/ Does your dog sleep outside?

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yorkshireman - on 30 Oct 2012
Question for the UKC hive mind - especially for rural folk with dogs.

We've got a Border Collie that's coming up on 2 years old. We only adopted him in April though, and since then he's been sleeping at night in a kind of outhouse building (unheated) attached to the front of our house, where he seems perfectly happy sleeping in a little popup dog crate on a few blankets.

We live in the Alps at 1100m, so its been getting pretty cold lately, we were down to -10 at the weekend so I've brought him inside as its stil around -8 at night now.

Question is, am I worrying unnecessarily or is it a good idea to bring him inside, since its only really going to get colder (we had -25 last winter for several weeks on end). The outhouse is dry and sheltered from the wind, but obviously gets very, very cold. He's on the small side for a Collie (about 13kg) so wouldn't retain heat for as long as a larger dog I guess, but on the other hand they're outdoor working dogs so should be built to be resilient.
Ashley - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:

We have an 18 month old lurcher (saluki cross, he's a rescue dog so don't know what else is in him) and he sleeps on the sofa, he only sleeps on his bed when we have the audacity to keep him up late by watching a film and sitting on the sofa. None of this is really helpful in answering your question but I thought I'd chip in none the less.
Neil Pratt - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:

Our collies sleep inside - one of them has taken up residence under our bed and refuses any comfier alternatives. That said, as long as she doesn't try taking up space on the the bed, I can live with her where she is.

I've noticed when we take ours camping in winter that their main issue seems to be getting insulated from the ground - I tend to carry an old closed cell karrimat for the dogs to sleep on now, and the smaller collie, who'd be about the same size as yours, and who has a short haired coat, tends to need something like an insulated jacket or vest chucked over her if it gets really chilly. Bigger dog is about 18kg and has a much longer double coat, and tends to be fine as long as she's curled up on the mat.

I've heard of one or two occasions where dogs living outside have frozen to death in particularly cold weather, so I'd not be too keen on having a dog outside if the temperature's hitting double figures below zero. Different breeds will have varying tolerance to cold, but I'd imagine a short coated, slim built dog wouldn't be comfortable when it gets very cold, unless you modified the crate with some serious insulation all around to make a 'den' with a warmer micro-climate. If it was me, I think I'd have the dog inside.
PixieNinja - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman: agree with what's on here, also as you haven't had him all that long you can't be sure what he was accustomed to before, no matter what breed. Our dogs are quite happy sleeping on the couch.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to Ashley: Brilliant!
La Shamster on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:

Used to have 3 search dogs (collies and german wire haired pointer) that slept outside in a stone flagged lean to conservatory all through Dartmoor winters no problem.

You'll find their coats adjust to the conditions they live in and mine had lovely winter coats. We did feed them a couple of dobs of butchers mince with their evening meal during the winter as well to help with the quality of their coats.

I've seen mountain dogs in Alpine ski resorts curled up outside when it's snowing happy with their lot.
Ridge - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to Ditch_Jockey:
As noted earlier, a lot depends on the dog. We have a short haired lurcher, (bull terrier/greyhound), and he will feel the cold and start shivering unless he's belting around at full throttle. During the day he's outside in a kennel/run, but in the winter his basket is off the concrete floor on a lump of 4" kingspan, and if it's sub zero we have a pig lamp on in the kennel.
Collies have a much thicker coat, but at the temperatures you're talking about I'd imagine it would be pretty miserable for him.
nniff - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:

When I was a kid, our border collie lived in a wooden kennel outside. It was filled with straw, and if it was cold we would push a big extra armful in. He would block the door up with it when it was very chilly and lived to a ripe old age.

I think the key things were that it was well insulated and draft-free, with a wooden floor (off the ground), wooden walls and roof, with thick roofing felt to keep it dry. It had a relatively small entrance that was offset against one corner, and placed in a sheltered spot out of the wind, where rain couldn't blow in, but where it also caught the sun early.

The kennel was also in view of the front gate and kept burglars away.
arch - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman: If you insulate the outhouse floor and walls really well and put in an heat lamp he should be ok, maybe a coat too. Personally, i'd bring him inside. Our two Lurchers live indoors.
thebrookster on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:

Make sure his bed is capable of being created into a nest (old blankets and pillows are good for that), and the outhouse is both dry and windproof. Have the bed itself lifted of the ground, and make sure that there is a reasonable lip around the bed to prevent drafts (around 6 inches or so).

Set up like that, a collie will be perfectly happy. Whilst people have them as pets (me included) don't forget they are a hardy working dog! Mine have always lived outside (both passed away now regrettably) and lived well into their teens without any problems. Likewise, the local farmers kept all their working dogs outside in similar conditions, again never had a problem. And I lived in the southern Scottish Borders at the time, and it was not unusual to see temperatures dropping into minus double figures, with one winter a few years back sustaining below -25 for over a week!

Ohh, a caveat to that, your dog needs to be fit and healthy! Mine were walked anywhere between 5 and 10 miles a day on week days, and followed me on the mountain bike happily for 20 mile rides at the weekend!
TheDrunkenBakers - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to arch:
> (In reply to yorkshireman) If you insulate the outhouse floor and walls really well and put in an heat lamp he should be ok, maybe a coat too. Personally, i'd bring him inside. Our two Lurchers live indoors.

Agree, too cold where you are. Bring the poor thing in or give it to a loving home where it can be properly cared for.


LastBoyScout on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to TheDrunkenBakers:

> Agree, too cold where you are. Bring the poor thing in or give it to a loving home where it can be properly cared for.

Er, surely if he's asking for advice on whether it'll be too cold for it he's trying to care properly for it?
andyb211 - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman: Curry it! Got a great recipe for collie curry with sultanas and sticky coconut rice!
thebrookster on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to andyb211:
> (In reply to yorkshireman) Curry it! Got a great recipe for collie curry with sultanas and sticky coconut rice!

Have you no shame??

EVERYONE knows that collie should always be stirfried!!
Sean Kelly - on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman: My first dog (Springer) slept outside in the garage for 2 weeks and didn't like it as they are pack animals and want to sleep with the rest of the pack. Since when thay have always slept indoors but downstairs, as I am an alpha dog and get to sleep upstairs. This is important!
Steph-in-the-West on 30 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:
> Question for the UKC hive mind - especially for rural folk with dogs.
>
> We've got a Border Collie that's coming up on 2 years old. We only adopted him in April though,

I'm assuming that if you adopted him he's had a bit of a troubled past and would therefore benefit from quite a bit of major TLC

where he seems perfectly happy sleeping in a little popup dog crate on a few blankets.

How do you know he's "perfectly happy"? Can you hear him through the night if he whines or cries? and how "little" is his pop-up crate? Has he room to stretch out, curl up, lay on his back, change position?

we had -25 last winter for several weeks on end). The outhouse is dry and sheltered from the wind, but obviously gets very, very cold. He's on the small side for a Collie (about 13kg) so wouldn't retain heat for as long as a larger dog I guess, but on the other hand they're outdoor working dogs so should be built to be resilient.

Would you sleep outside in an unheated shelter regularly in -25? One of the basic necessities (Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs) for a living thing is warmth. He's using up loads of energy at night just to maintain his core temperature.
I've 2 Springer Spaniels, both sleep upstairs with me (in their own beds) and if they need to go for a wee during the night, I can let them out, so they don't strain their bladder waiting for morning or upset themselves by weeing in their sleeping area, which yours would do as it can only sleep confined to a "little pop-up crate."
Why did you get his dog? Collies are highly intelligent active animals that need a lot physical exercise and mental stimulation - not to mention love and affection!
Mountain Jedi - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to Steph-in-the-West:
My two spaniels live outside year round. They have an insulated kennel built within a 8x6 shed leading onto a large run. At night they whine at the back door to go to bed so I'm sure they're happy out there. Having two helps as they can curl up and share body warmth. As they get older I may consider a heat mat for them. In my experience its humans that worry about temperature for dogs, as long as they are dry and draught free with an insulated sleeping area they're fine.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to LastBoyScout:
> (In reply to TheDrunkenBakers)
>
> [...]
>
> Er, surely if he's asking for advice on whether it'll be too cold for it he's trying to care properly for it?

Er, read my post again and get the context right. No one suggested he wasnt.

Siward on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to Mountain Jedi: I agree with your comments and your dogs are perhaps not truly sleeping outside- insulation and all. However the evidence seems to be, quite reasonably I think, that dogs that live outdoors live shorter lives.

You wouldn't insist that your elderly grandmother keep her heating turned off after all.
Jamie Simpson on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:

We have an alaska Malamut that can sleep outside in -30, where we live often get temps between -20 to -30, however our dog, tough as she is sleeps inside, this is not because she canīt sleep outside (she often protests and lies in the snow) it is simple to do with we are the flock. When we bought her as a pup we were told by the breeders and other well informed people that as she was an only dog we should keep her in at night with the rest of the flock and not exclude her. Other owners disagree, but dogs are social creatures, in the wild they live in flocks. If we had more than one dog we would let them sleep outside.

About collies, my sister is a sheep farmer on the west coast of scotland and all there 8 or so dogs sleep outside in wooden dog houses. The fur on these dogs is thin and they seem to have very little reserves in the body, compared to the fur and general body composition of our malamute Most people in our area with none polar type dogs keep them inside or in warmed outhouses in the very cold weather.
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Trangia - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:

If dogs can sleep outside, why is it that the moment your back is turned they slink onto the settee next to the radiator in your lounge? :)
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to Trangia:

True enough...although we have underfloor heating downstairs and often the hound settles down on the edge of room (where the water pipes don't reach and floor is cool) next to the door to get a cool draft.

But he also likes the sofa, and loves the fire (for a short time at least)
Mountain Jedi - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to Siward: my elderly grandmother doesn't have fur coat perminently attached......
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to Game of Conkers: Incidentally (as this is a dog thread) my hound is constantly testing my love for him.

This morning (6am) I am in full motorbike attire about to leave for work..and I realise I haven't put the bins out. Bugger. So i nip back in, grab the side gate key, go out the back and open side gate (hound nips out and into front garden)..no bother, front gate is shut I think to myself.

I put wheelie bins out on the street, then go to find the hound in front garden to put him back in house. I thought he had been quiet, and now I see why...he was tucking in to a nice large cat poo. As soon as he saw me he picked up the remainder of the poo in his mouth then went into full play attack stance (hind legs up/front legs down) and teased me into attempting to a)stop him eating shit and b) get him back in house.

Queue comedy seen (for neighbours) of bloke in full motorbike gear/helmet running around a square flower bed chasing a dog thats eating cat crap.

Little fckr. Eventually get him in. Am now sweating profusely and late. Ride bike to work wound up by hound. These types of occurence are reasonably frequent.

He caught a squirrel a couple of days ago as well, had a tustle with it, a lot of leaves in the air then lost it up a tree. Getting very quick for a 6 month old pup. We saw a badger as well on a night time walk, I wouldn't fancy his chances against that, fortunately he didn't give chase. He does dish out way more pleasure than frustration though...so all good.
Mountain Jedi - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to Mountain Jedi:
Also how many dog owners have moulting issues? That the dogs way of telling you they're too warm. Try wearing down jacket and trousers in a centrally heated house ........
yorkshireman - on 31 Oct 2012
Thanks everyone, as usual a real mix of advice. Just to clarify a few things though:

In reply to Steph-in-the-West:
> (In reply to yorkshireman)
> [...]
>
> I'm assuming that if you adopted him he's had a bit of a troubled past and would therefore benefit from quite a bit of major TLC

You assume a lot, but the point of mentioning that was that a) he's fully grown now, but b) we haven't had him during the winter so this is the first time it has come up.

His elderly owner died and he was rehomed via a mutual friend. He wasn't particualrly mistreated, but wasn't exercised or trained enough. We've rectified that now (we both work at home) so we give him a routine, he runs with me every day anywhere between 8 and 20km and gets fed good food recommended by the vet. Apart from uncovering a wasp nest a few weeks ago and getting a few stings, he's been perfectly fit and healthy.

> How do you know he's "perfectly happy"? Can you hear him through the night if he whines or cries? and how "little" is his pop-up crate? Has he room to stretch out, curl up, lay on his back, change position?

OK, I believe he is perfectly happy, in as much as it is ever possible for us to truly know how our pets are feeling. The outhouse is hard to explain, but its fully attached to the house and connects to another building we have. Its very large so he has room to run around (its about 15m x 4m) and his crate is more than large enough for him. If anything its too big.

> I've 2 Springer Spaniels, both sleep upstairs with me (in their own beds) and if they need to go for a wee during the night, I can let them out, so they don't strain their bladder waiting for morning or upset themselves by weeing in their sleeping area, which yours would do as it can only sleep confined to a "little pop-up crate."

I should have been clearer. Its not confined to the crate. It has the run of the outhouse (larger than our 2 bed flat in London used to be), the crate is just a popup kennel type thing made of fabric which he can run in and out of.

> Why did you get his dog? Collies are highly intelligent active animals that need a lot physical exercise and mental stimulation - not to mention love and affection!

As I've mentioned, we live in a small hamlet in the mountains, he gets several hours of walks a day (a one hour minimum run, plus a couple of extra decent walks varying in length depending on the day). Both my wife and I work from home so we interact and stimulate him with training as much as possible and he is rarely left alone for long periods of time.

He's an active, engaged, (seemingly) happy and loved member of our household. Since it got cold. he's been sleeping in the house, the reason I asked the question is because I wanted to know if I was being over-sensitive, but so far I'm playing it safe.

I would like to keep his routine (sleeping in the outhouse) if possible as I think this is better for him - but obviously not at the risk of any physical discomfort.

Tall Clare - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:

FWIW it sounds to me like you're giving your dog the perfect environment in which to flourish, whilst still recognising that he's a dog rather than a child. He sounds like a lucky dog!
Steph-in-the-West on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:
> Thanks everyone, as usual a real mix of advice. Just to clarify a few things though:
>
> In reply to Steph-in-the-West:
> [...]
>
> You assume a lot,

Yes - it seems I did assume rather too much but often gaps in knowledge or information are filled with assumptions and in my case here - wrong ones for which I apologise


> I should have been clearer. Its not confined to the crate. It has the run of the outhouse (larger than our 2 bed flat in London used to be), the crate is just a popup kennel type thing made of fabric which he can run in and out of.

This bit was, in your OP very misleadng which led to my earlier comments re comfort of changing position etc....
It does seem that your dog has a lovely life and is a very lucky pup indeed!!!!!
dilbob on 31 Oct 2012 - host109-152-18-210.range109-152.btcentralplus.com
In reply to Tall Clare: spot on its a dog afterall mine are outside all year round plenty happy just have to be careful them walking on the snow so limited time out...
rockchomper on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:
he sounds a great wee pal, i would have him in any old cold night and perhaps let him party out on the warmer nights. give him an old sleeping bag to get into, my cat loves his...

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