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Q&A: How Can I Transition My Inside Dog to an Outside Dog?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Dogs that are kept outside in isolation have more behavioral problems than dogs that sleep inside or with other dogs outside.

Dogs that are kept outside in isolation have more behavioral problems than dogs that sleep inside or with other dogs outside.

Can I Get My Crated Puppy to Live Outdoors?

"My black tri Australian Shepherd (chipped, spayed, and in a fenced yard) and I live in east Texas. I have crated her each night in our mudroom starting from 8 weeks old. She will be 9 months old on 9-24-22, and I'm ready to transition her to outdoor life.

I'm thinking if I put her crate on the back porch and keep her bedding as usual, she might make the transition okay. Originally, she was intended to be an outside pup, but when we got her the weather was horribly cold. Then there was no spring and we went straight to 100+ degree weather and drought, so instead of living outside all the time, she has inside and outside time.

She loves the outdoors and swims, runs, and chases rabbits, squirrels, and cows. She gets plenty of activity and plenty of love each day. I have no complaints except that I'm ready to reclaim my mudroom and sleep past 4:30–5:00 AM each morning when she wakes me up for a restroom break (retirement is great).

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My main question is, do you recommend I crate her on the porch for a week or so, then tie the crate door back so she can get to her safety zone?" —Alisa

Indoor-Outdoor Is the Ideal Combination

My feeling on crates is that they are fine as long as the door is open and the dog has the chance to go in and out. If your yard is fenced, I see no reason not to allow her to start using it right away. Aussies are great outside dogs, and she will not need to be confined to your mudroom. If she is going to be in the backyard most of the day, make sure she always has water and is able to get on the porch and into the shade.

But is there a reason she is not able to sleep inside the house? Dogs that are kept outside in isolation have more behavioral problems than dogs that sleep inside or dogs that sleep with other dogs outside. If she is your only dog, she is probably waking you up early in the mornings because she is lonely and wants to see you.

If you can manage to work it out so that your dog spends most of the day outdoors and then comes in to sleep at night, she will likely be much happier.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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