How to Train Your Big Dog to Be Inside

Medium
4-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Big dogs outside have big barks. Your large dog may enjoy being outside. But he also may intimidate the neighbors, small children around the neighborhood, or smaller dogs next door. If staying in your backyard or running free might be more appealing to your dog then lying around your living room, training him to be an inside dog might take some time. But once your big guy is used to being in the house, he'll find comfort there as well. If you're living in an apartment or a townhouse with close neighbors, you need to be able to teach your dog to be inside without being miserable enough to bark all day there as well. This is a simple training, giving him safe spaces where he can find comfort just as he does when he's outside. Your large breed dog may also be very protective of your space and the people in your home. 

Defining Tasks

Some dogs believe they can protect better from the outside. Teaching him that his role is to be inside will also help him want to be inside the house. To give him this control for protecting your house, you can start by giving him small areas in the house to protect or to call his own. Doing this will ease him into wanting to be in the space you have assigned to him. You can do this by keeping him on a leash in the house so he has the feeling of being outside. At first, if you are using a leash for indoor training, you may need to take the big dog outside when he sees the leash because he may be used to being out on a leash. Make this a quick trip outside, and when you get back in just don't take the leash off of him. Leave it on so he feels like he's still on duty when he's in the house and has the power to do his job. Another thing you will need to focus on is creating this space that is his. His space should have his belongings, his comforts, and give him a reason to want to be indoors instead of outside.

Getting Started

To convince your dog to be inside all the time you're going to need a leash, lots of lovey toys, a comfortable bed, and some treats. If you give your dog treats inside of some fun toys, he can associate playtime with inside as well. If your dog wants to be out to watch the world revolve around him and protect the center of his universe then assign him to a special room where you keep his belongings and where are you with your family.

The Comfort Leash Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Attach leash
Attach a leash to your dog and walk him around your house from room to room.
Step
2
Special areas
Stop in special areas of your house and give your dog a reward as you're walking through the house with him on the leash.
Step
3
Off-leash outside
If you have a fenced-in space for your dog outdoors, take the leash off and take him outside for a quick visit such as to go potty.
Step
4
Back inside
Once your dog is back inside the house, put the leash back on him and take him for another walk around the house and give him a reward at the end.
Step
5
Comfort leash
Your dog will associate the leash with being inside and with you. As long as he has a fenced-in yard to go potty he will not need a leash outside.
Step
6
Keep it up
If your dog is enjoying being inside more and more, you can eventually take the leash off of him when he's inside. He may not like having the leash off when he's inside because it may become comfortable for him. If this is the case you can have him sleep with the leash nearby.
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The Special Place Method

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0 Votes
Step
1
Special place
Create a special place for your dog by giving him his own bed in a room he enjoys being in. This will likely be the same room you and your family are in the most, such as your family room or even your bedroom.
Step
2
Toys
Offer lots of toys and things to do inside. If he likes to be outside because it's entertaining then he's going to need to be entertained inside.
Step
3
Treat puzzles
Along with toys, give your dog some special puzzle toys so he can earn treats while he's playing. Be sure not to take any of his toys outside when he goes outside. Having indoor-only toys gives him the chance to learn that fun is inside and can't be taken outside
Step
4
Indoor play
When it's time to play with your dog, play indoors. Make outdoor time potty time and exercise time only. Interactions you have with your dog that consist of playtime need to happen inside so he wants to be inside to be with you and play.
Step
5
Cuddle time
Also create special cuddle time with your dog indoors. This could be in your dog's bed, in your bed, on your couch, or even on the floor. During this time you want quiet play, so your dog should be somewhat tired, not excited and eager to play. Give your dog lots of love and attention and even some treats while you're cuddling. This is another activity that will encourage him to be inside instead of outdoors.
Step
6
Make outdoors work
When your dog is outside, keep it to business only. This means you can take him for a walk or run or play with an outdoor toy with him such as a tennis ball to wear him out and he can use the bathroom outside. However, don't stay outside very long, leaving him to believe the fun is indoors only.
Step
7
Tire out
When your dog gets to go outside to play or exercise with you, tire him out so he's ready to come inside and rest or play quietly.
Step
8
Rewards
Anytime your dog earns a treat for something, even if it's something he has done outdoors, always give him the reward inside.
Recommend training method?

The Protective Dog Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Special forces
If your dog is used to protecting a house outside and now needs to be an indoor dog, he's going to need something to protect.
Step
2
Special room
Make a big deal out of a special room that your dog is to be in charge of protecting. This room can be your kitchen or your family room or even a room that's not used as often. Your dog can also be assigned to the front door or the back door. He may be more comfortable in a room that doesn't have as many windows or he may be more comfortable looking outside from his task force room.
Step
3
Extra bed
If this is not where your dog's bed is usually, place an extra bed in here so he has a place to rest while he's on duty.
Step
4
Patrols
To get your dog used to being inside, go on patrol with him in this room, every so often encouraging him to protect the room. This might mean you walk the room together along the perimeter giving him treats as he does his job of protecting and then you sit down and rest together.
Step
5
Guests
Because this is your dog's special space to protect, anytime you have a guest coming in, prepare them by letting them know that he is on duty in this room. They should not approach him but rather let him approach the guest. Anytime you watch your dog on patrol or greeting mode give him a treat for a job well done.
Step
6
Outside
When you take your dog outside for exercise, wait to give him treats until he is in his special room inside the house. He will begin to associate indoors with rewards and his job of protecting the home.
Step
7
Housetrain
Be sure as you are teaching your dog to stay inside, he is also housetrained. Rescue dogs especially, may not be housetrained if they are used to being outside all the time.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Molly
Great Pyrenees
4 Years
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Question
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Molly
Great Pyrenees
4 Years

We just moved into a new house and our dog does not want to stay inside. She barks, pants, and walks back and forth crying to be let outside. We are okay with her being outside during the day, but would like her to come in at night and throughout the day to get attention and food. She has never behaved this way in our previous homes. I have her bed, food, and treats inside, but she still doesn't want to be inside. It was raining last night so I tried to keep her insight but she spent 7 hours (8pm - 3am) pacing back and forth and crying. The new house has wood floors and we are wondering if she doesn't like the floors? We just ordered rugs so hopefully that will be more comfortable for her paws. Any help with adjusting to the new house and getting her comfortable would be greatly appreciated.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
134 Dog owners recommended

Hello there. The hardwood floor could be an issue. One thing I suggest is to keep her confined to a smaller space. When anxious, dogs will pace and work themselves up and then spiral for hours. The more space, the more they can pace and get worked up. So if you have a smaller bedroom, laundry room, or other space you can leave her in, that would be ideal for the next few weeks while she adjusts. Feed her in there, and make it comfortable with her bed and toys. Dogs can sometimes take up to a month to adjust to any sort of transition. Just support her the best you can during this time. She will start to come around!

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Question
Mamash
Belgian Malinois
2 Years
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Question
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Mamash
Belgian Malinois
2 Years

She’s never been indoors loves to have a lot of attention, smell, bite, cuddle and explore

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
708 Dog owners recommended

Hello Christopher, I would begin with the same types of things you would work on with a puppy - crate training, potty training, basic commands like Leave It, Place, Sit, and Down, and a regular routine for pup. Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for her. Make sure the crate is only big enough for her to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that she can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take her potty less frequently. I suggest taking her potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if she has an accident sooner) or freedom out of the crate, return her to the crate while her bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since her last potty trip. When you have to go off she should be able to hold her bladder in the crate for 5-7 hours - less at first while she is getting used to it and longer once she is accustomed to the crate. Only have her wait that long when you are not home though, take her out about every 3 hours while home. You want her to get into the habit of holder her bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever she feels the urge and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If she is not already used to a crate expect crying at first. When she cries and you know she doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give her a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help her adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. Down https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Sit https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit Stay https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Place https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Out - which means leave the area https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It - leave it method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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