Outside Dog Is Slowly Becoming and Inside Dog

Updated on November 24, 2010
S.C. asks from Bowling Green, OH
14 answers

Due to my husband's soft heart for all things living, our enormous 70 lb outside dog is slowly becoming our enormous 70 lb inside dog. He's actually really good in the house, far better than I thought he'd be. So far (knock on wood) he hasn't left any messes or surprises for me to find. I have this feeling that my husband really wants this dog to be a full time indoor dog. I'm not totally opposed to it, but I've never had an inside dog before. I feel like a first time Mommy :) How often do dogs need to go outside to use the bathroom? At what point do I trust him in the house overnight or when we're gone? He lets us know when he wants IN the house by laying outside our back door or thumping his tail against the door. I'm still not sure if he's ever told us he needs to go OUT. I usually make him go outside every few hours. He has a nice big kennel outside with a huge doghouse, but it's going to start getting really cold soon. I'm wondering if it would be ok to leave the dog in the house overnight. We don't really have a way to or a room we can gate him into at night. The door ways are really big and we have an open floor plan. I'd rather NOT spend any money on a big indoor kennel either, not to mention I have no place to put it. Any suggestions for you mommas with fur babies?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! As I said, we just don't have the money to spend on a kennel or big baby gates right now. So, I guess we'll just give it a shot and see what happens. :O)

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

My dogs are trained to ring a bell when they need to go out. It was incredibly easy to train -- I just rang the bell every time I took them out. Our youngest dog was ringing the bell in 3 weeks. I have NEVER been able to potty train a dog before.


Our two dogs are crate trained. It really saves a LOT of stress. They go in their kennel at night and when we're not home. Dogs like having Dens. The kennel gives them someplace to go to get away from the kids, it's private space. The kids know they aren't to bother the dogs when they are in their crate. I just bought a new crate that would have been $120 or so at a petstore for less then half that on Amazon.

If you can't do a kennel.. what about a baby gate keeping the dog in the kitchen or laundry room at night?

Hope some of that helps :)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

I wrote this and then skimmed through the earlier answers, so some of this is repetition.

I'm assuming that this is a grown dog and not a puppy. You're wise to teach him about going outside. Some of our dogs have barked the request, and some haven't. I've known people who put a bell at dog-nose level by their back door and teach the dog to make it ring when there's a need. Otherwise, have him go out first thing in the morning, after every meal, and just before bedtime; let him out other times if he so desires.

At my house we use crates at night and when I'm out of the house, but we're required to crate-train our pups (we raise puppies for Canine Companions for Independence). I bought the biggest size one I could find so Miss Pup can be really comfortable in it. If you don't want to have a crate, get him a big cushy dog bed (or a huge comforter from the thrift store) and teach him that that's his resting place. Consider having one in your bedroom and one in your living room or family room, since he'll want to be with his leaders (you). He may eye your bed with interest; it's up to you to give him a place he'll like just as well. Treats help. And toys - things that are safe for him to chew on.

As far as leaving him indoors when nobody's at home, try it in small doses first. Give him something to chew on and leave the house for five minutes. When you come back, greet him but don't make a big deal; act as if this is an everyday, normal thing. Look for symptoms of separation anxiety (chewing on illegal items, bathroom mistakes). You'll need to work on any anxiety, IF he has any; many dogs don't. Eventually you can leave him alone indoors for longer periods.

Non-crated dogs will sometimes get up at night and wander; you won't need to worry about that too much once you and he are in a routine.

The pet store web sites have gates for big doorways, if you need to think about doing that.

You want to make sure there is no food on the counter at night if he's a counter-surfer. You also want to teach him that the sofa is not his, unless you and your husband actually want to share the sofa with him. Dogs are sensible and love comfort just as people do.

It sounds as if your husband is used to working with dogs. Now it might be a good idea for you and your fur baby to take some obedience classes together. That way your four-footed child will learn to listen to you, and you'll understand him better.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i would definitely recommend spending the money on a kennel. look on craigslist and you can usually find them cheaper. we just got a dog last spring, and she is just now starting to have the roam of the house - you just never know. other than that, keep the trash secured, don't leave goodies out on tables or counters that might tempt him. it sounds like he's basically housebroken, but watch for his cues so that you will know when he needs to go. sometime you may be sleeping or not paying attention, and if you miss his cues, he may have an accident. reading her cues was one of the biggest hurdles for us with our dog. once we figured that out (she is very passive and basically just comes near you and looks at you, but if you don't catch it she will go off and do something else and you'll have missed it) we all got along great. with winter coming yes, you're going to want him inside. don't blame you, or hubby, or the dog! Brrrr!!

oh another idea is a baby gate, maybe on the bathroom. a lot cheaper than a crate - BUT make sure you have the TP, shampoo, soaps, anything he might "play" with (or destroy in nervous energy at being confined inside) out of reach. confining him to one room is also asking, in my opinion, for baseboards and doors to be scratched at and torn up. i still would recommend a crate or kennel.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Lancaster on

In regards to leaving your dog home alone, we always gave our dog a Kong w/ frozen peanut putter or a little canned dog food in it and this kept him busy while we were gone. Start out slow -leaving him home for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, a half hour and see how he does.

Our dog sleeps in our bedroom (actually he sleeps in the bed, but I don't recommend that if you can avoid it. Our guy is a persistent and we caved!), but you could get a nice dog bed for him to sleep in bedroom. I let him out to pee right before we go to bed and he has never woken us up at night to go out.

Dogs are pack animals and most love to be with their people so I think it is great that he is becoming an indoor dog!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

my small dogs go out about every 3 hrs but can make it longer then that if I need to go out and they are fine staying inside all night. My mom's large dog goes from 7am-6pm without going outside and without messing in the house. I don't think dogs should be kept outside all the time. Our dogs are never out any longer then we are. Take him for a walk at least once a day so he can get his energy out and he should be just fine inside. Your dog should be fine inside during the night. We take our dogs out for the last time around 10 pm and they don't go out until 7 am when we wake up and they do just fine of course they sleep on the bed with us most nights. Just make sure you don't leave any food out that he can get into.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

when my dogs came in they went to 'bed' when it was time for everyone to go to bed, we'd tell them bed, and off to their seperate kennel's they went. how often you let them outside is determined by their age, a puppy, for ex, every 30 min until they go, then every hour to hour and half, an adult can usually hold it all day while mommy and daddy are at work, but if you're home, obviously let them out. the new house we are in, llord doesn't want them inside, feel sorry for them, they try to "force" their way inside because they are used to being allowed to. :(

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Glad to hear that your dog is becoming and inside dog. As al lifetime dog lover I have never understood the concept of an "outside dog as a pet". Get a large dog crate, ask at the pet store what size you need, size is based on weight of the dog and size, but it needs to be big enough for the dog to fully move around inside but not overly large.Bring it home and set it up in an inconspicuous area where family hangs out. Next you can train the dog to go inside the crate while you are gone and at night. You can do this by giving him a small dog treat each time you want him to go into it for the first month or so then back off to rewarding less often but still reward every few times. Say his name and then walk to the crate and say "crate" and place the treat well inside the crate. Praise him when he goes in to the crate. Be sure you have put a blanket inside and some chew toys for his comfort and entertainment. As for going outside we have bell trained our 2 dogs to go to the back door when they want to go outside, an 80 lb shepard/lab mix and a small Welsh corgie. We tied a long ribbon onto the door handle and tied a few large jingle bells (from craft store to the ribbon.) Take/ let the dog out hourly to do his stuff and only use that door. When you open the door ring the bell yourself each time you let him out, prasie him when he goes out. The bell needs to be at the dog's mouth/nose level. Soon the dog will learn to nudge the bell each time he needs to go outside. Both dogs ring the bell now and it is very cool. Get a book on housetraining a dog too but this method works well for us. Sister and family had their inside hunting dog professionally trained and this is the method the trained used so we borrowed the idea and it works. Hope this advice helps and good luck on this, you will really enjoy the company of your dog inside. Keep us posted :>

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

Personally, I think that when you have a dog in our climate you are completly obligated to let them in over night during the winter no matter how big they are. Night's get down to teens at least. Even in a nice dog house, that's just too cold. I'm sure if you let him in, he'll be thankful and be a good boy. Dogs usually know to go stand by the door or bug you when they need to go out. How old is he? If you let him out before you go to bed, he'll make it through the night.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

My indoor four legged 3rd child is 92 lbs :) She is pretty much inside if we are. Like another said, Dogs are pack animals and want nothing more than to be with their beloved humans!
Daisy sleeps in our room on her bed and I let her out to potty before bed and very rarely does she wake me before my alarm to go out. When she does need to be let out she comes to my side of the bed and puts her head on the mattress and stares at me until I wake up. It works.
Ease him into staying inside while you're gone. Start with short amounts of time and gradually move up and see how he does.
Mine doesn't want to be inside if we're not home. She has a bed on the porch and snoozes outside and waits for our return.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Glens Falls on

You didn't say how old the dog is but if he is at least a year, he's definitely physically capable of holding his urine for long periods of time, including overnight - especially if he is 70 lbs. I've had a lot of dogs through the years, all inside dogs, and the only trouble I've ever had is that very small dogs have very small bladders and very young dogs urinate more frequently. The trick is that the dog needs to think of the home as his den. They don't like to eliminate in their den. If there is a problem, keeping him confined does help to make them think they are in their own den - that's why crate training works for puppies - but since he sounds like he's past puppy stage and isn't having a physical problem holding it in the house, you could probably just let him sleep on your bedroom floor (if you're willing) and shut the door to the bedroom. So physically, he's capable of it.

Next, praise him big time when he eliminates outside so he "gets" that outside is where you want him to go. This might mean you have to go out with him for awhile so that the praise is immediate and he knows that eliminating outside if what got you so happy and excited. Dogs really want to please. If you are truly ready to make him an inside dog (and I hope you are), bring him in and put him on a potty schedule so that he feels the need when you let him out and then you won't have to stay out so long. My current dog is only 25 lbs and 3 years old. He goes out first thing in the morning, we take a long walk around noon, he goes out around dinner time and once more before bed. Good luck and thanks for bringing this guy inside before winter sets in!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Most dogs ARE inside dogs - they are meant to be members of your "pack" and not kept isolated away from them. You did not mention how old the dog as or his breed - depending on how acclimated he is and on the type of coat he has, he could do fine outside in the cold (Huskies, Malamutes) or not (Doberman, Pointer, Boxer). It also depends on how well house-trained he is. You can start increasing the length of time between bathroom trips and see how he does. The longer they go without having to empty their bladder, the more the bladder muscle develops and the more they can "hold it". I am home with my 2 dogs, they have always been indoors (little pugs) and they go out at least 3, sometimes 4 times a day. You can also hang a bell or something similar on your door inside and teach him to "ring" it when he needs to go out - just have him start doing it when you take him out, reward him for it (praise, or a small treat), and hopefully he will start to make the connection. You can also reward him for eliminating outside when you see him do it. Behavior that is rewarded is more likely to be repeated - it is just positive reinforcement.

I would not recommend leaving him outside overnight since that is when it gets coldest. Dogs that live mostly outdoors need plenty of straw in the dog house to bed down in and stay warm and they need a source of water that will not freeze over (there are special heated water bowls just for this reason). And again, it depends on if he is a breed that is meant to be outside in the cold for long periods of time and if he is already used to it.

I'm not sure when there is a point when you know you can trust him or not - all you can do is try it and see what happens. I would make sure he does not have access to garbage or anything else that he could get into that would make a mess and cause trouble. My dog was crate-trained and went into his crate every night - then one night we forgot to put him in there and he just slept on the couch all night without a problem. That was years ago and he has not been crated since because he is fine. But he is also now a 13-year-old "cuddle pug" with couch privileges.

You can also check out many pet supply websites for large crates and adjustable doorway gates. I like PetEdge because they sell stuff wholesale so the prices are more reasonable.

I'm glad you have a hubby who is a softy for the well-being of other creatures - that's always a plus in my book! :)



answers from Orlando on

I have always had inside dogs, one of my past babies was 130lbs :-) he was the sweetest!! anyway, like some said it depends on age. and if he's not a puppy anymore and he seems to be doing ok in the house..maybe what i'd do is at night set up a little dog bed next to your bed and when you go to bed at night, tell him lay down and point to the dog bed. he'll "get it" i'm sure. and he might waunder at night (my dogs do) you'll just have to try it out one night and see what happens. if my dogs have to go out they just start bothering me, lol. they'll start pacing or come up to me and just look at me, or go to the back door and stare at me. lol



answers from Cincinnati on

If your dog is already 70 lbs he probably is full grown. You don't need to crate him at night. We have had dogs inside for years. They manage to do just fine and we let them out first thing in the morning. They will let you know if they need to go out. Some of them go stand by the door, others will come and rub on your hand or leg. Buy a big dog bed from LL Bean and just enjoy having them around. You will also feel safer, as they let you know when someone is outside or comes to the door. Relax and enjoy them!!



answers from Cincinnati on

Everyone has given good advice, and I don't want to just write a repeat. You say you don't want to buy a crate; do you have a spare bathroom you don't often use? I bought my first dog crate in college, for the dog my husband and I had adopted, although I grew up with crate-trained dogs. My parents would lock the dogs in the bathroom overnight, with a dog bed or pillow. It worked just as well as a crate without having to find a place to store one. However, many dogs are perfectly trustworthy in your home at night (not all), and may choose to sleep with their packs - you - in the bedroom if given a choice. Good luck!

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