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Old 12-12-2012, 02:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Training To Stay Outside Longer?

New here! First post!

We have a 7 month old GS puppy who is the cutest little ball of fluff, and who thinks he's a person. From the time we brought him home, when we can't be with him he stays gated in the puppy-proofed area by our front door, about 10x10. He has room for a blanket, room to play a little, and room for food/water.

However, he also has a nice large fenced-in puppy-proof yard, with a brand new 6ft privacy fence and big heavy locks on all the gates. Which he uses for a maximum of 20 minutes at a stretch before he's whining to come in.

This was fine when he was a little puppy, and he hasn't been required to stay in the front door area for more than two hours in the past month and a half, since my husband's been laid off.

I have a suspicion that the 10x10 area by the front door won't work anymore when hubby goes back to work, and as much as I would love to give him the run of the house, he's not quite ready. So he's going to get the run of the back yard instead. (I don't feel this is a bad thing since 1. We live in a nice neighborhood in a nice small town and 2. We have nosy neighbors across and beside us who are home all day and love a chance to let you know something's up, so slim chance of random poisoners/thieves. I've never heard of malicious things happening to dogs in our town at all.)

Are there any tricks or techniques to make him LOVE the back yard for extended periods? He's always ready to go out, and sometimes refuses to come in. He has FUN out there; he digs, he runs, he jumps, he hunts moles and leaves big trenches in the yard...but then he's done and asks to come in. I don't want him whining all pitiful at the door for five hours every day. How do we teach him it's okay?
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Old 12-12-2012, 02:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Most people, me included, will recommend not leaving your dog alone in the back yard. GSD puppies are thief magnets. Also, as much as you puppy proof the yard, he is still going to get into things and the worst could happen. Better to get him used to laying in a crate for a while, and spending some time in the back yard, but with supervision.

If my dogs don't check in with me every few minutes, I know there's trouble afoot. Of course, even then it could be too late. I had a puppy break her leg one Sunday morning after being outside only 10 minutes very early in the morning. To this day I have no idea how it happened, but it cost me almost $2,000 in vet and surgery bills. Stuff happens.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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However, he also has a nice large fenced-in puppy-proof yard, with a brand new 6ft privacy fence
NOTHING is puppy-proof!

I could go into a list of things that your puppy MIGHT do ... but the list is endless

I'll give you two:

fence - if the dog wants out that bad, he might try and chew on the fence to get out. If it's a wood fence ... ouch ... if it's a steel fence ... bigger ouch.

yard = dirt = solo puppy = digging to China !

I get what you want ... the puppy to be outside enjoying himself in the sun, nice fresh air, etc. That's what you want ... what does he want? YOU ... yup, YOU / your partner, ... no one else is really going to cut it ... not the backyard, not the mailman, not the trees, not all the toys ... just YOU!

SOOOO, I personally, would recommend a crate for the 10x10 room, if you don't think he can stay in there by himself without destroying the room (which is probably can't LOL ... he's a puppy!)
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I also agree with not leaving your pup loose in your yard. If you MUST put him outside, I would highly suggest building him a nice, strong kennel with a lock.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree - even where I live in a country residential area, I will not leave my dogs outside, because nothing happens until it does. Meaning, there may have never been dogs poisoned or stolen in your neighborhood, but that doesn't mean it never will. And it would suck for your dog to be the "first ever".

I agree with the crating when you are not home. When you are home, here are a few ideas to have him enjoy his yard time:

1) Take his breakfast outside and throw it all over the grass. Let him track down and eat his breakfast this way. It burns mental energy and keeps him busy.

2) Fill a kong with his kibble, some tasty treats and broth. Freeze overnight. In the morning give him his treat in the yard and let him get his meal this way.

3) You can get large Jolly balls and kongs (or other safe chew or play toys) and hide them throughout the yard and allow him to find them.

Really yard time at my place, is while I am cooking dinner or helping my son with his homework and we need peace and quiet. When the dogs have been in their crates all day and before I take them for their run, its nice when they can just spend some time outside doing their thing. But it is definitely not a replacement for training, regular exercise and bonding time, just think of it as a good "in between" tool.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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NOTHING is puppy-proof!
So true! At our house "puppy proof" = "There is not one thing in this area you can chew/destroy except the material used to build the space itself, and your approved toys".

General consensus seems to be no backyard for the puppy!

He does really well in the 10x10 area at the door. He chewed the drywall/baseboards one time when he first started teething, so we caught him at it that night in the living room, gave him a quick ah-ah and a shoved a toy in his mouth, and he caught on. The space just seems so SMALL now, since he's gotten so big. But I suppose if other dogs are crated all day, Kaiser's already being spoiled unnecessarily by giving him even that much space.
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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he loves to dig ? can he dig his way under the fence and escape?
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Try going outside with your pup I bet he's just bored, lonely, and misses his family. The only time I would say is fine to let him out by himself is for a quick bathroom break.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatchonGSD View Post
I also agree with not leaving your pup loose in your yard. If you MUST put him outside, I would highly suggest building him a nice, strong kennel with a lock.
..... and a chain link cover but even then people can seal them.
In a previous area where we lived (foreign country) they would use a female in heat to steal the stud dogs. Inside, crated is the safest. All they do is wait for you anyway.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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2. We have nosy neighbors across and beside us who are home all day
If he starts the habit of barking, you can bet your neighbors who are at home all day will not be pleased.
As your hubby is going back to a work routine, I would start now on a schedule that pup will know when it happens. That way the transition won't be such a big deal. Dogs usually sleep the whole time we are away, so crating inside or kenneling safely outside is probably not a big deal(unless pup barks while outside/kenneled and annoys the neighbors).
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