How to Make an Outdoor Dog an Indoor Dog


The truth be told: dogs should live inside. Inside is where their humans live--and human contact is what a domestic dog thrives on. Dogs get lonely and want to be with their family (pack), just like us!

Indoor dogs also tend to live longer, are less prone to disease, protected from extreme weather conditions and predators. They're basically safer and happier living inside. And why would you force a family member to live outside, anyway?

So what are you waiting for? Let your pooch come live inside with you--where she belongs. Here are some ways to do it.

  • Teach your dog basic training commands such as "sit" and "stay." These simple commands will stop your dog from undesirable indoor behavior such as chewing on furniture and your socks or jumping on company. There are many training options to choose from including doing it yourself or seeking the help of a professional trainer in a one-on-one setting or with a group.

  • Pick up anything you don't want your dog to chew on and make sure it's out of reach. This includes papers on the coffee table and food on the counter. Make sure all trash cans are covered. Cover or hide any exposed wiring.

  • Have a space with a soft bed or blanket for your dog to sleep on (that is if you don't want your dog in the bed; many people don't mind!). Be consistent with where your dog sleeps and your dog will become accustomed to it as long as it's comfortable.

  • Feed your dog human food from his bowl, never from the table. And always make sure it's pet-friendly human food.

  • Make sure your dog gets steady exercise and is not bored. Pent-up energy and boredom can lead to destructive, undesirable behaviors. Remember the saying: "a tired dog is a good dog."

  • Give your dog a good balance of indoor and outdoor time. Doggy doors suit this purpose well. Even if you have an enclosed yard, make sure your dog gets still gets additional exercise including structured walks. Off-leash dog parks and hiking trails are great for socialization and for giving your dog the exercise she requires.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure your dog is occupied to prevent boredom while you're away. There are a variety of chew toys and puzzle toys designed to keep dogs from being bored. If you need to leave your dog alone for extended periods of time or your dog shows signs of separation anxiety, consider doggy daycare or a pet sitter. There are doggy daycares and pet sitters to fit every budget.
  • If your dog is young and/or prone to destructive behavior while you're away, consider crate training. Once your dog is crate trained, he eventually won't need the crate anymore.
  • Give it a little time and have patience. You'll be happy you made the decision to let your dog live in the house. When most dogs get passed the teething stage and used to the house, they tend not to chew on things anyway, and may not even require formal training.
  • If you're wanting to add a new dog to your family, consider adopting an older dog that is at least a year old. Older dogs tend to be housebroken and are passed the teething stage. Plus they need to be saved, whereas puppies have a better chance of finding a home.
  • People tend to bond better with their dogs when they live inside. If you don't want to bond, why have a dog in the first place?
  • If your dog is used to being outside all the time, it stands to reason that she will be rambunctious and overly excited the rare times you let her in the house. Once she's used to being inside; however, she should calm down.
  • Keeping a dog chained or tethered can lead to aggression and anti-social behavior.
  • Make sure your dog is not confined to a small space or crate for long periods of time and never tie your dog up while you're gone.
  • Regulate the temperature for your dog's comfort. Dogs are more prone to heat stroke than humans, so make sure the house never gets too hot and there is always access to fresh water.
  • Photo Credit Photo: Melissa Maroff
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