The amount of time your dog spends indoors or outdoors is to some extent your personal choice. The most important factor is that your dog has access to regular exercise and is maintained in a safe and healthy environment. Ideally, your dog will benefit from having the best of both worlds -- a safe inside home environment paired with outside supervised play and exercise.
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Size and Breed
Small dogs and toy breeds are usually very adaptable to full-time life indoors. In fact, many owners choose small-stature dogs if they live in apartments or high-rise condos. On the other hand, large-breed dogs bred for work, like shepherds, or for hunting, like retrievers, do better when they have the opportunity to run and exercise in the outdoors. Ensure they don't roam free, get into traffic, destroy property or get into altercations with other animals.
Time and Attention
If you're somebody who is frequently home and can provide your indoors-only dog with regular attention, an indoor life supplemented with leashed walks or supervised outside play time and exercise is a fine compromise. If you are frequently away from home, your indoor dog might be better served if you hire a dog walker for walks outside, or employ the use of a doggy day care center that can provide enrichment, exercise and interaction with other animals indoors and out.
Indoors-only dogs don't typically have the opportunity to become socialized to other animals and to people unless the owner makes an effort to encourage these interactions. You should make the effort to schedule doggy play dates, take your pup to a dog park or on walks, or otherwise socialize him so he is well-rounded and tolerant. Though he leads a sheltered life, he'll still learn how to behave appropriately in the company of others.
Inside dogs often lack stimulation and may become bored as a result. This can lead to separation anxiety or destructive behavior. If your dog is frequently inside, give him something to keep him entertained like an interactive or food-filled toy. You might consider a companion animal to keep him company.
Healthy and well-adjusted dogs typically have access to a comfortable, warm and safe inside environment supplemented with regular, safe outside time. Consider a fenced yard or a dog run that will allow your pooch to enjoy the outdoors in a controlled way. This allows you to keep your dog primarily inside while giving him the opportunity for a change of environment as well as outside interaction.
By Lisa McQuerrey
About the Author Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.