German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 55 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
653 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I've struggled with this a bit, trying to decide how to best handle Willow, me being single with a full-time job that is sometimes field-based (meaning long days away from home). My initial plan was for Willow to be a primarily indoor dog, and I would crate her or, eventually, leave her loose in the house while I'm working. But...I hate the idea of being stuck in the field longer than I anticipate, and her having to go the bathroom or being otherwise miserable stuck in a crate. Hiring a dog-walker isn't really an option since she doesn't trust anybody else but me.

So, I'm thinking of transitioning her to spending the days outside. She loves cold weather anyway, it seems, though now when I do put her outside she explores for a little while but then comes to the backdoor and waits to be let back in. She loves outdoors but only when I'm there with her, which isn't surprising, I guess. I'd like to get her used to spending days out there.

I am of course going to be letting her back inside when I'm home and at night. If the temps are exceedingly cold, I won't leave her outside (and I probably wouldn't be doing field work those days anyway). I purchased one of those insulated dog Igloos which should hopefully arrive in the next couple of weeks, and I can also buy some straw to put in there.

My yard is pretty big and completely 6-foot fenced, although there's a small section along the front of the house that is only 4.5-feet high...a white picket fence. She has never shown any inclination to jump it, and I've been trying to teach her that she's only allowed to come through the gate into the front yard when I tell her it's OK (making her sit, stay, and only come when I say OK).

Any tips on making the transition? Is it just a trial and error thing, I should just leave her for longer and longer periods of time until she's spending most of the day out there?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
653 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
I should also add why I think this is the best idea for now....I've tried taking Willow into the field with me, but her whining in the truck is seriously driving me batty. It's nonstop. Even when she's in a crate. If I can build a permanent crate thing for the bed of the truck, it'd at least make me not have to listen to her whining. I've known two of the game wardens that have done this for their dogs. And really, we're not supposed to have dogs in the cabs of the trucks anyway, it's in our employee rule book.

I have no idea why she whines like this. She's always happy to go with me in the truck, jumps up into the crate like it's her favorite thing ever, and then proceeds to whine nonstop until I let her out. Telling her "quiet!", ignoring her, yelling at her, hitting the crate (yes I know that's me losing my temper but it's seriously the most annoying thing ever), does NOTHING. So...taking her to work is kind of off the table.

And the work I do...I feel like she'd be happier and less stressed out being in the backyard all day than being in a crate in my truck. In the next couple of weeks I'm supposed to be catching bighorn sheep to collar, and we'll be jumping in and out of the truck, chasing sheep, shooting dart guns out of the truck, etc. I'm also helping with an elk capture next week and requested to be ground support, but Willow would have to tolerate a very noisy helicopter landing nearby to be refueled periodically and I don't imagine she'd enjoy that. It's either that or I have to fly in the spotter plane, and leave her in her crate in the truck and only let her out to run around (in an unfamiliar airport) when the plane has to stop to refuel. Then in the spring I start elk surveys, which are EXTREMELY early mornings when I just know I'm not going to want to wake up at 3am so I can feed her, wait an hour, walk her so she poops/pees, and then go.

So....yeah, that's why I'm thinking this is the best way to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
Hi all,
I've struggled with this a bit, trying to decide how to best handle Willow, me being single with a full-time job that is sometimes field-based (meaning long days away from home). My initial plan was for Willow to be a primarily indoor dog, and I would crate her or, eventually, leave her loose in the house while I'm working. But...I hate the idea of being stuck in the field longer than I anticipate, and her having to go the bathroom or being otherwise miserable stuck in a crate. Hiring a dog-walker isn't really an option since she doesn't trust anybody else but me.

So, I'm thinking of transitioning her to spending the days outside. She loves cold weather anyway, it seems, though now when I do put her outside she explores for a little while but then comes to the backdoor and waits to be let back in. She loves outdoors but only when I'm there with her, which isn't surprising, I guess. I'd like to get her used to spending days out there.

I am of course going to be letting her back inside when I'm home and at night. If the temps are exceedingly cold, I won't leave her outside (and I probably wouldn't be doing field work those days anyway). I purchased one of those insulated dog Igloos which should hopefully arrive in the next couple of weeks, and I can also buy some straw to put in there.

My yard is pretty big and completely 6-foot fenced, although there's a small section along the front of the house that is only 4.5-feet high...a white picket fence. She has never shown any inclination to jump it, and I've been trying to teach her that she's only allowed to come through the gate into the front yard when I tell her it's OK (making her sit, stay, and only come when I say OK).

Any tips on making the transition? Is it just a trial and error thing, I should just leave her for longer and longer periods of time until she's spending most of the day out there?
Do you have a garage with a door that opens into your fenced yard? Our previous dogs (non-gsd) spent long days alone outside. We put a dog door in the human access door to the yard. If they wanted to be out they could. If they wanted to be in the garage they had free access to it. If it was cold, hot, snowing or raining they had the whole garage to take shelter in. We put food and water in the garage when they needed to be in the garage. They had a dog bed and for summer heat we installed a ceiling fan for air flow and cooling. They did just fine. I will say that our current gsd is a house dog. Mostly because, unlike the past, I am now home all day and that is how she was brought up. She is a nuisance barker so I don't leave her out. Plus I don't trust some of my neighbors not to harrass/harm her (we had to install cameras and put a padlock on the inside of our 6 ft gate...ugh).
If this is an option it will take some training. Short trips out to start just putting her out and leaving for say 30 minutes to see how she does and increasing the time. Willow is smart and she will learn. Just make sure there is nothing she can get into that is dangerous to her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
653 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Do you have a garage with a door that opens into your fenced yard? Our previous dogs (non-gsd) spent long days alone outside. We put a dog door in the human access door to the yard. If they wanted to be out they could. If they wanted to be in the garage they had free access to it. If it was cold, hot, snowing or raining they had the whole garage to take shelter in. We put food and water in the garage when they needed to be in the garage. They had a dog bed and for summer heat we installed a ceiling fan for air flow and cooling. They did just fine. I will say that our current gsd is a house dog. Mostly because, unlike the past, I am now home all day and that is how she was brought up. She is a nuisance barker so I don't leave her out. Plus I don't trust some of my neighbors not to harrass/harm her (we had to install cameras and put a padlock on the inside of our 6 ft gate...ugh).
If this is an option it will take some training. Short trips out to start just putting her out and leaving for say 30 minutes to see how she does and increasing the time. Willow is smart and she will learn. Just make sure there is nothing she can get into that is dangerous to her.
Thanks! Yes, I do have a garage with a door into the backyard and I considered this. The garage is super tiny though, just barely big enough to fit my Honda Accord, and I'd need to do a very thorough job cleaning up all the junk that's currently in there (lawn chemicals, gas, etc.). When my car is in there, there's not much room leftover.

I also have a little backyard shed that I'm considered putting the doghouse in and letting that be Willow's retreat. It's not insulated or anything, would just be protection from the elements, maybe slightly warmer than outside. There'd be plenty of room in it for her; it's probably about the size of a standard dog run, and I'd leave the door to the yard open.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
Thanks! Yes, I do have a garage with a door into the backyard and I considered this. The garage is super tiny though, just barely big enough to fit my Honda Accord, and I'd need to do a very thorough job cleaning up all the junk that's currently in there (lawn chemicals, gas, etc.). When my car is in there, there's not much room leftover.

I also have a little backyard shed that I'm considered putting the doghouse in and letting that be Willow's retreat. It's not insulated or anything, would just be protection from the elements, maybe slightly warmer than outside. There'd be plenty of room in it for her; it's probably about the size of a standard dog run, and I'd leave the door to the yard open.
She would probably like the shed. The important thing is a place to take shelter from the elements. If you decide to use the shed to train her it's her space I would use treat training. Put a pile of treats and/or a chew in there and show her it's her space. If she has a dog bed in the house now move it to the shed. Get a new one for the house. She will know it's her bed and a place to be. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
653 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Some pics of the tiny garage, the shed, and the fence. Right now, there's lots of bad dog stuff in easy reach in the garage and I need to give it a good sweeping to get rid of the Weed N' Feed that's spilled on the ground. I also keep her dog food in there, but hopefully can find another option for storing that.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
Once cleaned up the garage has plenty of space for Willow. Your shed is a nice space with plenty of light and room. If you use the shed I would find a way to secure the door open so it doesn't blow shut and trap her inside. That said I would consider putting a dog door in under the window by the door if that is a financial option. Then the shed door can stay closed. Less wind, snow, rain to enter the shed. My only concern is that 4 ft fencing. To easy for people to reach over and her to jump over if she is enticed to do so (rabbit, cat, other dog or people walking by).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,168 Posts
Is a dog door into your house out of the question at this point? There are dog doors with locks that sense a collar tag and unlock only when that's present. It would allow her to run inside if dangerous critters came around.

I also totally agree on that fencing not being a high enough protective barrier to keep her in (or any other dog out) when she's unattended. Once she learns it's jumpable, it will be game-over for that fence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
677 Posts
I agree the garage seems the better option with a doggie door. You have 2 things to correct here, cleaning up the garage to make it safe and blocking off access to the low picket fence. IMO, that fence won't suffice. My unathletic
female used to jump a 6 ft. privacy fence when she wanted, so fair warning.

Maybe you can take your dog to work 1 or 2 days per week. Something I've noticed w/ my dog is that her whining is
a notch down from anxiety barking. So maybe work on your dog's anxiety in the vehicle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
653 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Is a dog door into your house out of the question at this point? There are dog doors with locks that sense a collar tag and unlock only when that's present. It would allow her to run inside if dangerous critters came around.

I also totally agree on that fencing not being a high enough protective barrier to keep her in (or any other dog out) when she's unattended. Once she learns it's jumpable, it will be game-over for that fence.
Re: dog door, yeah kinda, due to the expense and the fact that my house is small and I really really don't want muddy/wet dog to mess it up. I know that's kind of vain but...having a clean house is one of the things that keeps me sane and less stressed out.

For the fence, I have called fencing companies to see if I could have that short section of fence replaced with 6-feet. Unfortunately I can't get anyone to call me back....this valley is pretty hot for development right now and fencing companies are getting a lot more $$$ building fences around new subdivisions than fixing my one 25-foot span of short fence. I am thinking of maybe putting up stock panels or otherwise doing some kind of do-it-yourself fix that's affordable and hopefully not too ugly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
653 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Haha, a fencing company actually answered the phone and they're on their way!! We'll see how much this costs....

I also contacted a handyman I've used before and I'll ask him about installing a dog door in the shed and/or exterior garage door. Maybe the one in the shed'll be something I can do myself....just need a saw and drill and some screws, eh? :) I have no idea!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Some pics of the tiny garage, the shed, and the fence. Right now, there's lots of bad dog stuff in easy reach in the garage and I need to give it a good sweeping to get rid of the Weed N' Feed that's spilled on the ground. I also keep her dog food in there, but hopefully can find another option for storing that.
Holy crap your yard is HUGE and that shed that would be perfect, I think if you're out of options that would be the best bet
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,166 Posts
@banaiz555 installing a dog dog in the shed wall would be pretty easy. The doors come with templates. A saw and a screwdriver is probably all you would need. You could do it I have faith. Or your handyman could get it done in probably 30 minutes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
653 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Holy crap your yard is HUGE and that shed that would be perfect, I think if you're out of options that would be the best bet
Haha yeah and the pic is just of the side yard; the rest of the backyard is probably 2x as big. The front yard is nice too; unlike most other houses around here, my house is set right in the middle of the property instead of at the front, so my back and front yards are about the same size. Nice because there'll be some distance between the street and Willow if she's at the fence, so hopefully nothing will tempt her unless it actually comes into my yard.

The fence guy was here and I think this will be reasonable...needed to get some other things fixed too (gates and such), but he said since the 25-foot span is so short, he can probably use leftover materials and it'll be really inexpensive. So, yay for that!! Now I just have to trust that 6 feet is too tall for Willow to jump...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Haha yeah and the pic is just of the side yard; the rest of the backyard is probably 2x as big. The front yard is nice too; unlike most other houses around here, my house is set right in the middle of the property instead of at the front, so my back and front yards are about the same size. Nice because there'll be some distance between the street and Willow if she's at the fence, so hopefully nothing will tempt her unless it actually comes into my yard.

The fence guy was here and I think this will be reasonable...needed to get some other things fixed too (gates and such), but he said since the 25-foot span is so short, he can probably use leftover materials and it'll be really inexpensive. So, yay for that!! Now I just have to trust that 6 feet is too tall for Willow to jump...
That's awesome! Good luck I'm sure it will work out!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,280 Posts
I'm late to respond but just thought to share what I do to make sure my dogs are comfortable in their garden shed kennel.Lining the inside walls with straw bales two high and a thick blanket of straw on the floor keeps them comfy on sub zero days when they have to be left all day occasionally.BTW I'm glad you're doing something with that picket fence.My dogs would be over that in no time flat!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
419 Posts
I should also add why I think this is the best idea for now....I've tried taking Willow into the field with me, but her whining in the truck is seriously driving me batty. It's nonstop. Even when she's in a crate. If I can build a permanent crate thing for the bed of the truck, it'd at least make me not have to listen to her whining. I've known two of the game wardens that have done this for their dogs. And really, we're not supposed to have dogs in the cabs of the trucks anyway, it's in our employee rule book.

I have no idea why she whines like this. She's always happy to go with me in the truck, jumps up into the crate like it's her favorite thing ever, and then proceeds to whine nonstop until I let her out. Telling her "quiet!", ignoring her, yelling at her, hitting the crate (yes I know that's me losing my temper but it's seriously the most annoying thing ever), does NOTHING. So...taking her to work is kind of off the table.

And the work I do...I feel like she'd be happier and less stressed out being in the backyard all day than being in a crate in my truck. In the next couple of weeks I'm supposed to be catching bighorn sheep to collar, and we'll be jumping in and out of the truck, chasing sheep, shooting dart guns out of the truck, etc. I'm also helping with an elk capture next week and requested to be ground support, but Willow would have to tolerate a very noisy helicopter landing nearby to be refueled periodically and I don't imagine she'd enjoy that. It's either that or I have to fly in the spotter plane, and leave her in her crate in the truck and only let her out to run around (in an unfamiliar airport) when the plane has to stop to refuel. Then in the spring I start elk surveys, which are EXTREMELY early mornings when I just know I'm not going to want to wake up at 3am so I can feed her, wait an hour, walk her so she poops/pees, and then go.

So....yeah, that's why I'm thinking this is the best way to go.
my girl is also a German Whiner Dog, drives me absolutely insane. It’s pretty common, unfortunately, and I can’t imagine any way to fix it that I haven’t already tried and failed.

Stick her in a crate in the back and earplugs is what I’ve settled on. Thank goodness my other dog is quiet.
 
  • Like
Reactions: banzai555

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
419 Posts
Oh I forgot to ask, why not just install a dog door?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
653 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Oh I forgot to ask, why not just install a dog door?
I don't want to. My house is small, I'm kinda house proud, and the thought of Willow tracking in dirt and mud and stuff makes me cringe. I already am vacuuming every other day because of how much she's shedding. I know I could theoretically close off the dog door if it's rainy or snowy out, but I feel like that'd just confuse her...like one minute she's free to go, the next she's not.

Plus I'm not yet at the point where I'm comfortable leaving her loose in the house. She got into my garbage can last time I left her and I wouldn't put it past her to open the pantry or refrigerator doors if she got motivated enough. I'd just feel better with her being in the yard when I can't be there to let her out to go to the bathroom. And also have access to water (I don't give her water in her crate).

And yeah, the whining. Ugh. I hate the thought of having to wear headphones or earplugs in the car (I think it's illegal, actually), but if we ever have to do long trips I guess that's what I'm gonna have to do. Has it improved at all for your dog as time has gone by?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,998 Posts
Is she a barker?

Once you fix the fence that would be my biggest concern. GSDs aren't great yard dogs, they bark. And bark. And bark. A bark collar would solve that, but it's another expense.

I'd also invest in some basic, motion activated, wifi cameras so you can check on her throughout the day.

All of what you say about your job makes me jealous as a former wildlife biologist, but also confident in the decision I made to transfer to a different type of job- it's really hard to have dogs and work field jobs!
 
1 - 20 of 55 Posts
Top