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Moving dogs outside

(26 Posts)
jenbird Tue 03-Apr-12 16:43:19

We have two dogs: a small rescue dog who we have had for 8 years and a large spinone who we have had for 8 months. They are both pretty good dogs but since we have had the big one he has trashed our house. Not through doing anything naughty just by being big: my walls and skirting are constantly filthy and I am forever having to clean up after him. If he scratches at anything it is ruined almost immediately ad he seems pointless to think about decorating. They currently sleep in the utility room but have access to the downstairs of the house when we are in ( I am a SAHM so am in a lot).
I have recently found out I am pregnant with a our very unplanned 4th baby. I don't think I can cope with the constant mess the dog is making and am thinking of moving them outside. I would get a large doghouse with outdoor run but they would also have access to the garden. They get walked twice per day and we would still let them indoors but in a much more controlled environment I.e. on our terms and when we can spend time with them rather than them just roaming about.
Is this a cruel thing to consider? I don't want to rehome them. My little dog is much less anxious now he has a companion and they are much loved family pets.

belindarose Tue 03-Apr-12 17:36:47

Can't you spend some time training the large dog to not be a nuisance inside the house? I don't really understand what mess he is making (but then I'm a bit of a slattern with a mud magnet spaniel).

Flatbread Tue 03-Apr-12 17:37:07

Jen, I think it is fine. We know of dogs who sleep outdoors and they are happy, as long as there is a warm place when it is cold.

It might be a bit of a challenge though getting them to accept the change in the beginning. Perhaps start with them spending part of the day there. Hiding treats in the doghouse and having them search for it.

I has grand plans of my dog sleeping outside when I first got her. Even got a carpenter to build a custom kennel that I thought she would enjoy. But she had other ideas and I gave up and now she sleeps in my bedroom!

Stick with it and it should be fine. The two will have each other for company, so not like they will be lonely.

midori1999 Tue 03-Apr-12 17:57:00

I understand about the mess (4 large muddy dogs here!) but I personally wouldn't want to keep my dogs outside, especially if they'd been used to living inside for 8 years and your spinone is only 8 months old. There's the risk of theft apart from anything else.

Could you instead confine the dogs to rooms like the kitchen/utility with a stairgate when they are wet/muddy or you feel you just want a break from them? That way less of the house gets messy and the bits that do are easier to clean and they can still see/hear the sights and sounds of the house and be in the warm.

I'm not sure what you mean by the dog scratching the furniture, but surely this can't be accidental (although it's obviously not wilful damage either!) on the dogs part, so maybe training would help there?

noinspiration Tue 03-Apr-12 18:27:06

Plenty of dogs live out, especially working dogs, and live happy healthy lives. It's fine. Lots of people will tell you it is not, ignore them. Your dogs will be happiest in an environment that works for you, and that isn't going to be one where you are stressed out around them all the time.

Living out does not mean sticking them outside and ignoring them all day - they need walks, training, company etc as normal.

midori1999 Tue 03-Apr-12 18:30:19

These are not working dogs, they are family pets and there's a difference in what is expected of the two groups.

daisydotandgertie Tue 03-Apr-12 18:38:43

Family pets will struggle with such a huge change.

Can't you spend some time working with the new dog to train away the scratching at things? Moving him outsider won't stop him scratching at things, and he'll carry on doing it when he's allowed inside until he's taught not to.

And towel them off thoroughly before they come inside? Or buy something like this to put on him until he's dry? I put coats on all of mine when we're at my DM's house to keep the mess down. It works very well.

MrsJohnDeere Tue 03-Apr-12 18:41:57

I'd try longer walks, more training, and maybe one-on-one training with a reputable behaviourist or dog trainer.

I personally wouldn't keep a dog outside, but I'm a huge softie when it comes to dogs <glances at spaniel sitting on 3 cushions next to me>

raindroprhyme Tue 03-Apr-12 18:52:46

Hi my dogs were moved outside for the same reasons as you. Husky at2 years old and rescue jack russell at 7years old. They are much happier. It also gave me the opportunity to train them to be more house friendly. They now stay in the kitchen when we are out. And really only sleep outside. That took 18months to get to that point. The big dog will get better as he grows up too so it will all become more bearable.

tibetantiger Tue 03-Apr-12 18:59:29

We're thinking of getting our dog to sleep outside - in an outhouse - on the nights before exams in the summer, as long as it's warm. Obv we'll practise a few nights beforehand. As others have said, farm dogs are accustomed to it.

jenbird Tue 03-Apr-12 20:52:45

Thanks for the replies. They are both great dogs and pretty well trained. My house is open plan so once they are in they are in. The big one doesn't scratch furniture but if he wants to come in he will scratch a door. We don't acknowledge it but the back door now has no glass panel and the other dividing door has been ruined. He is just so big that everything seems permanently filthy. He has big slobbery chops which if he shakes drool goes everywhere ceiling, walls etc. I am just so fed up of constantly cleaning. We will think of something or it might just be that I am so sick at the moment that I am struggling to cope with it. Thanks again

fluffygal Tue 03-Apr-12 20:55:15

When we rescued our greyhound and lurcher, part of the contract was that they had to live in the home and couldn't be housed outside, so I would never house my dogs outside. Not to mention my dogs are part of the family and are very affectionate so don't think they would cope well being left outside on their own. We use stairgates though to stop them getting into the kitchen when we are cooking etc

Flatbread Tue 03-Apr-12 21:01:17

Jen, if it helps, I think it might be partly a cultural thing about where dogs sleep and what is considered acceptable. In rural France I blush when I admit that my dog sleeps in my room. Most pet dogs sleep either in the wood shed, basement or garage.

My bedroom has a terrace and often neighbouring dogs will happily come to sleep there. If it is cold or wet, I cannot help but let them in and I have to sleep with two or three smelly, slobbering dogs in the bedroom. Bleurg! When I admit sheepishly to a neighbour that I let their dog in, I get complete bemusement as to why I didn't leave them outside.

Flatbread Tue 03-Apr-12 21:03:01

And to add, their dogs are mostly loved and happy. So the sleeping outside as done no harm, as far as I can tell.

Booboostoo Tue 03-Apr-12 21:03:44

Would a room divider allow you to close off a bit of space for the dogs? Or get them used to a crate so they can have their own space to dry off.

At 8 months he is still very young and he can be trained not to scratch the door, so I wouldn't give up just yet. Does he go to training classes? They are a really good source of advice and help with a young dog.

discrete Tue 03-Apr-12 21:10:49

I agree with Flatbread.

Being outside doesn't harm dogs whose needs are taken care of. Our two actually prefer to sleep outside (unless it's very cold, in which case they come in) and only come inside to be with us for a while in the evening (but then we are outside with them all day during the day).

midori1999 Tue 03-Apr-12 21:28:31

Flatbread, maybe it is a cultural thing. Luckily in the UK we have the RSPCA who would remove dogs from people who thought it was OK to keep them outside with no proper shelter and then prosecute them and dog wardens who prevent people just allowing their dogs to roam freely.

OP I agree a room divider or crate training the dogs may give you some respite, especially if you are feeling very unwell at the moment. Perhaps you can get a trainer in re the door scratching?

I am not adverse to keeping dogs outside at all. However, I don't think it should be anything but an absolute last resort for family pet dogs that have been used to living in a family home for 8 years, nor a puppy who is expected to grow up well socialised into a family home.

charlearose Tue 03-Apr-12 21:32:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

charlearose Tue 03-Apr-12 21:36:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flatbread Tue 03-Apr-12 21:55:09

Midori, as usual, you are being your open-minded pleasant self. So anyone who brings up their dog contrary to your beliefs is somehow abusing their dog.

Even dogs that have a kennel, may prefer to sleep outside if the weather is ok. What might be cold for us, may be just pleasant for a dog, depending on the breed.

I can just say from my experience of having friends whose dogs sleep outside, they are usually well loved family pets and are well socialised. In fact, many of these dogs seem more chilled out and comfortable around humans and other dogs than some of their canine counterparts in the UK smile

Also, when my dog stays with my friends, she sleeps outside. When their dogs stay with me, they sleep inside. The dogs pretty quickly adjust to the new sleeping arrangements. It is harder when your dog has been sleeping inside for many years. But it is just an adjustment, I don't think it will lead to any major issues as long as they get family time during the day.

One thing which works for me, is that in every room where the dog is allowed, I have a towel or mat which is the dog's bed. She automatically goes to her bed while we are in the room. We are together that way, yet she is limited to one part of the room. Very useful too, when we are visiting people and we just have to say Bxx go to bed and she will go and relax on any towel or mat that is in the room.

midori1999 Tue 03-Apr-12 22:05:27

They don't prefer to sleep outside do they? Or they'd stay outside as opposed to coming in to sleep in your bedroom.

Flatbread Tue 03-Apr-12 22:17:07

Of course they would prefer be with me, in my bed and cuddled on my pillow, if possible. And they would like to sit on the most comfy chair and eat the lamb chops on the table and go for a walk ^ all^ the time. So what? They should have been born as cats if they want to rule the household grin

Booboostoo Thu 05-Apr-12 08:55:25

Another consideration is that dogs gets quite a lot of stimulation from being part of the family, so if you do move them around you may need to spend quite a bit of time outside with them and take them on longer walks, which might be a problem in itself. I do know of dogs that sleep outside but they are working dogs, so although they spend time in their kennel they also have huge, working walks twice a day (the kind of off lead, running, training, etc. walks that are not always easily accessible in a city).

Ephiny Thu 05-Apr-12 14:50:50

How are they making the walls filthy all the time? Mine have come in after a wet walk and had a good shake spraying muddy water all over the walls, but now I keep an old towel in the porch and rub them down before they're allowed in, so it hasn't really happened since.

They have scratched doors unfortunately, and one has destroyed a window blind (and I definitely regret getting carpet!), but you almost always get some wear and tear on a house when you have dogs. You could try stairgates instead of closing interior doors, to prevent scratching.

Have you considered hiring a cleaner to come maybe once a week, this is what we do and it really helps keep on top of things.

I don't have a problem with dogs sleeping outside as long as they have appropriate shelter, though if they're going to be outside for part of the day as well, it sounds like they could end up spending a lot of time on their own. I guess the key question is if you're only going to let them in when you're able to spend time with them, realistically how much time that be each day, and would there be a temptation to just leave them out there if you didn't feel you had the time/energy?

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 05-Apr-12 15:13:59

Wipe clean housing is the way forward. Washable-paint walls, hard wearing hard floor of some description (we have wood), pleather sofas, washable curtains.

hey presto everything is bleachable grin

You do have to actually clean it for it to look as good as it should do, but no-one is perfect, right? grin

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