inside dogs. the dangers of keeping dogs outside

Dog’s Best Friend’s Daily Training Tip ~ Since Summer is upon us, I thought it was a good time to once again post my dog tip on why I do not recommend keeping your pups outside.  Check it out!  

Clients often ask me if they should keep their dog in the backyard or give her free access to the backyard through a doggy door. My answer to this is always the same. No! It’s simply too dangerous out there and can cause or exacerbate behavioral issues such as barking and/or aggression.

Below are just a few reasons why I feel this way:

  1. It’s dangerous! All it takes is one mistake or unkind act and you’ve lost your dog….forever.
  • Escape. No matter how secure you feel your backyard is, dogs often find a way out. They’re smart and find places that you didn’t even know existed, places to escape into that exciting world outside.
  • People are unpredictable. I have seen/heard of strangers simply walking up to gates, opening them and letting the dogs out. Why? We don’t really know. Often just because they felt like it.
  • Not everyone likes dogs. As hard as this is to believe, it’s true. There are many heart breaking stories of dog-haters poisoning dogs by throwing toxic meats, etc. over the fence. The poor pup excitedly engulfs the treat, thinking he has a friend, but ends up sick or worse, betrayed by an unkind human being (well, if you can call them that).
  • Theft. There are syndicates all over the country that steal pet dogs and sell them to dog fighters or unethical research labs. Small dogs are the easiest target, but don’t be fooled into thinking your Golden Retriever cannot fall victim to this. If the dog is easily accessible, they’ll take him, no matter the size.
  1. Behavior Issues.
  • Backyards have tons of stimulus. Squirrels, birds, cars, sirens, construction. All of these noises can cause stress in your dog and lead him to bark, cry or both. If you are not there to monitor what’s going on, you can find yourself with an incessant barker, which the neighbors will not appreciate (nuisance fines can be very steep in the Beach Cities).
  • Destruction. It can be very boring laying out there all alone all day long. So what’s a dog to do? Digging seems fun. Or maybe tearing up that rose bush, or eating the wooden table. Most backyard destruction is done simply because the dog is bored, lonely and/or stressed. Prevent this by keeping your dog inside with lots of fun bones, toys and, most importantly, interaction with his human family.
  • Becoming territorial. What is a dog to do when other dogs are constantly walking by his home? Of course he has to bark and let them know this is his turf. Can you blame him? The more he’s allowed to do this, the better he gets at it. It’s also darn fun (taking care of that boredom we were talking about). He barks and the other dog/human goes away. Whoohoo! Success! But this success can lead your dog to becoming territorial/aggressive when he’s out in the rest of the world, not just your yard.
  1. It’s Inhumane. This one is simply my opinion. However, it’s based on years of living with dogs and interactions with hundreds of dogs (maybe even thousands now). I have yet to see a dog that would rather be outside than inside with his family, if given the choice. Never!!! That look on their face when their human closes the door and turns off the light, leaving the dog standing at the door, staring into the house, is the most heartbreaking look I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t lie.

Dogs that are kept in the house are simply better adjusted, have better manners and are all around happier dogs. Oh, and did I mention cleaner too?!

So if you’re keeping your pup outside, please reconsider. Dogs are social animals and they need to be with you. Be flattered that they love you and want to be close to you, more than anything else in the whole wide world.