Switching an Outdoor Dog to Indoors

Regular exercise is an important part of the transition from outdoor to indoor pet.
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Bringing your outside dog in can be a real treat for both you and your pup. Dogs are social creatures and will enjoy the extra bonding time he gets to spend as part of the family. He may need to learn some new manners, though.

Step 1

House-train your pup. A dog that has lived outside all his life may not realize that he shouldn't go to the potty wherever is convenient. Fortunately, they typically learn quickly once they understand what you want, and mature dogs do not need to go out as frequently as puppies.

The easiest way to house-train a dog is to take him out after meals and playtime. The only places he should be until he is reliably going outside are outside, inside while you watch him and in his crate. Leaving him free to roam the house unsupervised is an invitation for messes, some that you may not discover immediately.

Step 2

Keep your house picked up and tidy. When first making the transition to inside, your dog will not know what he is allowed to play with and what must be left alone. Keep your shoes and the kids' toys picked up so he doesn't make a mistake. You'll also want to keep clothes in the hamper and towels hung up so he doesn't co-opt them as bedding.

Step 3

Clear the counters and table. If you have a medium or large dog, he may view your eating surfaces as his personal buffet. Until he learns the house rules, avoid temptation by keeping tables and counters clear. Counter-surfing, once it starts, is challenging to stop.

Step 4

Provide plenty of exercise. While your dog spent much of his day outside asleep, he did have the opportunity to move around when he wanted, as well as the additional mental stimulation of tracking down bugs and watching neighbors. To compensate, provide daily walks and toys, such as a rubber chew toy stuffed with treats.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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