What to do with my outdoor loving dog.
June 12, 2007 1:47 PM   Subscribe

How much time should my new puppy spend outside by himself? He seems to want to be out every minute of the day so far, but I'm worried that it will be too isolating.

My thoughts of how this puppy would behave have flown out the window in the first day. He's a nine-week old lab/rottweiler mix. We have a crate that we're going to train him to stay in, and we also have the kitchen set-up as a safe room with a baby gate. But he just wants to be outside all the time. I got him a stake-out for the front yard until we could get the trolley line set-up in back, and he's just chilling on the porch. Is this okay? Will we have problems later if he's not inside with the family more? Or should we accept that he wants to be out and get him a doghouse?
posted by saffry to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
If you want him to be a well-trained dog that stays inside for considerable amounts of time, leaving him outside unsupervised might cause him to develop some inconvenient habits. He might, for instance, come to view the world as his toilet as well as his playground. Outside he can go to the bathroom whereever he wants and chew on anything that he wants, habits I'm sure you don't want him bringing into your home.
posted by inconsequentialist at 2:06 PM on June 12, 2007

If he really loves spending time outside and you want to eventually let him be able to do that and you want him to be trained for living inside, you can spend 6-8 weeks keeping him inside most of the time (except for walks or supervised play) in order to house train him. After that, you can let him play outside more alone without worrying how he will behave indoors. That's what I did what a dachshund puppy I had a few years back.
posted by inconsequentialist at 2:13 PM on June 12, 2007

I would be concerned about a young puppy spending so much time alone - dogs aren't solitary creatures, and a goal of helping him grow into a well-adjusted dog should be to socialize him as much with people and other dogs as possible. Maybe instead of letting him just hang out outside alone, you could take him to a dog park for an hour a night or take him to "puppy kindergarten" (many animal hospitals & even pet supply stores run these programs which are basically playgroups for puppies).

As a lab / rottie mix, I think it should be a priority to make sure he can socialize well with people and other dogs, since he will most likely grow into a fairly large & strong dog. Maybe limit outside alone time to no more than an hour a day, and focus on keeping him entertained inside at home, on walks with you, and in places where he can meet & romp around with other dogs.
posted by tastybrains at 2:19 PM on June 12, 2007

You don't have to accept anything your dog wants. What your dog wants is immaterial. It's only what you want that matters.

You must address your pets basic needs like food, water, and shelter. Beyond that anything you give him is a privilege, and he should be made aware of this fact by demonstrating his obedience before receiving such perks. If you want him inside more to be near people, then he must stay inside. That's all there is to it.

You have a cute little dog, not a cute little person. To think otherwise is where the problems crop up.
posted by dendrite at 2:52 PM on June 12, 2007

Please note he can't go to the dog park or mix/play with other dogs until he's been properly vaccinated. I'm sure he is but you should just check wrt this specific issue with your vet.

If he is hanging on the porch in preference to hanging out with you, it could be a few things. It may be hot in your house and cooler in the shade outside, or the AC inside may mean he's happier outdoors. Or, when he's inside, there may be too much attention he finds overwhelming; you could try tethering him but basically not paying much attention to him for a few days.

Clearly your dog doesn't have seperation anxiety though, so that bodes very well for the long term. You may want to particularly consider obedience training, though, to assert your dominance over an independent dog.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:58 PM on June 12, 2007

i would caution against leaving your dog tied up, particulary alone, for any prolonged period of time. a tied up dog feels vulnerable. this is because, in the event of say, an attack by another dog or a person or being confronted by something they have not been socialized to yet and therefore mayb be fearful of, it does not have complete freedom of movement to either escape or defend itself. this can create a fearful and/or unnecessarily aggressive dog. if he loves to be outside, by all means let him enjoy it (after he's earned the privilege), but supervised. and please consider fencing your yard. it will save you a lot of heart- and headaches in the long run.

your lab/rottie will be big and strong some day so be sure to socialize him to as many new experiences/people/situations as possible while he is young so that he does not become fearful, and there fore possibly aggressive because he's encountered something new.
posted by violetk at 7:00 PM on June 12, 2007

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