Are doghouses less popular now? If so, why?
December 13, 2010 9:23 AM   Subscribe

What happened to dog houses?

In the 70s a lot of people I knew had doghouses in their yards. Now I can't think of anyone who has one, and I know a lot of people with dogs. Is it a regional thing? Dogs spend more time in people houses now? Confirmation bias? Is this even a thing?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders to Pets & Animals (33 answers total)
When I was searching for a house, I found out that a lot of HOAs forbid doghouses. So there's one external pressure that might not have been there in the 70's.
posted by unixrat at 9:26 AM on December 13, 2010

Lots of people that I know in the northeastern US have dog houses.
posted by dfriedman at 9:26 AM on December 13, 2010

I'd wager that a lot more people keep their dogs inside their *own* houses these days instead of relegating them to the outdoors.
posted by ilikecookies at 9:29 AM on December 13, 2010 [5 favorites]

I have a dog and a house and would be a candidate for a doghouse. I confess it has never occurred to me, but mostly because my dog lives in my house rather than in the yard. I have a covered patio for her if she wants to be outside while it is raining.

However, my parents' outdoor country dogs have well-built and insulated doghouses. And I do have some friends with mostly indoor dogs that do have doghouses.
posted by aabbbiee at 9:30 AM on December 13, 2010

I'd wager that a lot more people keep their dogs inside their *own* houses these days instead of relegating them to the outdoors.

Yeah, I think dogs tend to sleep inside now (in a crate or on a dog bed), as opposed to being put out for the night to sleep in a doghouse. There's a line in the Flinstones' theme song about putting out the dog and bringing in the cat every night that confused me until someone from that generation explained that it was once rare to have the family dog spend the night inside.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:32 AM on December 13, 2010

There seems to be more "dog people" nowadays, rather than just dog owners. No dog person that I know would dare leave their precious doggie outside in the elements.
posted by orme at 9:34 AM on December 13, 2010 [4 favorites]

I would bet it's more dogs being inside as well. Many places have enacted laws that forbid the chaining up of animals outside, which means that unless you have a fenced in yard, the dog house is less of an option.
posted by proj at 9:35 AM on December 13, 2010

It might be just confirmation bias on your part, or something particular to your area. I live in a small ruralish town in Kansas and almost everyone I know who has a dog also has a doghouse in the yard.

Our own three dogs have a doghouse and a kennel/run in the backyard, but they also spend a lot of time inside our own house hanging out with us. It mostly depends on the weather and what our plans are for the day.
posted by amyms at 9:37 AM on December 13, 2010

There's a book that discusses the transitioning roles of a dog within its human family, including the doghouse -> hearth -> foot of bed, called "One Nation Under Dog". Sample from the text that includes that subject here.
posted by lhall at 9:37 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think it's regional, I'm from northern NJ and now live at the Jersey Shore and I honestly can't remember seeing a doghouse around here since I was a kid. This summer I spent some time in an extremely rural part NC and there were doghouses (and free range dogs, sadly enough) all over the place.

My dog sleeps in the house like everyone else in the family.
posted by crankylex at 9:42 AM on December 13, 2010

Consider that people's tastes in dog breeds change over time, and dogs that were once popular are not as popular now, and the currently popular dogs are not suited for a life outdoors.

Example: I wouldn't want to let my Whippet sleep outside in a dog house -- this breed doesn't have the same kind of undercoat as, say, a Labrador retriever or another working/hunting breed. She'd probably survive, but it sure would suck, and might even affect her behavior.

Besides ... we cuddle. D'uh!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:45 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Lots of doghouses (and barns, and these adorable little sheds for kids to sit in while waiting for the schoolbus) in the rural areas outside Columbus, Ohio. Some in larger suburban yards and the poorer parts of town, not many in the middle-class subdivisions.

I do think they're less popular than they used to be.
posted by SMPA at 9:49 AM on December 13, 2010

I still see doghouses around Michigan.. However I believe that people tend to show more compassion towards the pups they own than used to be the case. I would like to think that, as a race, we're moving in a positive direction in terms of our philosophy about dogs...... I think the other factors noted above also impact on this..

Nice slap at folks who love their dogs there orme.... sheesh.. was that really necessary?
posted by HuronBob at 9:49 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Partial answer to the "why?" of your question: It costs about as much to feed a small or medium sized indoor dog as it does to pay a monthly security alarm charge, and unlike the electronic security alarm, you never forget to turn the dog on.
posted by paulsc at 9:51 AM on December 13, 2010

Yeah, I would wager on the move inside coinciding with the rise of animal welfare concerns. Which, you know, in my book? +1
posted by FlamingBore at 9:51 AM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

They're fairly common in the Northeast. In Cambridge, MA, dogs are allowed to be outside 24/7, no matter the weather so long as they are provided a doghouse. I had a neighbor that would leave their poor dog outside all hours of the winter. 24 hours a day, even if the temperatures were well below freezing, raining, snowing, etc. The dog was not well behaved, very very violently barky, leaping and jumping at the chain metal fence when anything walked by and was utterly terrifying at times. I'm not a dog person and hated that dog, until I saw it huddled on a pile of snow early one morning. It was way too cold to get up and jump and freak out as it usually does. That began the first of a few calls to animal control - its owners were obviously assholes. I never saw a dog house on their property, but according to animal control, they have something that marginally qualifies as one behind the house so nothing could be done.
posted by raztaj at 9:51 AM on December 13, 2010

Also, the rise in 'leash laws' mean that you can't as easily just toss the dog out and let it hang around outside all day, where it might need shelter occasionally.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:52 AM on December 13, 2010

Dogs are indoor creatures now. Dog houses have been replaced by dog sweaters/coats, dog crates, dog hair conditioner.... and the dog sleeping on our $2000 mattress at night.
posted by jerseygirl at 9:55 AM on December 13, 2010

We had a doghouse for our dog when I was a kid, and he refused to go in it. Didn't matter if it was snowing or raining or cold or whatever, he wasn't interested. We tried throwing dog treats in there to convince him, but he would just dart in long enough to grab the food and then eat it outside. I always figured the lack of doghouses was because everyone figured out that dogs don't like them. Maybe it was just my one dog that was crazy.
posted by vytae at 9:57 AM on December 13, 2010

I would agree with the folks who suggest that it's either confirmation bias or else has something to do with your particular area. Here in South Carolina I still see a lot of dog houses (actually, when I first moved here I remember someone asking me where I kept my dog since I lived in an apartment; when I said she slept in my bedroom with me this person responded with a very taken-aback "Oh ... I guess that's okay, too.").

As one of those "dog people" types I would never dream of leaving my dog outside unless I was out there with her (they are awfully nice to have when you're camping and it's cold, though ...)
posted by DingoMutt at 10:08 AM on December 13, 2010

Homemade dog houses tend to be really horrible places for your dog to hang out. They are frequently not insulated properly which makes them prone to being too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. If constructed improperly then tend to be magnets for mold, mildew and rot.

The also tend to be a great place for other animals to make house in and difficult to clean.

An off the shelf open crate or cage under an enclosed area with a blanket tends to be a better solution all around for outside dogs.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:16 AM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh and with the rise in popularity of crate training I see a lot more dogs kept in crates instead of traditional dog houses now.
posted by bitdamaged at 10:18 AM on December 13, 2010

Nice slap at folks who love their dogs there orme.... sheesh.. was that really necessary?
posted by HuronBob at 12:49 PM

Sorry, I've been exposed to an excessive amount of dog preciousness via my family and their collection of pampered pups. I was thinking more "helicopter pet-parent" and less "animal lover".
posted by orme at 10:32 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

There was a dog house in our yard when we bought our house, maybe 5 years ago. A manufactured Rubbermaid sort of thing. It was pretty nice, but we didn't have a dog. Somebody stole it a few months later.

Point being, they still (at least 5 or so years ago) manufactured dog houses, and people still wanted them badly enough that they would steal one by scaling a fence and somehow maneuvering a fairly heavy and ungainly doghouse back over the fence, ignoring the lawnmower and any number of other more pedestrian garden devices.
posted by dirtdirt at 10:58 AM on December 13, 2010

i know lots of people who still keep their dog outside of the house, but most of them have an area in the garage and a crate.
posted by nadawi at 10:59 AM on December 13, 2010

This post from a "dog blog" agrees with the general idea that it is less common and less socially acceptable to put the dog out than it once was...

Certainly seems that way to me - the crate is the new dog house. I wonder if perhaps the suburban sprawl thing is something to do with it, that fewer people even have much backyard space to begin with, so get used to the idea of having the dog in the house, and then even if they do move somewhere with a yard, they're already used to having the dog inside.
posted by mdn at 11:11 AM on December 13, 2010

I agree that dogs just live inside more often. Just based on my own life history, I can see this is true. (I'm still surprised whenever I see people carrying their dogs into stores and restaurants - this was so not done when I was a kid and teen...but I digress).

One other region/climate note, though: even dogs that primarily live inside (as for sleeping at night) still need to spend a fair amount of time outside. And if you live in a climate that can get hot and sunny, dogs need shade. So a doghouse isn't necessarily just for protection from cold elements during sleeping outside - it can be a shady refuge too, even if the dog sleeps indoors.
posted by Miko at 11:19 AM on December 13, 2010

"Let a dog sleep outside? How dare you! I'm calling the police!" I'd chalk up a lot of the change to social pressure. Some people think it's dog abuse just to leave your dog outside all day. Give me a break. When I was growing up we had outside dogs who had insulated dog houses that were extra-insulated with blocks of hay for the winter. Our dogs never froze. They had fur coats. They could pee and poop whenever they wanted and our carpeting didn't smell like shit indoors.
posted by thorny at 11:43 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

it's regional but also, social. i think there has been a shift to viewing dogs as "members of the family" and thus, as members of the family, they live inside the house, with other members of the family. people who still view a dog as an animal rather than a member of the family will more likely have their animals sleeping outside, in a dog house.
posted by violetk at 1:58 PM on December 13, 2010

One of the conditions I accepted when adopting my dog from the Humane Society was that I would not leave him chained outside for any length of time.
posted by namewithoutwords at 5:35 PM on December 13, 2010

People still have doghouses (in Michigan, at least). I'm a vet and treated frostbite already once this year for a dog with an 'insulated doghouse'.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 6:01 PM on December 13, 2010

One of the conditions I accepted when adopting my dog from the Humane Society was that I would not leave him chained outside for any length of time.

keeping a dog in a dog house is NOT the same as chaining a dog outside.
posted by violetk at 6:37 PM on December 13, 2010

I have a dog house. My husband is a carpenter and spent two days (and $200) building and insulating it.

In addition to the reasons given above, I would also wager that the decline in dog houses mirrors the decline in skills using tools across the population. Building IKEA furniture is not good training for building a dog house.
posted by crazycanuck at 9:48 AM on January 15, 2011

« Older Stairs, why are you so complicated?   |   Saturday Night At The Movies AMC Trailer Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.