Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog
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Thread: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

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    Exclamation Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    **Corrected**
    I have a 1 year old (will be 2 in August) American Bulldog/Dalmatian mix who is an outdoor dog, and has never really been housebroken. She also is really hyper around people and has not really been socialized, the only real human interaction she receives is at feedings. (*I realize now, this isn't proper treatment for a dog, and am trying to correct my mistake, so harsh comments will be ignored.*) She knows one command, sit but will only do it if she's not too excited. We are moving into an apartment (*They do not have weight or breed restrictions, they are a dog friendly community*) & I want to make her an indoor dog. I would really like advice on how to housebreak & train her, especially if anyone has experience w/ clicker training. *(I do have a crate, and will more than likely crate her at night, but would prefer the "tethering" method during the day. [leashing her to me.])

    *Our apartment is terrace level & has a porch & yard area where I can walk her easily.*
    *My dog is female, spayed, and approximately 65-70 lbs, her name is Lola.*
    *I also have an indoor cat, but he is not a typical cat & likes dogs and has met Lola once but it has been a long time since they've seen each other. Advice on this would also be great.*
    *And I have 2 children, ages 3 & 4, they have been in the yard many times w/ Lola & she loves kids, but she does jump up and I'm afraid she will hurt one of them accidently, so that will be one of the most important things to start working on.*
    *My husband & I do not believe in taking a dog to a shelter or rehoming an animal. We got her from a shelter originally, and love her & will keep her even if she is the most difficult dog ever to train. (Though I think it will be fairly easy.)*
    Last edited by haleyjo; 05-16-2012 at 10:17 AM. Reason: A little more detail. c:

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  3. #2
    Senior Member HollowHeaven's Avatar
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    Quote Originally Posted by haleyjo View Post
    She also is really hyper around people and has not really been socialized, the only real human interaction she receives is at feedings.
    Judging from everything your post has said, it appears you have been the owner of this dog since she was a young puppy.
    Why is the only human interaction she has ever received is that of being fed? Why have you gone two years without being with your dog?
    Why was she originally in the house then put outside? Because you didn't want to clean after her? .-.

    Two of my three are outdoors (not my rules forum, sue me). They are fed three times a day, get 4+ hours of basic exercise a day, including regular walks and free running time, plus daily running, swimming, hiking, going on car rides, grooming, throwing a ball around, just flat out sitting together or taking naps in the grass. They also come in when it gets too cold/hot/rainy. There's really not much of an excuse for leaving a dog outside for 2 years and only being with it at feeding time. :\

    This is why she gets hyper around people. When a dog who doesn't get much interaction from people and/or other animals, they will freak out when they do get that contact. It's an 'OMGOMGOMGPEOPLE SOMEONE IS HERE WITH ME THANK GOD' fest, basically. Being with people more probably will calm her down.

    Actually, because she is used to going outside, she will either want to be let out to go potty or will mess everywhere, one of the two. And if she messes everywhere, you'll have to clean it up regardless of how icky it is.
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    She is a rescue dog, The owners surrendered her, she lived inside in a crate for the first few months of her life, then when we got her we put her in our backyard because our landlord does not allow dogs indoors & my in laws who also live w/ us have 3 cats indoors. My husband goes out and plays with her every time she is fed, so its not like she never gets human interaction, but we are both very busy & don't have time to be outdoors w/ her all the time. I will be staying at home and taking some classes online when we move, so I will have time to train her. I don't mind cleaning up after her, that isn't what I meant, I just would prefer not to clean a messy crate. Thank you for your answer.

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    Senior Member MusherChic's Avatar
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    I have 3 huskies that were never inside dogs before I got them (They were not neglected, they just never went in the house). I had no problem housebreaking them. The first couple of times I brought them in I just watched for their usual signs of needing to "go" and took them outside.
    They're not 100% inside dogs now either. They prefer to be outside as much as they can. They've never "unlearned" their house training and I trust them inside as much as my inside dogs.
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    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    Yes, it is possible. Basically, you will need to treat the dog like a puppy for training. Start from square one. Potty training means outside frequently, rewards for doing her business outside. Ignore any accidents inside (as in, NO punishment at all).
    If you don't want to crate train, you will need to set up a room or area that is on tile/vinyl flooring (something easy to clean) where she can be when you can't supervise. The good thing is that an adult dog has the physical ability to hold it longer than a puppy and the ability to recognize the "need" to go so housetraining should be a shorter process.

    She will need exercise; if she isn't leash trained, start that ASAP. Minimum of 2, 30 minute walks per day. She's a big strong dog, so it might be hard work at first but the only way to start to calm a dog down is sufficient exercise. Look up "loose leash walking" and "silky leash"

    Read ALL the first time dog owner stickies.

    Get some really awesome treats (like bits of meat, tiny bits of cheese, liver treats) and use those to get her attention for training.

    Have a dog-savvy friend come visit for training sessions. Friend can come visit and you can work on your dog not going nuts with excitement. You can start with something basic like having the friend stand in your living room while you ask the dog to sit about 15 feet away and give treats for sitting and looking at you rather than the friend.

    Spend time with her. The better the bond you have, the easier the training will go. You've given this dog a lot of emotional neglect over the years and you will need some time to compensate for that.

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    Senior Member WTFCas's Avatar
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    My Doberman was an outside dog for the first year of her life and at this present time both dogs are outside dogs. They aren't loved any less than indoor dogs and aren't any worse for wear. Invest in a crate! It'll will be a tremendous help in house training and is a safe place for her to relax when you can't watch her. She might mess in it but you're gonna have to get over it, messes happen. It goes hand in hand with dog ownership. With minimal amount of training she has received I would go to an obedience class. Living in an apartment, your dog has to have superior manners or else you may have to give her up or face eviction if she steps out of line. If you haven't already found an apartment that will allow her breed(s) and size, then good luck on your search.

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    Senior Member luvmyfurballs's Avatar
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    It can be done, but don't think it will be easy. My GSD pup was only outside for 3 months and I had a heck of a time reversing it. Six months later she is trained and loves being inside with the rest of the family. The crate is a very important tool, along with scheduled feeding times, and even an obedience class. With a combo of all of these things it can turn out good. I have 3 bigger dogs in an apartment with no problems, so it can be done.

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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    Wow, IMO this poor dog has been failed, miserably.

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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    Quote Originally Posted by InkedMarie View Post
    Wow, IMO this poor dog has been failed, miserably.
    Honestly as her owner, I agree with you. But I am taking responsibility for my actions & stepping up as her owner. When we move in a little less than a month she will be brought indoors & trained. Until then, I'm trying my absolute best to spend as much time as possible with her. Also, a mistake made in my post, I thought she was older than she actually is, (I obviously have a very poor since of time. -_-), she won't be 2 until August. I believe we got her around 4-6 months old. And she has only been outside since the beginning of our lease at this house, so a little over a year outdoors. I do feel horrible about how she's been treated, so I can't blame anyone here for judging me or making statements like yours. I appreciate everyone's answers.

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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    Please crate train her. If she had accidents in the crate as a puppy that doesn't mean she will have them now--as long as you don't ask her to do the impossible. If you'll be in an apartment you really have NO other choice--she stands 0 chance of getting housetrained w/out a crate, period.

    Try to avoid crating her for more than 4 hours at a time (other than at night) for a while. She has to learn that she WILL be allowed to go outside to relieve herself--otherwise, why bother to hold it? If you cannot get home at lunch, hire someone to walk her at noon.

    Get her into a good training class that uses POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT (no collar pops, etc). She'll calm down a lot once she realizes that her people are there to stay for a change--outdoor dogs are always desperate for attention and go overboard when they finally see anyone. But she needs to bond with you and good positive training is the best way to do that!

    And, of course, make sure she gets plenty of exercise. She needs a LONG (several miles) walk or run at least once a day and a few shorter ones, if she's going to be living in an apartment. Signing up for agility once she has some basic training would be great for you both as well!
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    Quote Originally Posted by InkedMarie View Post
    Wow, IMO this poor dog has been failed, miserably.
    I have to agree. Why would you have a dog you dont have time for like this?

    Quote Originally Posted by HaleyJo
    but we are both very busy & don't have time to be outdoors w/ her all the time.
    She lived in a crate and then you shoved her outside. Wow. Just wow.
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    Senior Member upfromtheashes's Avatar
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    And now she has admitted her mistake and is trying to do right by this dog, and yet still some people are bashing her. Interesting. I guess some of you have never done anything that you later regretted. Must be nice.

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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    I had two GSDs once upon a time that started out their lives as inside dogs, were moved outdoors, and later were given some indoor privileges(while remaining mostly outdoor dogs). So based on my experience, here's my advice:

    1. Expect regression. Assume that any potty training and house manners previously taught no longer exist in the dog. My GSDs forgot everything from potty training to counter surfing. Go back to basics as if you're training a puppy.

    2. Exercise. It's a must. Explore different kinds of exercise/outlets. Many people feel as if the only option is leashed walks. There's flirt poles, spring poles, bikejoring/urban mushing, biking, doggy daycare, etc.

    3. If you absolutely cannot use a crate, buy a couple of baby gates. It's garage sale season so I'm sure there's plenty of cheap used ones out there. Use the baby gates to control her access to the house. If you are in the kitchen, gate it off so that she is in the kitchen with you. Supervision is key in potty training. I've also had success with "umbilical training". All that means is that the dog is tethered to you with a leash. I put the leash around my ankle but that isn't all that safe.

    Lastly, I'm glad you've come around and realized your mistakes. I had no say in the matter when my parents decided that my GSDs would be outdoor dogs. They got out with me for exercise and training 2-3 times a day, everyday and still I felt so guilty.

    Good luck.

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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    Quote Originally Posted by pawsplus View Post
    Please crate train her. If she had accidents in the crate as a puppy that doesn't mean she will have them now--as long as you don't ask her to do the impossible. If you'll be in an apartment you really have NO other choice--she stands 0 chance of getting housetrained w/out a crate, period.
    Try to avoid crating her for more than 4 hours at a time (other than at night) for a while. She has to learn that she WILL be allowed to go outside to relieve herself--otherwise, why bother to hold it? If you cannot get home at lunch, hire someone to walk her at noon.

    Get her into a good training class that uses POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT (no collar pops, etc). She'll calm down a lot once she realizes that her people are there to stay for a change--outdoor dogs are always desperate for attention and go overboard when they finally see anyone. But she needs to bond with you and good positive training is the best way to do that!

    And, of course, make sure she gets plenty of exercise. She needs a LONG (several miles) walk or run at least once a day and a few shorter ones, if she's going to be living in an apartment. Signing up for agility once she has some basic training would be great for you both as well!
    I completely disagree with the bolded statement. I potty trained my first pup when we were in an apartment waiting for our house to be finished. If you are consistent about getting the dog out on a very strict schedule, say very 1-2 hours, providing as many outdoor opportunities as possible, AND, keeping the dog in your direct supervision so you are able to prevent accidents by interrupting him every time you see the signs, it is do-able.

    Plus, the OP said she'll be staying home, taking online course, so she'll have time for the training. That means, to me, anyway, that the flexibility is there, so she can get the dog out often.

    As for the excitability and manners, there are lots of stickies at the tops of the forum pages on things like greeting people politely, and "NILIF" (nothing in life is free). NILIF would be a great way to teach the dog that you expect manners. Go slowly though, as you are starting from scratch. "Doggy Zen" is another good sticky, it will teach impulse control.
    Good luck!

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    Senior Member Nev Allen's Avatar
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    First off congrats on admitting your mistake and stepping up to correct the past. I am sure you will find your dog will show her appreciation.

    You will need to go back to basics and I recommend you read up as much as you can on the basics of obedience training using the click and reward methods. You seem as though you will have lots of time so it won't take to long. Just keep your training sessions short, about 10 minutes at most, but make them fun.

    Do you have a patio? A doggy loo out there will give you a target to start aiming your dog to use.
    Crate her at night or when you are not going to be home and cannot take her with you. As soon as you let her out, lead her straight to the doggy loo. High praise as soon as she uses it. You need to keep an eye on her when she is not in a crate.

    Peeing is not the only trouble she may get into. Dogs are inquisitive and they can only use their mouths to tell them what something is. So expect some chewing and ensure you have something you can substitute the chewed object for - tendons, raw hide "bones", cow hoofs, etc are good and also help clean teeth. I am one who does not advocate giving dogs marrow/shin bones, especially dogs like yours with strong jaws.

    I would start teaching a retrieve asap. Teaching her to retrieve and bring a tennis ball back to you means you can find any open space and throw the ball till she has had enough. More exercise than a simple half hour walk. If you have a lake, dam, beach, or just a creek with a swimming hole, teach her to swim. A 10 minute swim is equal to a 5km walk.

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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    Thank you everyone for your answers. I have been watching "Its me or the dog" as well as reading and watching everything I can find on clicker training & housebreaking. I'm also looking into obedience classes as well. I'm excited to get started & give her the life she deserves. She's such a sweet dog. She's so loving & eager to please that training her should be easy.

  18. #17
    Senior Member InkedMarie's Avatar
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    I have to commend you for admitting your mistakes but boy oh boy, you have your work cut out for you. I think a positive trainer might be of some help to you

  19. #18
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    Quote Originally Posted by doxiemommy View Post
    I completely disagree with the bolded statement. I potty trained my first pup when we were in an apartment waiting for our house to be finished. If you are consistent about getting the dog out on a very strict schedule, say very 1-2 hours, providing as many outdoor opportunities as possible, AND, keeping the dog in your direct supervision so you are able to prevent accidents by interrupting him every time you see the signs, it is do-able.

    Plus, the OP said she'll be staying home, taking online course, so she'll have time for the training. That means, to me, anyway, that the flexibility is there, so she can get the dog out often.
    I missed it that she'll be staying home, but even so, it won't be easy w/out a crate. What happens if the whole family goes out to eat for a few hours? Even if the dog doesn't have a housetraining "accident" while they're gone, chances are they'll come home to something torn up. Crates save dogs' lives, and an adult dog with NO understanding of what it means to live in a house NEEDS the protection a crate provides IMHO. The best way to establish new habits is to PREVENT any other habits from forming. Every time the dog has an accident in the house or tears up a pillow he's been reinforced for doing so by the mere fact of doing it. Punishment is cruel and counterproductive--the only way to accomplish the task is by setting the dog up to SUCCEED, not to fail.

    Can an experienced dog owner who is home most of the time housetrain (in all aspects of that term) an adult dog w/out a crate? Yes. But it's harder to do even for a very experienced trainer. IMO the kindest and safest thing to do here is to get a large crate and do this thing right.
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  20. #19
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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    Quote Originally Posted by pawsplus View Post
    I missed it that she'll be staying home, but even so, it won't be easy w/out a crate. What happens if the whole family goes out to eat for a few hours? Even if the dog doesn't have a housetraining "accident" while they're gone, chances are they'll come home to something torn up. Crates save dogs' lives, and an adult dog with NO understanding of what it means to live in a house NEEDS the protection a crate provides IMHO. The best way to establish new habits is to PREVENT any other habits from forming. Every time the dog has an accident in the house or tears up a pillow he's been reinforced for doing so by the mere fact of doing it. Punishment is cruel and counterproductive--the only way to accomplish the task is by setting the dog up to SUCCEED, not to fail.

    Can an experienced dog owner who is home most of the time housetrain (in all aspects of that term) an adult dog w/out a crate? Yes. But it's harder to do even for a very experienced trainer. IMO the kindest and safest thing to do here is to get a large crate and do this thing right.
    My problem was the way you worded your response: as in the way you said it's NOT possible, 0%, period. It is possible, I've done it, three times now. Yes, it's harder, but, if you are patient and creative, it can be done. There are plenty of members here who have NEVER crated a dog.
    When you're giving advice, it's rarely ever a matter of black and white, or as you said, NOT possible, period. The danger of saying something is just plain not possible is that you often give an incorrect message to the OP, and it can be quite discouraging.

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    Re: Making a Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog

    I'd assume this would be a lot like adopting a dog of unknown origin (or starting from scratch like others have said).

    Re: the crate training, we did something we came to call "modified freedom," with our 8 month old rescue dog. We set a schedule of walks I think every two hours. If she went outside, she'd get full run of apartment until the next walk, if she had an accident she'd go in the crate for a while and if we weren't sure (i.e. a walk with nothing but no subsequent accident) we'd keep her within arm's length on a leash. She learned really fast this way.

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