me very much like the children (aka the dogs) are ruling the roost and you just need to regain and assert control. Obedience classes may be in order and helpful. Another thing you could do is use crates. I would talk with your vet or your local pet store about options and ideas that best suit your breed of dog.


answers from Spokane on

We only have 1 huge dog...and he has always been an inside dog. We have a doggie door on our back slider and he comes and goes as he pleases.



answers from Dallas on

like a few others, i truly don't understand having an "outside dog". that said, if this is truly causing strife in your family/marriage, consider trying to rehome the three dogs to a family that may have more patience with them. but, i think your best option is to regroup, realize they are loving/loyal members of your family that need guidance/rules/structure/security. consider giving aaron stewart with, i don't work for him, etc. - i have used him with my pets, and that's it) a call. he is like the cesar milan of the dfw metroplex. he really helped us out when our dogs fell apart after the death of our alpha dog, he taught US to be alpha and the dogs have a lot of respect for us, it's not just "sit" and "stay", etc. - they walk behind us, don't eat without express permission. it took one three hour session for us to learn how a "pack" works, how to join their pack, and be the alpha. i would really encourage you to give it a try before either giving up on your dogs, tossing them outside permanently, or causing anymore tension b/n you and your husband. good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

If it'S.a recent thing to keep them outside all day and then bring them in only at night, maybe they're rebelling and showing their displeasure at being banished by not cooperating? Dogs are very social creatures and most breeds can't handle being left alone (even with other dogs) outside away from their human companions for extended periods of time. I would highly advise against keeping them outdoors all the time. Dogs are domesticated now and can't handle the harsher weather conditions, loneliness, etc. like their ancestors were forced to do. If you really can't handle the 3 dogs and provide them with obedience training, etc., perhaps you should think about giving them new homes S. that they can be with people who can give them the kind of loving attention they need. It'll be hard separating with them but if you can't provide what they need, it'll be best for all of you in the long run. Good luck!


answers from Denver on

you're gonna have PETA fans all over you on this one :) I've had both. I had 2 goldens that kind of got shoved aside when my first son was born they were always outside and now i have a bigger dog and a small dog and they are inside dogs. If one is pooping in the house though that is a definite outside dog for me. This is where we live we dont need poop particles all over the carpet. As long as you provide them shelter from all the elements i think outside is okay unless it gets too hot, too cold then a more suitable shelter is needed, garages or little pool with fresh water. They will keep each other company outside. This is all depending on the dog though too and their coats. Dogs are pack animals that were meant to be outside, I wouldn't feel too bad.



answers from Dallas on

Mine is outside. She sheds a ton and my daughter became really allergic to her, to the point of her face swelling up and her body breaking out in hives. So, I hate having her out there but I hated my daughter not being able to breathe all the time. She seems okay when she goes out to play with her as long as she doesn't rub on her too much or let her lick her face. She does have a covered porch, baby pool and fan in the summer and she sleeps the the garage at night.



answers from Tulsa on

both according to weather.

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