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Dog doesn't like being left outside alone
Is it cruel?


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#1 Kalota

Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:42 PM

I've been a dog owner for a very long time to various dogs, and they've always mainly been inside dogs. However, I've always put them outside in the yard when we are going out/not home. I've never thought of it as cruel or inappropriate as we've got a large, fully-fenced backyard with lovely grass area, gardens, a paved area which is undercover including a cosy kennel to sleep in. In cooler weather I'll put a hot water bottle inside their kennel and in warmer weather sometimes I'll give them a frozen Kong or slightly fill up the kiddie pool. Our dogs have also never been left for unacceptably long periods of time. My fiancé and I work differing hours, so the crossover works out that our dogs are only left alone for about 5 hours max on about 3 days of the week only.

My fiancé and I recently rescued a dog from a shelter. He hates being left alone outside when we go out. The first day that we left him alone outside in the yard, he escaped through a small hole we never knew we had in one of our fences. Since then, we have entirely dog-proofed the entire yard like Fort Knox, so now when we go out and leave him outside he just cries at the back door. When we come home he jumps like crazy at the back door and appears like he has been stressing the entire time. He has never harmed himself or displayed destructive behaviours, just crying and lightly "pawing" at the door.

We have tried many things. We ignore him for 10 minutes before we leave, and for 10 minutes after we get home. We have practised walking in and out of rooms over and over again, and practised leaving the house and coming back over and over again. We have encouraged him to enjoy his time outside, which he does, but only when we are there! We have tried gradually increasing his time alone outside. There is a possibility that he may be, gradually, very slowly improving, but I'm not sure.

My question is, should I be concerned about this and is it cruel? He is not being destructive or harmful, he just seems to get upset and cry when we leave and wants to come inside. I've read many articles online about how dogs should not be left outside, but I honestly never saw a problem with it. We only put him out when we leave the house, otherwise he spends his other time inside and he sleeps inside. What do you guys think? Opinions?

Edited by Kalota, 02 February 2013 - 04:45 PM.


#2 la di dah

Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:50 PM

Is it about being outside or being alone? Is he quiet when he's left alone inside the house?

Honestly, personal perspective, I don't leave dogs outside unattended, never have and likely never will because I distrust people too much even if the dog is well-behaved.

Also not to be morbid but you don't know what's been bugging him when you aren't there, or at least has in the past before you had him. He could have reason to be upset.

#3 winkywonkeydonkey

Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:54 PM

Has he got plenty to do outside. what about a kong stuffed with treats?

#4 *Spikey*

Posted 02 February 2013 - 04:59 PM

I kind of need to finish my housework (bathroom cleaning, it sucks), but I'll come back to you later tonight.

Can you tell me what he has in the yard to play with or occupy himself with, while you are gone?

Taa

Spikey

#5 Kalota

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:01 PM

QUOTE (la di dah @ 02/02/2013, 05:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Is it about being outside or being alone? Is he quiet when he's left alone inside the house?

Honestly, personal perspective, I don't leave dogs outside unattended, never have and likely never will because I distrust people too much even if the dog is well-behaved.

Also not to be morbid but you don't know what's been bugging him when you aren't there, or at least has in the past before you had him. He could have reason to be upset.


I think it's more about being left alone possibly. Right now he is outside, while I am inside, and he is quite happily playing in the grass and chewing on his toys. He is unattended out there, he cannot see me, but he knows I am at home so I think that's why he is fine. If I left him outside to leave the house, he would get a little upset.

He also tends to follow us from room to room, which is why I've been working on leaving the room and him being OK with it etc.

The times that we have left him inside the house, when we returned home he was doing the same thing at the front door so I think it's more about being left alone rather than being afraid of something outside.

The reason we choose to leave him outside is for going to the toilet while we are away, but also because we have an internal alarm system for our house that we would prefer to put on for security when we leave. There is also more for him to do outside, as the tiled area we would leave him inside is quite small.

Spikey - These are some of the activities he has to do outside, and will often participate in while we are at home and he is happily outside: Chewing on his treat-filled Kong toy, playing with his ball or rope, splashing in the water of the kiddie pool, snoozing in his kennel, sniffing, running, rolling on the grass (especially if he finds a lovely bit of bird poo to roll in), chasing birds, and often we will give him a meaty bone or something like a pig's ear which he loves to bury and dig up multiple times! He's got lots to do out there, it's just when he's alone that overrides his excitement of wanting to do these things!

Edited by Kalota, 02 February 2013 - 05:05 PM.


#6 ChexMix

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:02 PM

I think the outside = cruel thing is more from the US where they have other large predators and rabies. But then they are also more likely to crate all day *shrug* FWIW I don't think being outside is cruel unless the dog is particularly upset by something out there.

Edit - typed too slow Tounge1.gif

Edited by ChexMix, 02 February 2013 - 05:03 PM.


#7 Jellyblush

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:04 PM

One thing I found really useful with Roo was to film her while she was alone in the yard.

This way you can tell if the dog has been stressing the whole time, if any toys occupy them for any period, if so which ones etc ...you can get a lot of useful information this way.

It's easy enough - just prop your phone on it's side looking out a window at the dog and hit record. A fully charged phone will take a couple of hours of footage.


Things that have made a (slight) difference to Roo you might want to try would be treats frozen in an ice block, toys such a tug-a-jug, bones buried in the backyard, a radio on softly where she can hear it, and a thundershirt. None of these might be useful but maybe worth trying if you had the time and money. I could post you a thundershirt to try if you didn't want to invest in one without seeing if it worked....

Also exercise before you go out if possible. A tired dog is a calm dog (usually!)

Edited by Jellyblush, 02 February 2013 - 05:05 PM.


#8 la di dah

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:14 PM

QUOTE (ChexMix @ 02/02/2013, 06:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think the outside = cruel thing is more from the US where they have other large predators and rabies.


Naw in most areas its not natural predators, it's just a mix of:

1) Weather including un-Australian levels of cold.
2) d***heads who poison dogs
3) d***heads who steal dogs
4) Other dogs
5) People teasing dogs to get them to bite so they can sue/make you get rid of it. If an idiot gets bit breaking into your actual house the dog is safer, legally speaking.
6) d***heads who pop the dog with Airsofts or pellet guns through the fence.
7) People letting your dog out either accidentally or on purpose.
8) Smaller yards/more urban living where nobody wants to hear your dog barking all day long while you're out.
9) The fence being high enough to keep your placid Cavalier in but not to keep the horny Golden Retriever down the street out.
10) Fences being illegal in many areas, and tall fences being illegal in many more.

#9 *Spikey*

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:19 PM

Weird double post thing going on...

Edited by *Spikey*, 02 February 2013 - 05:21 PM.


#10 ChexMix

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:21 PM

QUOTE (la di dah @ 02/02/2013, 03:14 PM)
15294757[/url]']
10) Fences being illegal in many areas, and tall fences being illegal in many more.


O.o That's really weird. Why would they do that?

#11 Kalota

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:22 PM

Just to clear up, after watching a bunch of separation anxiety dog videos, the behaviour that my dog displays when we go out is not an inconvenience at all! He doesn't bark, or make any loud noises (he whines so quietly the neighbours would not be able to hear, it's more just an expulsion of breath!), he doesn't scratch the door (just lightly paws it), doesnt do anything at all destructive or harmful.

QUOTE (ChexMix @ 02/02/2013, 06:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think the outside = cruel thing is more from the US where they have other large predators and rabies. But then they are also more likely to crate all day *shrug* FWIW I don't think being outside is cruel unless the dog is particularly upset by something out there.

Edit - typed too slow Tounge1.gif


I was thinking this too, as I've been searching the Internet and it seems to be a US thing, they are very big on crate training and seem to be against giving your dog the freedom of outside.

QUOTE (Jellyblush @ 02/02/2013, 06:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
One thing I found really useful with Roo was to film her while she was alone in the yard.

This way you can tell if the dog has been stressing the whole time, if any toys occupy them for any period, if so which ones etc ...you can get a lot of useful information this way.

It's easy enough - just prop your phone on it's side looking out a window at the dog and hit record. A fully charged phone will take a couple of hours of footage.


Things that have made a (slight) difference to Roo you might want to try would be treats frozen in an ice block, toys such a tug-a-jug, bones buried in the backyard, a radio on softly where she can hear it, and a thundershirt. None of these might be useful but maybe worth trying if you had the time and money. I could post you a thundershirt to try if you didn't want to invest in one without seeing if it worked....

Also exercise before you go out if possible. A tired dog is a calm dog (usually!)


Thanks so much for all the tips, Jellyblush, I've been following your thread about the gorgeous Roo original.gif

I really want to try the camera thing because I want to know if he only cries when we initially leave, and then calms down, or if he stresses the whole time! Our backyard is so big that I wouldn't know where to put the camera so I might just try to point it at the back door.

QUOTE (la di dah @ 02/02/2013, 06:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Naw in most areas its not natural predators, it's just a mix of:

1) Weather including un-Australian levels of cold.
2) d***heads who poison dogs
3) d***heads who steal dogs
4) Other dogs
5) People teasing dogs to get them to bite so they can sue/make you get rid of it. If an idiot gets bit breaking into your actual house the dog is safer, legally speaking.
6) d***heads who pop the dog with Airsofts or pellet guns through the fence.
7) People letting your dog out either accidentally or on purpose.
8) Smaller yards/more urban living where nobody wants to hear your dog barking all day long while you're out.
9) The fence being high enough to keep your placid Cavalier in but not to keep the horny Golden Retriever down the street out.
10) Fences being illegal in many areas, and tall fences being illegal in many more.


We live in a lovely neighbourhood and have never had a problem with any of these things, you cannot see our dog from the front and our fences are above 7ft high (our council allows us to out lattice at the top).

Edited by Kalota, 02 February 2013 - 05:23 PM.


#12 la di dah

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:29 PM

QUOTE (ChexMix @ 02/02/2013, 06:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
O.o That's really weird. Why would they do that?

Because of zoning regulations and homeowners associations. Many height cap it (4' is pretty typical and that will only keep in small placid dogs and won't keep out anything bigger) and some just flat ban them as not in keeping with the character of the area.

Many MANY areas value rolling lawns that are continuous from one end of the block to the other. It's seen as nicer and more friendly and a sign of a better area. Even not-better areas are often very stubbornly/fearfully defensive of nice lawns as the one nice thing they can have.

Places that allow them often disallow chainlink and colourbond is uncommon, so the permitted choices can rapidly become very expensive in terms of brick/iron or useless for keeping in a dog, like split-rail.

EDIT: was just saying. Sorry for the derail OP.

Edited by la di dah, 02 February 2013 - 05:30 PM.


#13 Custard

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:41 PM

Maybe some of the tips in this article from the RSPCA might help you?

http://kb.rspca.org.au/What-can-I-do-if-my...nxiety_319.html

#14 *Spikey*

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:43 PM

Kalota,

I think what you are seeing is a fairly low level of anxiety, which is understandable coming from a new dog, who is also a rescue (and how wonderful it is that he has a new home!). For most recue dogs, I expect them to become comfortable and confident in their new home around the 6 month mark.

I think that you're completely on the right track for keeping him occupied while you're both out, and that time is probably going to be the healer in this case.

Do practice short absences though. Start with a literal out the door and back in. Reward for a quiet dog. Most dogs cotton on to what you're doing fairly quickly, and will begin to 'expect' you to return. Once you've got a dog that isn't carrying on for that bit, try staying on the other side of the door for a short time - 1 minute or so. Every time you achieve a quiet dog (and lots of praise and rewards for 'happy' behaviour while you're gone), you bump it up another minute or two.

JB's list of things you can do is worth a go - especially the radio on where the dog can hear it. You could also offer an old, sweaty T-shirt to be loved. Sometimes your scent is comforting enough.

Finally, some dogs communicate with a lot of whining instead of barking. This is not necessarily a sign of stress or anxiety, its just 'talk'. As you get to know your dog better, you will work out what kind of 'chatter' he uses.

If you think it isn't getting better, or is getting worse, please get a behavioural trainer in to assess your dog and to help tailor strategies designed just for him. I can offer suggestions, but it rarely beats seeing and meeting the dog in question!

#15 Kalota

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:52 PM

QUOTE (*Spikey* @ 02/02/2013, 06:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Kalota,

I think what you are seeing is a fairly low level of anxiety, which is understandable coming from a new dog, who is also a rescue (and how wonderful it is that he has a new home!). For most recue dogs, I expect them to become comfortable and confident in their new home around the 6 month mark.

I think that you're completely on the right track for keeping him occupied while you're both out, and that time is probably going to be the healer in this case.

Do practice short absences though. Start with a literal out the door and back in. Reward for a quiet dog. Most dogs cotton on to what you're doing fairly quickly, and will begin to 'expect' you to return. Once you've got a dog that isn't carrying on for that bit, try staying on the other side of the door for a short time - 1 minute or so. Every time you achieve a quiet dog (and lots of praise and rewards for 'happy' behaviour while you're gone), you bump it up another minute or two.

JB's list of things you can do is worth a go - especially the radio on where the dog can hear it. You could also offer an old, sweaty T-shirt to be loved. Sometimes your scent is comforting enough.

Finally, some dogs communicate with a lot of whining instead of barking. This is not necessarily a sign of stress or anxiety, its just 'talk'. As you get to know your dog better, you will work out what kind of 'chatter' he uses.

If you think it isn't getting better, or is getting worse, please get a behavioural trainer in to assess your dog and to help tailor strategies designed just for him. I can offer suggestions, but it rarely beats seeing and meeting the dog in question!


Thanks so much for your detailed reply, Spikey! We've had him for less than a week! So hopefully with persistence and routine he will get to know that we do always come back and that he is fine outside original.gif for the meantime, he's not being destructive or noisy or anything, but I hate to think that he's anxious when we're out!


#16 Kalota

Posted 02 February 2013 - 05:54 PM

QUOTE (Custard @ 02/02/2013, 06:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe some of the tips in this article from the RSPCA might help you?

http://kb.rspca.org.au/What-can-I-do-if-my...nxiety_319.html


Thank you, will check it out!

And no worries, Lah di dah! original.gif

#17 Kalota

Posted 03 February 2013 - 04:04 PM

Okay, so I left a secret camera running when we left him to see what he's really like when we are gone - he was really calm and slept for the entire time almost! There were a couple of times that he got up and a sniffed the gate, but other than that he was very calm original.gif I'm very happy! He must only whine/paw when we leave and when we return. Having said that though, he was exhausted today from a walk and a run!

#18 *Spikey*

Posted 03 February 2013 - 04:11 PM

Oh that is good news!  biggrin.gif

#19 FiveAus

Posted 03 February 2013 - 06:23 PM

All but one of my dogs stay out during the day while we're at work, and even if we're home sometimes. One stays inside because he climbs the fence and takes himself for walks, but the others all like being out. When I leave for work, they come to the gate to watch me leave and as I reverse down the driveway, they just turn and walk back up the yard.

Your little guy will get used to your comings and goings and it sounds like he's happy enough once you're gone anyway.

#20 Jellyblush

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:36 PM

Great news biggrin.gif

Great news biggrin.gif

#21 icekool

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:45 PM

Perhaps you could also leave an old item of clothing/blanket that belongs to either of you so that the dog has the comforting smell when you go out. Comfort toy.




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