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Very elderly dog wants to be outside *all* the time

(22 Posts)
Sadik Sun 24-Apr-16 20:16:19

Sorry, long post. DDog is 16, so really very old (large breed). He's still mobile, goes for a couple of gentle walks every day, and when he last saw the vet a few months back we were told his heart and general health were very good for a dog of his age. He's always had a strong preference for being outside a lot of the time, he has a thick double coat and really doesn't feel the cold, nor rain until it gets properly heavy.

As he's got older (roughly in the last couple of years), and more inclined to just sleep / less sociable, that's increased even more, to the point that essentially he wants to sleep outdoors all the time. However, in the past, he's always accepted that he has to be indoors from when it gets dark overnight until we get up in the morning - if he needed the toilet he'd let us know then come back indoors.

He's now decided that he doesn't want to sleep indoors overnight, and we're really struggling over what to do. He goes for a short bedtime walk, then will come in and settle down, then anytime from around 3 in the morning onwards decides it's time to go out. He doesn't need the toilet, just lays down in his spot. We've tried leaving him out for a few minutes in case he does genuinely need to wee etc, then bringing him in, but he just barks repeatedly to be let out again.

What would you do? I'm really reluctant to let him stay out as he won't bark to come in if it rains, he sleeps too heavily to notice anything beyond a downpour. But then I don't want to shout at a very elderly dog . . . but then we really need some sleep occasionally sad He does have occasional accidents in the house now, but we've never ever told him off for them, and tbh I'm not sure he even notices.

Jeremysfavouriteaunt Sun 24-Apr-16 20:20:19

Could you get a kennel or construct some sort of shelter and let him have that. The trouble is that you will probably worry all night though.

Sadik Sun 24-Apr-16 20:24:33

He point blank refuses to sit in a kennel sad

Jeremysfavouriteaunt Sun 24-Apr-16 20:31:44

Oh, he is a stubborn old thing, bless him, he is so elderly. That must be really hard that you are up at 3am every day.

Sorry, I am not being much help, hopefully a vet or someone with experience of this might see the thread.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sun 24-Apr-16 20:35:17

I think if a kennel or covering is out of the question, and the nights are much warmer, I'd let him stay outside if that's where he wants to be.

Very upsetting for you though.

Sadik Sun 24-Apr-16 20:36:16

No problem, I'm not sure there is an answer. DH suggests maybe we should let him sleep outside if the weather forecast looks reliably dry on the grounds that he's so old we should let him do what he wants . . . But I'm not sure I'll sleep at all then!

FannyFanakapan Sun 24-Apr-16 20:36:21

Our golden retriever did this just before she died (cancer)- I think she just felt so unwell and had a slight fever, so outside was much more comfortable. Id let him stay out if that's what he wants.

Lollylovesbones Sun 24-Apr-16 20:38:33

Could you take him for a check up - I think some conditions make dogs feel hot and uncomfortable so they prefer to be outside. Or is senility a possibility? Sorry not very positive.

Sadik Sun 24-Apr-16 20:38:56

He definitely won't do undercover unless forced, he goes to work with DH & while fellow workers dog comes and sits in the barn when it rains, DDog just stays out there, even though there's an openfronted machinery shed which is basically outdoors with a roof! Maybe what I need is to make some kind of alarm which will tell me if it starts to rain . . .

Sadik Sun 24-Apr-16 20:40:28

I think you're right Fanny - I'm not sure he feels unwell (I hope?), he seems generally quite perky and he certainly still enjoys his food and (very slow) walks at least. I guess I just really want what realistically are going to be his last few weeks or months to be happy sad

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sun 24-Apr-16 20:42:16

I can sympathise. My dogs aren't elderly but getting there, overnight I check a couple of times in case they are accidentally outside and im scared they will freeze to death! I have teens that will let them out if they bark but not a whole lot of confidence they'll hear them if they bark to come back in.

If I had a very elderly dog though and that's where he wants to be, I'd just hold my breath for a second in the morning when I saw him and hoped for the best.

wallywobbles Sun 24-Apr-16 20:55:44

Some older dogs really prefer it even if they have been essentially indoor dogs. As long as he can get shelter somewhere let him. My two have an indoor and outdoor kennel option and the springer chooses to sleep out in all weathers and temps.

Sadik Sun 24-Apr-16 20:59:03

He can - and definitely used to - come and sleep in the porch, which is roofed but for some reason doesn't 'count' (maybe because the rain blows in ?) These days he doesn't seem to do that, but I'm not sure whether it's because he sleeps more heavily, or because I keep a much closer eye on the weather & get him in when it rains.

(Does anyone else remember a James Herriot story about an elderly dog that was like this, JH thought the farmer was leaving his dog outdoors heartlessly, but dog just flat refused to go in.)

Sadik Sun 24-Apr-16 21:00:50

I should say, thank you to all of you, it's really comforting to hear that other dogs like to be outside all the time regardless of rain or storms (actually, he does hate the wind and a real gale will drive him indoors). He's part husky so I guess I should just remember that his coat is designed for snow and ice.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sun 24-Apr-16 21:06:43

I was just thinking about this a bit more and remembering my friend saying her golden retriever right at the end wanting to be outside all the time, she just put it down to his instinct that his time was up and he was gettng back to nature. She found it comforting that he seemed to know what he wanted.

Sorry if that's inappropriate OP

MimsyBorogroves Sun 24-Apr-16 21:09:45

My elderly dog, who also reached 16, did similar for her last year. She too grew a double coat which would blow out regularly because it was so warm. We had an open passageway at the side of the house, secure, which led onto the garden. In the end we put a piece of plastic over the top of it so she didn't feel hemmed in, and then put a bowl of water and some favourite blankets down there in case she wanted to build a nest. She did come in on a night, though.

I think with the coat, they feel better in the cool. My olddog had mild dementia too, but seemed her happy self when she was outdoors - yet when she was younger she was a very clingy dog. Very strange.

Sadik Sun 24-Apr-16 21:12:29

No, I think it is fair enough, every so often he just slows down a bit more, and I think we have to accept that at some point he will just stop sad sad I guess I have to figure we've done our best to give him a good life, he was a rescue pup found abandoned on a rubbish dump, so things could have been worse for him.

(Not quite sure how dd will cope when he goes, he's 2 years older than her, she learnt to crawl going to him, and when she was a bit older he used to follow her around like a furry minder & sit himself down to keep watch a few feet away from wherever she played)

PseudoBadger Sun 24-Apr-16 21:12:55

Yep my dog is nearly 14 (collie) and wants to sit outside gazing at his garden during all daylight hours. Not quite worked up to wanting to sleep out there at night though.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 24-Apr-16 21:14:12

My dog did this just before he died. Sorry Op. I think it was his way of finding somewhere private to slip away. Hope thats not the case with your dog but sixteen is a good age.

Sadik Sun 24-Apr-16 21:48:09

Well, I just went to wash up, ddog evidently heard plates being scraped (down the hall as well as through the door) - he came in & hoovered up scraps, stared meaningfully at his lead and sat down with a humph in the sitting room (lead in eye view). So I'm now feeling a bit less glum grin

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 24-Apr-16 21:57:30

Aww. Hope he's ok. flowers

Sadik Sun 24-Apr-16 22:02:37

He's fine now DH has cracked and taken him out for his bedtime walk . . .

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