The Dog’s Perspective: Inside or Outside Dogs
The primary needs of every living being – including humans and dogs – are Food, Water and Shelter. These are vital for long-term health and survival. Before getting a dog, the first question that needs to be addressed is where your dog will reside? Will your dog be an inside dog or an outside dog? There are short-term and long-term advantages and disadvantages to both scenarios. Of course, where your dog resides should best suit your individual needs. Nevertheless, please consider all the possibilities and their ultimate outcomes before making this crucial decision of where your dog will live. Keep in mind that a little extra effort in the front end, during the initial year with your dog, will reap a lifetime of invaluable benefits.
Outside dogs reside primarily outside. These include farm dogs patrolling property for protection and security. Tragically, outside dogs also include those permanently relegated to outside kennels, crates, chains and electric fences. It is hoped these dogs have access to some type of shelter to protect them from adverse weather conditions, but sadly that is not always the case. A “presumed advantage” of outside dogs is eliminating the need to conquer the arduous tasks of potty training and house training because these dogs are permanently outside. Although relatively easy skills to teach, both potty training and house training require patience, effort and consistency, which can be challenging for some. The BIG disadvantage is that outside dogs typically do not bond strongly with their humans because of limited interactions. Because of this, unwanted behaviors can develop, including growling, biting, barking, etc. In addition, if dogs are neither potty nor house trained as youngsters, it is much more difficult to train them as adults, which makes them less adoptable, if that situation ever arises.
Inside dogs reside indoors, in the home of their humans. Because they are indoors for long periods, inside dogs must master both potty and house-training skills, which are no small tasks. In fact, the primary reason frustrated owners surrender their dogs to shelters involves problems with potty and house training. Successful potty and house training requires patience, effort and consistency. Some new dog owners assume dogs automatically “know” to go potty outside, and are confused when their dog consistently has accidents. Once dogs reach the milestone of asking to go potty outside, training efforts shift to house training, which includes discouraging unwanted behaviors like chewing on furniture, tearing up rugs, eating floorboards, rummaging through garbage, counter-surfing, etc. The complexity of these issues is key to why difficulties with potty and house training can result in human frustration and ultimate surrender of the dog to a shelter.
The Ultimate Friendship
If potty and house training are vital, yet complex issues to address, you may ask why anyone would consider an inside dog. Well, the answer becomes apparent when the amazing bond between human and dogs develop. Human’s unique evolutionary relationship with dogs is rivaled by no other. Dogs are great for human companionship, but their contributions to our lives, individually and for the sake of humanity, are extraordinary. First, just the presence of a dog can create a calm, therapeutic situation that improves human quality of life. Dogs are service animals for many people with disabilities. With their amazing sense of olfaction (smell), they can sniff out drugs, bombs and diverse illnesses, including cancer. Also unique, dogs look to humans for guidance and follow directions, which are rare interspecies interactions. Dogs that are successfully potty and house-trained typically become fully established family members whose contributions to the quality of family life far outweigh their costs.
Prepare for the Future
When deciding to acquire a dog, please carefully choose if the dog will be an inside dog or outside dog. If you choose an inside dog, potty and house training are your first calls to action. Although it can be difficult and frustrating, the benefits will multiply when you reach your goals. If you choose an outside dog, please don’t ignore training. Your intentions may be to have your dog forever; unfortunately, plans change and the future may not include your dog. Surrendering an adult dog who is neither potty trained nor house trained is extremely problematic because it is rare for someone to willingly adopt an adult dog who lacks these basic training skills.
Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD offers concierge dog training through Lucky Dog Training and has over 30 years of dog training experience. Kathryn is author of book series The Dog’s Perspective: How to Train Your Dog by Thinking like a Dog (soon to be released). Volume 1 is The Right Start, an easy to read, go to source of information for anyone wanting to train their dog.