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By Dennis Fetko, PhD
Reprinted from August 1995 issue of Whiskers & Wags
Halifax Humane Society Newsletter

I'm familiar with hundreds of dog breeds, but what's an outside dog?
Unless you're medically intolerant of the dog (so you shouldn't have the dog anyway), making a dog stay outside is a costly waste. If he's for protection, what do you think I want to steal - your lawn?

When you leave the house, do you put your valuables and your kids out in your yard? Just what is the dog protecting out there? Most dogs kept outside cause far more nuisance complaints from barking and escaping than any deterrent to intrusion. Such complaints cause teasing, antagonism, release and poisoning. With your dog a helpless victim, it's no laughing matter.

If I'm a crook and your dog is out, your fence protects me, not your
possessions or your dog. If I just open the gate, 9 out of 10 dogs
will run off! I can safely shoot, stab, spear, poison, snare, strangle them, or dart through the fence and you just lost your dog and everything I steal!

If he's tied up and I keep out of reach, he's useless. He'll bark,
but outside dogs bark so much, they're usually ignored. But let a dog hit the other side of a door or window I'm breaking into, and I'm GONE! I can't hurt the dog until he can hurt me, and nothing you own is worth my arm.

Deterrence is effective protection.

Protection and aggression are not the same. Protection is defensive,
reactive, often passive, and threatens or injures no one.

Aggression is active, harmful and offensive, threatens all and benefits none. Yard dogs often develop far more aggression than protection instincts because everyone who passes by or enters has already violated the territory that dog has marked dozens of times a day for years. That's not protection, it's not desirable and it overlooks two facts of life today:

First, property owners have implied social contracts with others in
the community. Letter carriers, paper boys, delivery people, law
enforcement, emergency medical personnel, meter readers and others are allowed near and at times on your property without your specific permission. And sure that ten-year-old was not supposed to jump your fence after his Frisbee; but neither you nor your dog are allowed to cause him injury if he does.

Imagine this: A neighbor looks into your yard or window and sees you, your wife or child laying on the floor in a pool of blood. They call 9-1-1 and your dog prevents paramedics from assisting! Should they shoot your dog or just let you die?

Great choice.

Second, even if the intruder is a criminal, few places allow you or
your dog to cause physical injury to prevent property loss. Convicted felons have sued the dog's owner from jail and won more in the suit than they ever could have stolen! Appalling? True.

And don't be foolish enough to believe your homeowner's insurance
will cover the loss. Now you see why many feel that an outside dog is a

The more a dog is outdoors, the less behavioral control you have.
It's easier to solve four or five indoor problems than one outdoor
problem. The reason is valid and simple: The more you control the stimuli that reaches your dog, the more you control the responses.

You've got a lot more control over your living room than you do over your entire county! When your dog is bored, but teased by every dog, cat, bird, squirrel, motorcycle, paperboy, airplane, firecracker and backfiring truck in the county, OF COURSE he'll dig, chew, and bark!

Would you  sit still all day everyday? Do you want unnecessary medical
and parasite fees, especially as the dog ages?

When a dog is alone indoors, you are still 30% there because your
scent and things he associates with you, constantly remind the dog of you and your training. When he's outside, your dog is alone whether you're home or not. Do you really expect him to keep YOU in mind while the entire world teases, distracts and stimulates him?

The media is full of stories about the family dog saving everyone's
life during a fire. How many people, including children, would be dead
today if those dogs were kept outside? always  get up to investigate every time your yard dog barks. And I've got this bridge to sell you...

An outdoor dog has an address, not a home. Dogs offer real value as
companion animals. Stop behavior problems and start enjoying real
protection and companionship. Bring your dogs inside.

~Dennis Fetko, Phd.

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2,318 Posts
that was a great article a real eye opener to those who are planning to or have already designated the outside as their dogs living quarters. home is where my boxer is, if she is living outside then you can bet i am too!thanks for posting this.  :D

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Here Here!!! Thanks for posting - what a great article. I can't stand it when people make their dogs stay outside...

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My boxer is definitely an inside dog (not really built for adverse conditions).  But, I think there are situations where certain dogs are able and willing to live outdoors.  I don't think it's necessary to generalize and say that all dogs should be "inside dogs."  Growing up on a farm, we had outside dogs.  They were a well-trained and much loved part of the family.

when i was a kid, there was a beagle named buddy who was kept outside in a kennel in the back corner of the neighbor's yard. As a baby he would cry and cry and cry...when my sister tried to pet him through the fence, he would get very excited...but the neighbor would yell at her...

they cleaned his kennel once a week and threw some food and water in when it got low...they would play with him maybe once a month if that...

he was a hunting dog that was left alone and ignored except for a couple times a year where they would hunt with him...

He eventually got sores/tumour and eventually died...alone...

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The previous owner of Cooper couldn't understand why he just couldn't get rid of the demodex.  Come to find out he was kept outside nearly 24 hours a day.  I'm thinking it was most likely the full 24 hours.  The poor dog doesn't have a full coat, covered in open sores, and left out in the cold and elements.  Gee, just don't know why the demodex wasn't clearing up.  Glad to say, after 1 week, sores closed up.  After 2 weeks, skin looks almost brand new, but he's lost more hair as the mites have died off.  I think it's a pretty educated guess to say that if he'd been kept outside, he probably wouldn't have made it to now.  I've just never seen the exact reasoning behind owning a dog and keeping him outside.  Especially dogs that have been bred to be indoor dogs.

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Zhanna\";p=\"52739 said:
Now how do I get this to my mother-in-law and step-mother-in-law without them knowing I had anything to do with it? :think:

Ah heck, give me their address, I'll mail it!!! :lol:
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