March is usually the time for Crufts but this year we will have to wait…
Maybe you’ve recently decided that you want your outdoor dog to live inside with you, or maybe you’ve just adopted a dog that someone else had been keeping outdoors and want to figure out how to keep them indoors with you. Trying to teach a dog that previously lived in a kennel how to live safely inside your house can be tricky, but it can be done and it’s worth the work!
Trying to jump on everything, chewing every last piece of furniture and just generally becoming overexcited is a very normal response for a dog who has just been allowed into the house for the first time, whether they’re a puppy or an older dog. Everything in sight will be new and exciting, and just entering the house can be pretty overwhelming at first.
Basic commands like “down”, “sit”, “stay” and “no” will hopefully already be familiar to your dog. All dogs should really know these basic training words. But it is still possible for you to turn them into an indoor dog even if they haven’t been trained – it just might take a little more work. Remembering that your dog is not a human is the key thing here. They won’t automatically know what is and isn’t allowed in your house until you teach them – no matter how smart they are.
Having your dog live with you inside the house has so many benefits. It helps your dog to avoid being scared by strange sights and sounds, first of all, and keeps them safe from the dangers of the great outdoors. Criminals and burglars are also less likely to attempt to enter your house if they know there’s a dog inside. If your dog is outside, they can be avoided far more easily, with burglars accessing the house through whichever side isn’t protected by the dog.
If a dog is kept in the garden, they also run the risk of being stolen. If you’re living in a neighbourhood where you wouldn’t be comfortable leaving something valuable in the garden without supervision, you probably shouldn’t leave your dog there either.
Your dog may not realise that they shouldn’t relieve themselves wherever they like if they’ve lived outside their whole life. Mature dogs don’t need to “go” as often as puppies do, fortunately, and most dogs will learn where they can and can’t “go” pretty quickly.
Taking your dog out after meals and playtime is the easiest way to get them house-trained. Until you can rely on them not to relieve themselves inside your house, the only places your dog should go unsupervised are the garden and their crate or basket.
Introduce your dog to all the areas of your house they’ll be allowed to spend time in when they’re trained. Give them treats to reward them for walking calmly, and use a leash to make sure they’re going where you want. Pop the odd treat in their mouth for simply doing nothing as they look around their new domain. Don’t use a clicker for this training, as this may get them riled up and cause them to try and do tricks to earn more rewards.
If your dog does try to lunge at anything, you can stop this by simply not giving them enough leash to reach the item.
Try teaching your dog to settle on leash once they’re familiar with being inside. There could be disastrous consequences for both you and your dog if you simply let them off the leash inside with no prior training, so you need to teach this behaviour first. The majority of dogs who have never been inside will end up behaving in ways that you won’t like at first, because dogs are dogs, not people.
You can set your dog up for a successful future of hanging out together indoors if you teach them that the best option is to settle down and be calm inside.
Be sure to take your dog to the vet for a check-up if they’re showing any odd behaviour. It may point to a medical problem if your dog is barking a lot, eating or drinking more or less than usual, struggling with house-training, excessively chewing or acting aggressive. Even if you don’t think it’s anything serious, it’s a good idea to check with a vet just to be safe.
To make sure your dog remains healthy, if you haven’t taken to the vet in a while, you may want to get them a check-up before you move them indoors. Be sure to avoid bringing unwanted bugs into your home by making sure your dog is up to date on flea and tick prevention.
Other Reasons for Having “Accidents”
There are a number of reasons that a dog might end up going to the toilet inside the house, other than simply not being trained. These include…
- A tense or uncomfortable atmosphere in the home
- Marking their territory
- Feeling poorly
- Anxiety about being left alone
For more information about building your relationship with man’s best friend, check out Need2Know’s Essential Guide to Dog Training which explains why positive reinforcement works much better than the outdated, scientifically disproved harsh methods and takes you step by step through the important elements of training that ensure your dog will be a pleasure to live with.