Dog outside or dog inside?

(28 Posts)
Moveslikejagger1 Sun 21-Jun-20 09:02:07

Hi all, I have a 5 month old pup. Due to lockdown and his breed he is bad at being left alone. To hold my hands up we haven’t been great at leaving him on his own either. The most we’ve left him is 15 mins and he has howled/whined/paced the entire time (watched him on video). We’ve been leaving him in our kitchen/diner and have been building up from 1 minute to no avail.

A friend suggested putting a dog run outside with nice kennel and fake grass and getting him used to being in his on out there with a sandpit and some plants and toys and then obviously stimulation from being outside and birds etc. Would this he better for him? Friend said that their dog used to whine a lot When put in there but now spends an hour or two there happily. His dog is only 2 months old though so I’m now worried we’ve messed up and left it too late.

Dog is going to daycare if we are away for the day or in work but we need him to be happy on his own for a few hours while we go to shops or to visit friends where we can’t bring him. Obviously we are still not really seeing anyone at the minute or we are but outside so it hasn’t been an issue but just thinking down the line.

Also I was thinking should we instead stick with inside as that’s where he is most of the time and if we say went to cinema he might not like being outside if it’s dark. We could get a sensor light if outside would be better?

He loves our garden but is only happy out there if we’re in his eye line ( so if we’re sitting out having a coffee he will play away himself but the minute we go inside he’ll run in with us or scratch the door if we close it)

No children in the house but hoping to have some if that should influence the decision. Money also no object re putting in a run or doing whatever we need to do.

Any advice greatly appreciated!! He is currently asleep in between myself & DH blush I’m worried we’ve ruined him.

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Sun 21-Jun-20 09:16:46

Getting dogs used to be alone can take some time.

Tbh I would say if your friends dog is ok outside at 2 months of age it isn't representative as dogs change a lot in the first couple of years and what they tolerate when so young doesn't mean they will always tolerate it.

I do know people who have outside areas for their dogs and leave them but they have had to spend as much time getting them used to that area as others have who leave their dogs inside do.

Whilst it can have a benefit of the dog not needing to hold on to pee/poo you do need to factor in the outside noise and distractions. A dog barking and howling is very noisey and can be heard far and wide when outside which may mean a lot of pissed off neighbours. Distractions such as cats and noises may make them worse. You also need to think of security as it is less likely someone will break in and steal your dog from your secure house than your garden.

BiteyShark Sun 21-Jun-20 09:17:52

Sorry I should say I would personally stick with inside. Use radio and treats so it's not scary to be left on his own and build up the time gradually.

fivedogstofeed Sun 21-Jun-20 09:18:29

Unfortunately if he's not happy being left alone in the kitchen he'll be even more unhappy outside.

Also, leaving him unattended outside he is at risk of getting stolen. Pet theft is huge at the moment and puppies are being sold for thousands.

Please get some advice from a trainer to work on leaving him alone - it can be a very long process.

ErrolTheDragon Sun 21-Jun-20 09:21:15

Unless you live somewhere remote, leaving your dog to whine or bark outside will quite possibly get you trouble either from the rspca or the council for noise.

And from the dog's pov, also no. You need to persist with training him.
Try progressive withdrawal of some sort. A crate might help with this - as his 'safe place' (door open) but can be used to allow you to gradually move further away while still in sight and sound.

vanillandhoney Sun 21-Jun-20 10:14:27

Please don't leave your dog alone outside. Dog theft is rife and puppies especially are being stolen up and down the country and sold on Gumtree or used as breeding dogs on puppy farms.

If your dog isn't happy being left then you can't leave him - it's really that simple. Get a dog walker or a sitter in while you're out if you have to, or take the dog with you for now.

I know it's hard - my dog has awful separation anxiety and at 2.5 years old can only be left a couple of hours before he gets distressed. We leave him with my in-laws if we have to go somewhere! I work as a dog-walker so luckily I'm around for him 99% of the time. If I can't bring him to work then either DH is home with him or again, he goes to my in-laws for a couple of hours.

If I left him on his own for longer than he was comfortable with, he would either destroy my house, bark and howl non-stop, or get so anxious he messed the house or made himself sick, and this is after 2.5 years of hard bloody work.

When we both worked full-time out of the house, he went to daycare. Just popping out and leaving him wasn't an option at all.

LaurieFairyCake Sun 21-Jun-20 10:15:52

Also about to come on and say about dog theft - with puppies going for 3 grand it's a really bad idea

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ladybee28 Sun 21-Jun-20 10:42:55

5 months is still pretty young –and you have the 'teenage years' ahead.

And the issue isn't that inside is boring, it's that he's alone, and that's scary.

When you say "We’ve been leaving him in our kitchen/diner and have been building up from 1 minute to no avail.", what does 'no avail' mean?

I know it feels like it takes a long time but you can't 'build up' until he's comfortable at each time slot – if you're increasing the time before he's relaxed at one minute (or even less than that –floating in and out of an open door while he's crated or play-penned at the other end of the room), it's not going to pay off.

Great that you're working on it now, though, while you've got room to focus on training smile

Moveslikejagger1 Sun 21-Jun-20 10:44:14

@vanillandhoney we have a lot of friends having new babies so to visit them we can’t bring him. Our daycare only does full day’s rather than a drop in for a few hours service. Our nearest family are an hour drive away. I don’t think it’s realistic that we can never leave our house or visit our friends as a couple for the next 15 years due to having a dog.

As a dog walker how much notice would you need and how much time would you spend with the dog? Like if our friends said on a Sunday morning do we want to pop over for lunch would you be able to come and mind the dog with that kind of notice? I don’t know any dog walkers or sitters so not sure how flexible the profession is. I was hopping to get him used to being on his own so we could visit people and have a bit of a social life.

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Moveslikejagger1 Sun 21-Jun-20 10:47:08

@ladybee28 so we initially left him for no longer than a minute and he whined and howled so we starting leaving him a bit longer (5-10mins) to see if he might settle after initial upset but he still is very upset. We just got one of those dog treat dispenser cameras and an Alexa so we could talk to him give him treats and have music playing so we are going to try that today.

Not sure how else to do it if he just won’t settle. Do you think maybe the kitchen is too big a space and he would be better used to being left in a smaller room? We left him in kitchen as that’s where he spends most of his time.

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Moveslikejagger1 Sun 21-Jun-20 10:50:25

I suppose tjis should be more separation anxiety rather than in or outside. 🙈 some good points made re outside and he does spend 90% of his time inside so it’s probably not worth it trying to get him used to being on his own outside. I hadn’t thought about distractions - next door have kids and a dog so there could be a lot of noise

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squee123 Sun 21-Jun-20 10:56:48

have you tried giving him a Kong when you go out so he has something delicious to distract him? You would still need to build it up slowly but this can help him to form positive associations. Also don't make a big deal about leaving or coming back. Just casually walk out, no fussing or telling him to be good. When you get back in ignore him until he is calm then say hello. You might find Jean Donaldson's book Culture Clash a real help, she explains so well why dogs behave as they do and how to gently train them using that knowledge.

squee123 Sun 21-Jun-20 10:59:22

Also re dog walkers it really varies. But ours needs a day or so notice. She comes and collects him, walks him for an hour and drops him back. We use daycare when out for longer than about 5 hours but will leave him for 5 total with an hour walk in the middle, so we walk him before we go out, he has two hours alone, she walks him for an hour then we are back two hours or so later. He's much older and more mature though, I expect it will be a while before that is viable.

ladybee28 Sun 21-Jun-20 10:59:33

@Moveslikejagger1 – moving from from 1 minute to 5-10 is a big jump, and he'll be flooded with stress hormones so won't quiet until he's exhausted himself (like a human crying themselves to sleep).

Again, it's not about the environment – inside or outside, big room or small room – it's about you.

I'd keep him in the kitchen, but wall off a section, if possible, with a playpen or some furniture so he can see you but can't get to you.

Give him something to focus on, like a puzzle or a treat dispensing toy, and practice leaving the kitchen and walking RIGHT back in again – floating in and out of the room, over and over again.

He'll probably pay attention and watch you because he's worried you're leaving, but eventually will re-settle because frankly, you're being boring.

Once you can do that without him getting up, THEN you can move on to something like leaving for 5-10 seconds.

This WILL be a slow process, but rushing things will end up making it take even longer – you need to stay at one time period until he's not bothered (as in, hardly registers because you're being repetitive and boring) before moving on to the next.

vanillandhoney Sun 21-Jun-20 11:04:31

Moveslikejagger1

*@vanillandhoney* we have a lot of friends having new babies so to visit them we can’t bring him. Our daycare only does full day’s rather than a drop in for a few hours service. Our nearest family are an hour drive away. I don’t think it’s realistic that we can never leave our house or visit our friends as a couple for the next 15 years due to having a dog.

As a dog walker how much notice would you need and how much time would you spend with the dog? Like if our friends said on a Sunday morning do we want to pop over for lunch would you be able to come and mind the dog with that kind of notice? I don’t know any dog walkers or sitters so not sure how flexible the profession is. I was hopping to get him used to being on his own so we could visit people and have a bit of a social life.

I'm not saying you can't ever get him used to being alone, but for some dogs it takes months and months, and even then they're not necessarily going to be happy alone. It's luck of the draw sometimes - you can do everything right and get all the help you can, but some dogs are just terribly, terribly anxious.

I'm quite flexible and generally 24-48 hours notice is enough for me, but only because I'm so quiet at the moment due to COVID! I could do it with less notice but it would entirely depend on what other bookings I had. For example, today I have no dogs booked in so I could help out at the last minute if necessary, but I'm already booked up for next Saturday - it really just depends!

I offer both walking and sitting - so I can either come and walk your dog (for however long you wanted) or come and sit the dog at your house. For a 5mo puppy I wouldn't take them out for longer than 40 minutes or so, but would happily take them for a walk and then mind them at your house if you wanted. I've just taken on a 4mo pup who I sit for occasionally - she just needs taking out to the toilet and plenty of cuddles!

It might be worth getting in touch with a local walker or sitter and getting your pup used to them/their company in case you ever need to use them at the last minute smile

Moveslikejagger1 Sun 21-Jun-20 11:19:54

Thanks @vanillaandhoney lots of useful information there. I will have a look for local walkers and contact some and see what they offer. @ladybee28 thanks will try that today. He does whine if we go upstairs and he is wet and can’t come so we must have jumped ahead too many steps.

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ladybee28 Sun 21-Jun-20 11:37:39

Yep - be prepared to be working a separation of a few seconds for a few days, and move up in increments of seconds, not minutes.

The fastest way to progress is to make sure you're securely achieving each milestone before you move onto the next.

You're maintaining consistency and trust – so he can learn to relax, knowing that you're not about to trick him and try to leave him forever.

Some patience and investment of time and you'll get there!

MissMaple82 Sun 21-Jun-20 13:40:36

Puppies are incredibly hard work, alot of people dont realise they are just like real babies! 5 months is still very young. Don't leave him alone outside nor alone for long periods. He will eventually grow out of it.

vanillandhoney Sun 21-Jun-20 13:44:14

Moveslikejagger1

Thanks @vanillaandhoney lots of useful information there. I will have a look for local walkers and contact some and see what they offer. @ladybee28 thanks will try that today. He does whine if we go upstairs and he is wet and can’t come so we must have jumped ahead too many steps.

No worries, I'm glad it helped!

Even if a walker "only" offers walks it's worth asking if they'll sit for you instead - I would happily sit with a puppy for an hour instead of taking them for a walk! It may be worth finding a solo walker, as many group walkers won't do drop-ins as they're not great earners on their own.

However I see them as an investment - if I sit the dogs as puppies, the owners are far more likely to use me for walks when the dog is older as the dog is already familiar with me and we have a bond. I also have no objection to being paid to sit and cuddle someone else's puppy grin

pasanda Sun 21-Jun-20 14:41:30

5 months is still young. In the 'wild' dogs are with their mums until 9 months. I'm on a fb group for dog behaviour and all the behaviourists say not to leave a puppy until 9 months (obviously some will be fine before that) and this will then give you a dog who doesn't get separation anxiety. Google the 'flitting game'.

thecapitalsunited Sun 21-Jun-20 14:58:31

Your friend with the 2 month old puppy can’t have had the puppy long enough for it to really have settled in given that 8 weeks is the earliest puppies should be going to their homes. Maybe their puppy doesn’t feel like it can voice its upset because it doesn’t quite feel comfortable enough in its home. My puppy took about 3 weeks to really settle in - I thought he settled in really quickly but as I started seeing more and more personality it was obvious that he didn’t really understand whether his stay was permanent or temporary for a few weeks.

Moveslikejagger1 Sun 21-Jun-20 15:53:58

@pasanda I was told if we didn’t leave him frequently and the first time is when he’s older then he would develop separation anxiety!!’ So many mixed messages out there makes it hard to know what to do!

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Shambolical1 Sun 21-Jun-20 20:29:25

There's no such thing as a 'wild' domestic dog which is separated from its mother and littermates at eight-ish weeks old, taken to a totally new environment with strange things and people and then expected to cope with that on its own when the people it has got used to then suddenly disappear leaving it with no idea when they might come back!

Separation anxiety is very easily acquired and very hard to resolve. You really do need a LOT of time and patience. If the pup cries and whines when you leave it for just a minute or panics when you merely come in from the garden. leaving it for longer 'to see if it settles' or assuming it will 'grow out of it' is going to do nothing to help.

There are loads of resources online giving methods to help but it really comes down to little (very little, at first), often and patiently. There is no quick fix.

Hoppinggreen Sun 21-Jun-20 20:35:49

It takes time and effort to get some dogs ok with being left
And as for whether you can just suddenly decide to go and visit someone then no, you can’t unless your dog can be left. It’s dog ownership unfortunately, you can’t be as spontaneous anyone, it takes planning. Even when your dog can be left (no longer than 4 hours) you can’t for example suddenly decide to go for a meal after a movie or a movie after shopping. It all takes some planning.
I don’t think putting your dog outside is the answer

Girlintheframe Mon 22-Jun-20 05:10:57

Just posting to hopefully give you a bit of reassurance. Our dog did not like being left alone at that age. We did build up time gradually but he never really settled. However as he has matured (he's 2 now) and grown in confidence things have changed.
Around 6 months I noticed he'd stopped following me around the house and would sit in a different room. He wouldn't be apart for long but since then his confidence has gone from strength to strength.
Now he is 2 we have left him for up to 3 hours and he has been fine.
Some dogs just take a little longer than others to feel comfortable on their own.

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