Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

How to transition to an outdoor dog?

Colubridz
March 16th, 2007, 01:12 AM
I'm curious for those of you who keep your dogs outside when your away during the day or full time, how did you make the transition from indoors to out without it being to overwhelming to them?

The reason I ask is because once the weather warms up I would like to make Duke a 5' by 3' by 4' waterproof dog kennel and let him stay outdoors in the yard during the day when I'm at school ( so for roughly 6 hours of the day until I get home around 3 in the afternoon). He won't be a full time out door dog and will be back inside with us when were home; it's just that we live in the basement half of a bungalow and the only room Duke is allowed to free roam in is the kitchen and living room. This is because the bedrooms are blocked off due to our two cats ( who prefer to not be invaded by him) and multiple pet snakes and lizards (which are in my room and I cannot let him in due to the fire hazard of him knocking over their heat lamps).

We have a solid wood 6' high fence which encloses our very large back yard ( If I had to give rough estimates of size I'd say about 80 feet long by 60 feet wide) which is very sturdy. The ground is all flat with 70% of it grass and the area around the garage is paved. There are window drains or whatever their called in two places; however I could easily cover them with a thick ply board during the day so he could not fall in (there about 2' long by 1' wide and 2' deep). The dog shelter itself will be insulated and waterproof. Also can anyone suggest the best materials to use and what substrate to use for ground cover.

I was also wondering about stimulation items for the backyard as well as 100% escape proofing measures. He loves to play with his basketballs in the backyard so I would defiantly leave those out for him, I was also thinking of stuffing a few kongs and hiding them in different places so he would have to find them to keep him busy. Regardless I'd like to hear what others do to entertain their dogs while their out back.

Next, when it comes to the issue of digging/jumping and escape behaviours over the fence how do you test to see how likely your dog is to do this? Duke has never exhibited any digging behaviour so I am unsure if he would try and dig under the fence.

Finally I was wondering what is the best way to transition them to the outdoors so you can avoid them feeling insecure and or developing separation anxiety. His trainer suggested buying a matt of some sort and feeding him on it, training sit and stays on it and start bringing it outside with him on pee/play breaks so he slowly associates outside as being part of his comfort zone as well. I was also thinking about bringing his crate out and letting him go in it even for 10 mins outside so again he'd get used to feeling safe outdoors. Then I could slowly start leaving him outside by himself for just 5 minutes to feed him in the morning and evening so he can furthur associate being outside alone with good things and then slowly over a month or so increase that time. What else would you guys recommend doing to get him used to it?

I live in a low key neighbourhood and during the day no one is really around so that combined with a solid wood fence I'm not worried about anyone harassing him.

Thanks

Kayla

clm
March 16th, 2007, 01:20 AM
Our dogs have always stayed in the house during the day while we're at work. All they do is sleep while we're gone anyway. I don't like to leave them outside in case someone decides to take them, or a meter reader for gas or hydro comes in the yard and doesn't close the gate, or something starts them barking and driving the neibours crazy, or a thunderstorm pops up and scares the life out of them. I prefer to keep them safe and sound in the house.

Cindy

Frenchy
March 16th, 2007, 12:02 PM
I don't like to leave them outside in case someone decides to take them,

Please reconsider leaving your dog outside. Too many dogs get stolen this way. And like Cindy wrote, someone could leave the fence open.

Hunter's_owner
March 16th, 2007, 01:55 PM
Yeah, I wouldn't leave a dog outside either:shrug:

Frenchy
March 16th, 2007, 02:01 PM
I'm curious for those of you who keep your dogs outside when your away during the day or full time,


I don't think anyone here does that. :shrug:

Scott_B
March 16th, 2007, 02:41 PM
same. Rosco will always be an indoor dog. He goes out with me, and comes inside with me.

~michelle~
March 16th, 2007, 03:52 PM
I have heard to many stories first hand of a dramatic increase in dog poisonings.
i would suggest leaving your dog inside, much easier to control an indoor environment than an outdoor one. you wont have your dog being harassed by people or animals inside the home, and not subject to the elements.
as far as gaurenteeing no escape, can make more difficult for the dog to escape, but some dogs can be very very determined. i know that if i were to leave anyof my dogs in a backyard while i was gone they would try to find a way out to look for me and probably injure themselves in the process.
try crate training your dog and slowly building up their independence within the home, first try 15 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins, 1 hr, etc etc, until you can have your dog be happy and independent in the home.
also having the dog being able to stay at home alone indoors is easier incase weather extremes happen. there will be days your dog will not be able to stand the cold/heat for 6 hours as it will be too much
Hope you find something that can work for you and your dog while your away

Colubridz
March 16th, 2007, 04:19 PM
I understand your concerns and appricate them being mentioned however I do believe dogs can safely and responsibly kept outside part time with proper measures. I recieved some first hand advice from a few people who kennel their dogs during the day and have been recommended to dig approx a foot or so down around the fence line and attach chicken mesh from the bottom of the fence into the hole and then bury it. This is to deter any digging behaviour as when their nails hit the chicken mesh it feels very uncomfortable. For the top of the fence line I will be adding a pet friendly hot wire on our side so incase he did happen to jump up it would let out a very light shock to deter such attempts. Though being a solid wood fence oppossed to a chain link which is much easier for dogs to climb I'm not extremely worried about that.

I'm starting to aclime Duke to the outdoors now and provided he enjoys being outdoors regardless of myself being there I will keep him out during the day when were not home, if not then he will stay an indoor dog.

Kayla

heidiho
March 16th, 2007, 04:22 PM
What about a doggie door so he can come in when he wants?

Lukka'sma
March 16th, 2007, 04:29 PM
It sounds to me like a lot of work to dig down a foot or so and attach chicken wire in a property that you only rent. It does sound to me like you rent the basement.
Has the landlord approved of this enclosure. I guess the next thing I would be concerned about would be the barking issue. A bored and lonely dog may disrupt the neighbours with constant barking. Especially if the people that live in the upper part of your home come outside and try and enjoy the yard in the daytime. I know when I let Lukka out for a pee it takes about a milla-second before something has her barking. I would never go away and leave her alone in the yard, too many things could go wrong.

phoenix
March 16th, 2007, 05:10 PM
well, contrary to most of the posts here, I do leave my dogs outside alone sometimes. I am very careful about the weather (only on lovely days, not too hot or cold, sunny, no rain in sight, etc). I also only leave them for a few hours at a time (not more than 2 usually) if I am shopping or teaching a class and know I'll be back soon. I think 6 h might be a bit long for him to be out alone. I know my guys entertain each other, rough house, etc so they don't get bored out there. On nice days they prefer to be out there. But if I'm going to be away for more than 3 h I bring them to my dad's.

I live in a very quiet neighborhood, and don't worry about other people hurting or stealing the dogs. My dogs have never tried to jump or escape.

At any rate, I don't think it is a bad thing... a doggie door really would be the best of both worlds- when they were puppies I had a 'door' cut in my screen door and they could come in and out at will from the kitchen. (This meant a lot of mopping floors though!)

rainbow
March 16th, 2007, 07:36 PM
I'm the same as Phoenix. When my hubby works out of town I leave my two dogs in a fenced back yard. Even though we live in a quiet area just outside of a small town I still padlock both gates.

Why don't you try leaving your dog in the yard on the weekend for short periods to see how he will react. Then increase the time each time you go out.

TMac
March 16th, 2007, 10:30 PM
I understand your concerns and appricate them being mentioned however I do believe dogs can safely and responsibly kept outside

What will you do on hot summer days? If that's your dog in your avatar, it looks like he has a lot of fur.

Can you rig a doggie door to your basement entrance?

TMac
March 16th, 2007, 10:32 PM
For the top of the fence line I will be adding a pet friendly hot wire on our side so incase he did happen to jump up it would let out a very light shock to deter such attempts.


Uh-oh. Kayla, don't be surprised if this statement sets a lot of people off. Not too many on this board are pro-shocks (me included). :shrug: :2cents:

Frenchy
March 16th, 2007, 10:38 PM
Uh-oh. Kayla, don't be surprised if this statement sets a lot of people off. Not too many on this board are pro-shocks (me included). :shrug: :2cents:

:eek: I totally missed that part !!! no no no .... so wrong on so many point, what if there's a thunderstorm, what if he get hit by lighting, what if he gets stolen , what if it's 38*C humidex and he put his water bowl upside down from boredom, dogs get dehydrated fast , to many "what if" :shrug:

mummummum
March 16th, 2007, 11:23 PM
Sometimes it is helpful to go back to the beginning... so answer truthfully ~ none of us can hear you or will judge you.

Why do you want to do this ?
Who are you doing it for ?
What do you want to happen if you do this ?
What are you afraid of if you do, do thiis ?
What will happen if you don't do this ?

Now, I realize all that might seem a little goofy ~ but too often we jump to the "obvious solution" ~ like a fence. I'm hoping these questions will lead you to free up your mind to other solutions based on your wants and your dog's needs. There are always many ways to reach your goals ~ it's up to you to find one which meets your needs and respects your dog as a thinking & feeling being.

clm
March 17th, 2007, 12:20 AM
My dog also doesn't have much space to stay in during the day when we're at work....just like you, it's the kitchen and the livingroom. It's a nice safe space for him to sleep and eat while we're away and each dog I've had has done very nicely with that arrangement for the 10 years I had each of them.

I don't like the hot wire idea either, birds aren't going to know what it is when they land on it. Neither will butterflies. Neither are kids whose ball ends up in your yard and they scramble over the fence after it. Are you going to run home if a thunderstorm threatens out of nowhere during the day?

Cindy

rainbow
March 17th, 2007, 12:48 AM
I also missed the "hot wire" part of your post and agree with all the others.....it is a very unsafe thing to do.

mummummum
March 18th, 2007, 07:14 PM
I also don't think it's legal in residential neighbourhoods.

Colubridz
March 18th, 2007, 07:15 PM
Why do you want to do this ? To give Duke an area to actually move around during weather appropriate days opposed to be crated for 6 hours a day.

Who are you doing it for ? Duke, provided HE will adjust well to an outdoor enviroment. I know plenty of dogs who LOVE their backyard and whin and cry when they are kept in for long periods of time. If it can be done safely, which I believe is possible if proper percautions are taken and Duke adjusts well to it, and does not exhbit whinning,crying, digging,destructive behaviours which point to emotional distress then this option appeals to me very much. I have already started leaving him outside alone for 5 miniutes at a time and over the next two months plan on increasing this time and judging his reaction, if after a few weeks he seems to still be uncomfortable outside alone then I will ditch the idea.

What do you want to happen if you do this ? I just want Duke to be happy whether this means indoors or not. However unlike alot of people on this board I do believe alot of dogs do enjoy having some time outside as long as they still get alot of time with there pack members. It's not a substituion for walks or games or play it would only be for his benefit if he has no problem with it.

What are you afraid of if you do, do thiis ? Nothing really, I think it's silly to constantly worry about people stealing your pet, your house could just as likely burn down with your dog inside, I know my area, the activity's which go on it and my yard It's simply a matter of whether or not Duke adjusts well to it or not, simple as that.

What will happen if you don't do this ?- Duke will just have to remain an indoor dog and maybe when he's older and calmed down around the 2 year mark I will let him free roam inside.

Lastly I just wanted to mention we don't rent, we own the house. However we live with our uncle and cousin who own the upstairs of the house and we have the downstairs. They've had dogs before and don't care whatever modifications we make to the backyard if we go this method.

As for the hotwire I have double checked and inspected the fence and believe it is secure, again this is where observation is important over the next few months while I slowly start leaving him out alone for 5- 30 mins a day.

Of course IF we go this route Duke will have a weather proof dog house and porch so he has both shade and complete shelter. He'll also have a large assortment of stimulating toys.

Kayla

mummummum
March 19th, 2007, 01:51 AM
Sorry Kayla ~ I didn't mean you actually had to answer "out loud" ~ I meant the questions as a sort of "jumping off" point in case you want to revisit your decision. Just wondering if you checked with the local building department to see if an electrified fence is legal in a residential neighbourhood in your part of the province and what kind of signage is required if it is allowable. Also, I'm curious as to what your neighbours who share the fence think of it.

clm
March 19th, 2007, 07:18 AM
Don't remember seeing anything before about the alternative being crating the dog for 6 hours a day. Unacceptable....block him off in the kitchen if you must with his crate their for security, but don't leave him in a crate for 6 hours a day.

Cindy

Colubridz
March 19th, 2007, 10:20 AM
Well as I said early I won't be needing the hot wire regardless as I'm confident with the fences security. As for the crating for 6 hours that's excactly why I started considering this option as it's very long. I do have a 4' high puppy pen which I encircle around his crate to give him a bit of extra room but it's still smaller then I'd like.

Kayla

erykah1310
March 19th, 2007, 11:14 AM
Okay... Im going against the crowd on this one and IM fine with it.

I leave my dogs outside in the summer, for 11 hours at a time :eek: shocking I know... but I cant justify them being in the house for that long in summer months ( we have no airconditioning)
My dogs love it, there is no problem taking them out in the morning, they have plenty of water, shade and toys to play with.
And you may as well start dialing the SPCA right now cause I dont have a fenced in area for them yet.:eek: My dogs are tied out. Im horrible I know, I should relinquish my pet owner rights.:rolleyes: None the less, They are very secure, there is nothing that they can entangle themselves in and they dont have choke collars on. Back on topic though.
On rainy days, Meik still would rather be outside, Kita will stay in the house, honestly its up to them.
As far as water dishes spilling during heat waves.... They are secured firmly to the walls of their dog houses, no chance of tipping them.
As far as thunder storms.... Meik likes his house and feels very safe in there, its his first choice for hideout when we are outside playing in the fall and someone starts shooting geese.
As for theft, or someone letting them loose.... Not likely going to happen, Im way too rural and so many of the neighbours drive by on a regular basis and check on the dogs. Just their general well being, We have heard that NO ONE can get out of their car here when we arent home, although the dogs are tied, it appears as though they will drag their houses towards the intruder.
Call me a bad dog mom, I really dont care, my dogs are healthy happy, and loved... they by all means are not the dogs tied in the back yard day in and day out, left to rot at the end of a chain. I've read that site Im against neglectful dog owners weather its in a pen or tied out.

Anyways im pre defending myself here and I have no reason to, so im just going to leave it at that.

Make sure there is lots of shade, the water dish cant be spilled over, perhaps put in a kiddie pool for the dog... Make sure there is no way of escape and have a lock on the pen, make sure that being outside all day DOESNT become a substitute for play time and excersise. Other than that I have little or no suggestions.
If your dog doesnt like being out there, they know best... bring him back in.
Its as easy as that.

clm
March 19th, 2007, 11:38 AM
You're right, I don't like dogs being tied out either....but that's just me.
I've no doubt you love your dogs and it's wonderful that you don't think you have to worry about them getting stolen, happens in my area too frequently...even my vets dog was stolen, so it can happen to anybody.
A friend of mine actually has a dog who is tied up during the day, and she has on numerous occassions broken the line, hasn't been hit by a car yet, but it could happen. No lectures just my thoughts. I may just be a little too protective of them.

As for the air conditioning....my dogs are spitz type, so I have to beg them to go out once the temperature hits above 70....they prefer to lay on the air conditioning vents....a necessity at my place for people too, flat roof on the house so no where for heat to escape...had to install it as expensive as it is to run.

Cindy

heidiho
March 19th, 2007, 03:29 PM
What about putting in a doggie door??Didnt see if you commented on that,to me it would solve everything dog can be inside or outside when he wants.

Colubridz
March 19th, 2007, 03:37 PM
We actually do have a doggie door in which leads into a small 9' by 6' room which is enclosed from the rest of the house which can serve as a dog shelter. It's insulated pretty and pretty warm so I would just put down a bed for him in there so he would be able to come in whenever. I can't leave the door open which leads to the rest of the house as we live downstairs while my uncle is upstairs and theres to much garbage and food left on his counters that Duke would be able to eat.

Kayla

Prin
March 19th, 2007, 06:38 PM
Please reconsider leaving your dog outside. Too many dogs get stolen this way. And like Cindy wrote, someone could leave the fence open.

I was so hesitant to come into this thread, but I just had to add to that... So far on this site in the past 2 years, I'd say ALL of the dogs who have been poisoned while left outside alone were in very rural areas where the owners were sure they were safe because they were so secluded. They never thought in a million years that somebody would know there was a dog there, let alone treck out to poison it.

Just something to be aware of.:o

Smiley14
March 20th, 2007, 07:27 PM
I'm probably in the minority here as well, but I find nothing wrong with your plans. I too have a solid wood, 8 foot fenced backyard (the maximum height allowed in my residential neighborhood). I planted shrubbery all around the edge with a very thick rock landscaping along all the borders to discourage digging. The gates are padlocked, the stay at home neighbor helps keep an eye on him, and he has a doggie door to come in and out as he pleases. My dog does have free reign around my entire house as well, but I see nothing wrong with your plan to let him have access to the one room through the doggie door and into the backyard to come and go as he pleases.

Now I have had a few escapes, so I am the first to admit it's not perfect. These have all been from service people, who have key access, forgetting to close the gate behind them. I've since added a spring closure onto the gates in case of this very thing and haven't had any problems for months now. I also have yellow "Caution--Close Gate" signs on both sides of both gates. Doesn't mean it can't happen again, but I've taken as much precaution as I can. Obviously the safest thing to do is to keep him indoors when I'm not home, and I am fully aware I am taking the slight risk of stealing/poisoning/escapes, etc by doing this. But I find it more cruel to leave him home alone indoors for 10 hours a day as I am single and work very long hours. I have a dog walker that comes every day as well to check on him, take him for a walk, and give him some attention. I feel by having an 8 foot high solid wood, locked fence built, I've done as much as I can to lessen this possibility, while still giving him the freedom he loves. Petey LOVES his doggie door, and he loves the freedom of coming and going as he pleases. I can't see taking that away for the "what-if's" in life. As I said, I accept it's not perfect and that there are risks, but I find the rewards to be more beneficial than the risks and have done everything possible to ensure peace of mind and safety.

Prin
March 20th, 2007, 08:00 PM
Ok, one more thing to add.:D In our neighborhood, everybody has at least one dog and everybody (except us) has a completely fenced in yard. Every week, at least once a week, I bring a dog home. They all end up here. Either they dig a hole under the fence, go through an accidentally opened gate, however they get out of their securely fenced in yards, they end up here. I routinely bring home 2 yellow labs, 2 chocolate labs, a black mutt and a pom. :shrug: All from different homes. Whenever I bring them home, the owners are shocked they got out.

Just another thing to consider.

Smiley14
March 20th, 2007, 08:48 PM
Oh, one more tip I just remembered. The only few times my dog has ever gotten out was when service people forgot to close the gate. So besides adding the spring closure so the gates now snap immediately closed and can't be left open, I also now rescheduled all the service people to come on the same day each week so I know exactly when they're coming. For me, my water meter is in the front yard, so the people accessing the back are the lawn mowers, the pooper-scooper lady, and the exterminator man. They now all come on Tuesdays, so every Tuesday I leave the doggie door locked. For me, I work afternoons, so usually they have already come and gone by the time I leave for work, so I can then unlock the door as normal. But once in a while, when I know they're coming, but they haven't shown up yet, I will keep him indoors while I'm gone. Usually by the time my dog walker comes in the early evening then, she can unlock the door for me. Petey is a total runner, but by tightly controlling everything as much as I do, I feel I greatly reduce the risk of escape. As I said, I know it's not perfect, but I feel it works well for us and our situation. We haven't had an escape for almost a year now since I've added all the extra precautions (locked gates, signs, scheduled appts, spring closures) to what I already had (very high solid fence to discourage throwing over/through, dig-proof borders). Obviously every situation is different, so just do what works best for you!

x.l.r.8
March 20th, 2007, 09:43 PM
Yeah but Prin, their only comming round to see what your feeding this week :laughing:
:sorry: :offtopic:
Back to the topic. I built my dog run for the winter with a view to leaving them out in the summer, but I can't bring myself to do it, they are happy out there but after 20 minutes I'm calling them back in. It's me that needs adjusting to their increasing independancy, I don't like it one bit that they are happy be outside.
I've increased my time away from them to 40 minutes but I still have to check out the window when it gets quiet. I put some rebar on the fence like every 8 inches (about 1ft long) straight down. It should stop the under fence escape but I'm now going to landscape and put a path around the perimiter for snow clearence as the 7 ft fence (mine is also 1ft under ground) became a 5 ft and in some areas 4ft. The ground underneith was still just mud as we were in a rush to finish so clearing the snow was harder.
I'm thinking about a perimiter fence :sad: as while Riley will come back, Missy has twice jumped the fence at the dog park and just run off (so much for her bad hips), straight across the road and into gardens, across gardens and back out into the road. Riley, feeling he is the leader feels he should then go and follow so of one gets out I know the other will be right behind.
It's nice for you to voice your ideas and have the grey areas cleared up before you actually go and do it, thats what this type of forum is for, rather than jsut bashing your ideas because THEY don't think it's right. Good luck :highfive:

lt_danish
March 20th, 2007, 10:42 PM
My own dog is an inside dog. My parents family dog is an outside/inside dog.

Sadly she is a wonderful dog but probably wasn't the best breed choice at the time, but she was free. She is 10 years old now and still can clear a 6 foot high fence with no problem. She was in a HUGE backyard with our sheltie at the time with lots of toy, shelter, water (she had a kiddie pool). But no, she would always jump over the fence, wander around the neighbourhood, pick up garbage bags and drag them back to our front yard. The neighbours sheltie who was friends with our dogs decided she wanted to come over to play when her owners left her outside, so she dug a hole INTO our yard.

It sounds to me like you really want your dog to have outside play time. So if that is what you are going to do maybe see if there are neighbours or friends who can come by and check on him. 6hrs is a long time alone outside. I wouldn't go with the electric thing either... there is almost always a weak spot, or a weaker spot. And anyone I know who has tried that ended up wasting time/money because the dog found the weak spot or just got used to the shock and went for it. As for transitioning, the same way as the crate? Just having longer and longer sessions outside alone.

rainbow
March 21st, 2007, 12:10 AM
Ok, one more thing to add.:D In our neighborhood, everybody has at least one dog and everybody (except us) has a completely fenced in yard. Every week, at least once a week, I bring a dog home. They all end up here. Either they dig a hole under the fence, go through an accidentally opened gate, however they get out of their securely fenced in yards, they end up here. I routinely bring home 2 yellow labs, 2 chocolate labs, a black mutt and a pom. :shrug: All from different homes. Whenever I bring them home, the owners are shocked they got out.

Just another thing to consider.

Are those dogs left outside all day long with no supervison? :sad: