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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our 8-month old Cockapoo, Bodie, spends a lot of his day outside in the garden, with lots of space and a kennel for shelter. He doesn't have free run of the house when he is inside - he can be in the utility room with a stair gate, or in his crate in the kitchen. He figured out a while ago how to open the outside door of the utility room and let himself in, so we have to lock it when he's outside (otherwise the door will be wide open when he lets himself in!). The trouble is that he scratches around the door handle with all of his attempts to open it and I'd like to find a way to discourage him from doing this. I can't really reward him when he stops, as I'm not outside with him and, if I am, he doesn't try to open the door! If we let him in, he's usually whining and looking for attention so it's kind of a case of 'let me in so that I can go back out again'!

I worry that he's looking for company and is suffering from separation anxiety outside, but unfortunately it's not practical for us to have him inside all of the time. I work from home and try to go out to him a few times a day, train and play with him and I take him for a 40 min brisk walk every day. My children also play with him after school, so he's not really deprived of company.

Is there anything I can do to discourage the scratching, and/or make him feel happier outside? He has toys, bones, balls, etc to entertain him out there, but he is usually watching the doors and windows for us to come back outside. :(
 

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Our 8-month old Cockapoo, Bodie, spends a lot of his day outside in the garden, with lots of space and a kennel for shelter. He doesn't have free run of the house when he is inside - he can be in the utility room with a stair gate, or in his crate in the kitchen. He figured out a while ago how to open the outside door of the utility room and let himself in, so we have to lock it when he's outside (otherwise the door will be wide open when he lets himself in!). The trouble is that he scratches around the door handle with all of his attempts to open it and I'd like to find a way to discourage him from doing this. I can't really reward him when he stops, as I'm not outside with him and, if I am, he doesn't try to open the door! If we let him in, he's usually whining and looking for attention so it's kind of a case of 'let me in so that I can go back out again'!

I worry that he's looking for company and is suffering from separation anxiety outside, but unfortunately it's not practical for us to have him inside all of the time. I work from home and try to go out to him a few times a day, train and play with him and I take him for a 40 min brisk walk every day. My children also play with him after school, so he's not really deprived of company.

Is there anything I can do to discourage the scratching, and/or make him feel happier outside? He has toys, bones, balls, etc to entertain him out there, but he is usually watching the doors and windows for us to come back outside. :(
Get him a buddy!! He's lonely. :)
 

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Its pretty clear he doesn't want to be alone, so your options, are as already said, get him a buddy, or be outside with him, or let him be inside with you. Dogs depend on human contact, some more than others. As he gets older he may learn to entertain himself better, so then could be left alone more. Eight months is still pretty young.
 

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unfortunately it's not practical for us to have him inside all of the time.
My dogs are inside with me most of the time. Generally, they sleep peacefully at my feet.
Having a dog requires a little flexibility, it is a live creature. I recommend you re-examine your thoughts on practicality and make plans to include him inside with his people. You can train him to stay, and understand that he needs to save rambunctious behavior for outdoors. That will take less time and be less damaging than trying to exclude him.
 

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If you work from home all day, I have to ask why it isn't practical for him to be inside with you?
40 minute walk, plus you visiting him a couple times a day clearly isn't enough for him. What kind of training do you do with him? Is he not allowed inside free because he isn't housetrained? Have you considered tethering him near you?
 

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Why did you get a dog if you don't want it inside? They are social creatures and it's cruel to be leaving him out there so much. Perhaps think about re-homing him if you don't have the time or patience to train him to be an indoor dog. What will you do in the winter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all. The reality is that my husband only agreed to us getting a dog if he was not an indoor pet. I made a promise that I would respect that. I know you won't all agree, and I wish it was different, but that's where I am. Having him in the utility (which is right next to the kitchen and our living room) and in a crate in the kitchen was a compromise, but I know he won't agree to him coming in any further. But I really want to try to meet Bodie's needs and keep him happy, so I will just need to spend more time with him. I work upstairs from home, so I can move down to the kitchen and work from there, with him being in his crate. Getting a 2nd dog is a non-runner at the moment.. Bodie is my first dog and he needs a lot of time and training.. I can't imagine adding another one right now.. I think it would be too much for me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ps. I moved downstairs and brought Bodie into the crate beside me.. he just wanted to go back outside again! I'll try him again in a while, but he is chilling out on the deck at the moment. I'm not sure what triggers the scratching from time to time.
 

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I would just ignore the scratching. When he realizes it doesn't get him anywhere, he will stop. Can he see you guys when he's outside? I leave my dogs in the yard a good bit of the day, and if we leave the big door open so they can see inside through the glass door, they'll whine and jump at the door when they see me. But once it's closed they go and sleep or play.
 

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It sounds like you love him very much and are really trying to do everything possible to keep him happy - I commend you for that and I sympathize with your challenge. I think it would kill me to have to leave my dog outside or separated from me when all they want is to be near us.

Is there any chance your husband will fall in love with the dog and soften his rules in the near future? I still worry about winter and rainy days and very hot days. I'm glad you are working so hard to keep the pup happy but don't totally rule out rehoming him if this set up doesn't work - the dogs safety and comfort should be your first priority.
Sue
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm not sure if my husband will change SueandHerZoo tbh. Bodie is much loved by our two children and me, and he gets lots of positive attention and care, so I'd be very reluctant to rehome him, when I wouldn't know how he would be treated. The only challenge he has to deal with here is not having free access to the whole house. I think that if I give him more attention and spend more time with him, this might be ok for him as he gets older and more independent... at least I hope so. He's very loving and adores people, so I think that's why he wants to be inside with us all the time. He sleeps in a lovely toasty bed indoors at night and is always reluctant to get up in the morning, so I feel he's happy there. I'll keep working downstairs with him and hopefully that will help with some of the loneliness. Fingers crossed.
 

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Thanks all. The reality is that my husband only agreed to us getting a dog if he was not an indoor pet.
This is a living creature. It needs to be with its people.
Bodie is much loved by our two children and me
What is this situation teaching them? That one member of the family can decree that a living creature can be treated in a way that deprives it of the very need for companionship that makes a dog lovable? And that you, as their parent, are not challenging this? I bet they are secretly hoping that their father never decrees anything negative about them.
.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Lucille, that's a bit harsh. And I would prefer if you wouldn't question my parenting here. I'm doing my best for Bodie within the compromises that two people agree between each other. I don't go back on promises, but I also care very well for any pets in our care. I have already made changes to keep Bodie happier, and will continue to do so.
 

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@CLBG - Is there a specific reason your husband doesn't want him in the house? Hair, dirt, potty accidents?
I'm just wondering if you could tether him near you/to you so he has a little bit of freedom, but he is still carefully watched by you.
 
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