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10 Nov 2004

Labrador's emotions
We have a 2 year old male labrador who is extremely affectionate and well loved in our home. However, although he started out as an 'outside' dog, we can't resist him coming into the house and spending time with us (we all work during the day) until we go to bed when he he is let out to spend the night in his kennel. With winter coming, it will become difficult for us and him to put him outside at night, will he suffer any emotional set backs. The reason we don't want him sleeping in the house we are concerned he may mess at night, although (apart from once when he urinated in the house) he has never messed. Please advise. Can he be trained to sleep on a mat in the kitchen so that he's not wondering around the house during the night and possibly making a nuisance of himself while we sleep?
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Expert
CyberVet
cybervet

01 Jan 0001

Hi Desy
I think it's better for dogs to sleep inside as it makes them feel safe, part of their "pack" and therefore more likely to protect their owners and home. At 2 years old he should be able to make it through the night without messing. Perhaps give him his last meal a bit earlier in the evening and take him out just before you go to bed. You can train him to sleep wherever you want him to sleep, but you will have to prevent him from getting to couches and carpets by barricading him at first. Baby gates or cardboard boxes are useful to close off areas without closing doors. If he is going to sleep in a kennel during winter you will have to make sure he's warm and dry. A few layers of wads of newspaper, carpeting, old blankets or cushions will be ok, but his kennel can also be insulated with cardboard or even heated with an infra-red lamp or panel heater. Make sure the wires are not near where can chew them.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil
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