If your dog has been living outdoors for a long time, he probably won’t know how to behave the way you’d like him to inside the house. My challenge to you for the next two weeks is to commit to bringing your dog inside every day while I teach you how to teach him to do what you want. The hardest part will be committing to bringing your dog inside every day if it’s something you haven’t been doing, because it will be a change in routine. But give it a go and I’ll give you tips along the way. Even bringing your dog inside with you for short periods of time will start to teach him how you want him to behave and you can build up to longer times with him indoors from there.
Let’s start with some background information that you will need to know …
Did you know that dogs can be on leashes even inside the house? Make sure you have a six foot leash that is comfortable for you to hold. The leash will help you to keep your dog near you so you can teach him appropriate behaviors for in the house. Dogs don’t automatically know how we want them to behave, so it’s up to us to teach them.
One thing to keep in mind is that dogs do need physical exercise. Your teaching will go much easier if you make sure you give your dog exercise before bringing him into the house every day. He’s not going to exercise himself while he’s tied on the chain, so it’s not really fair to expect your dog to relax quietly in the house if he hasn’t had any exercise, especially if he’s a young dog.
Taking your dog for a brisk walk or run can help him to get enough exercise. Let him sniff the smells along the way, too. Dogs need to sniff to explore their environments, and sniffing will help to tire out his brain as he explores all the other dog smells around the neighborhood. If you have access to a fenced area to let your dog run, that is great too. Some parks have fenced tennis courts or ball fields that you may be able to use. Or, get a long clothesline with a hook on one end to attach to your dog’s collar and let him run while you hold one end. Toss toys for him to chase and really get him running around with you. You might be able to pay a neighbor to walk or run your dog if you’re not able to do it yourself. Twenty to thirty minutes of fast-paced exercise is probably sufficient, but more will usually be welcomed by your dog as well!
Management will be your friend as you bring your dog inside the house. Use gates or barriers to keep your dog away from areas you don’t want him to go. Keep him in the same room as you so you can supervise him and prevent him from doing things you don’t want him to do. If you let your dog learn to do things that you don’t like because you’re not watching him, those habits will continue. Instead, I will show you how to teach him behaviors that you do want right from the start to begin good habits.
If you have a crate or pen that is big enough for your dog to stay in, it may be helpful to you during this stage of early training in the house. You won’t be keeping your dog in it for long periods of time, but there may be times when you need a safe place to put him for a moment here or there when you can’t watch him. Having the crate handy will make that easier. You may be able to purchase or borrow a used crate.
I’m going to start you with small achievable steps to bringing your dog into the house with you. Try to follow each day’s step, but if you want to do more, feel free. Each day will build on the last day, so if you are joining us later in the process, go back and review previous posts until you and your dog are caught up!