Warning: This is a rant post. I’m sure I’ll get some comments that strongly disagree, but I digress. If you don’t like rants, click away. I’ll see you on another day 🙂

Recently, a story came out about a Great Pyrenees mix that froze to death in the owner’s backyard. I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen stating, “See, double coated breeds shouldn’t be left out either!”

Great Pyrenees in the snow
Atka enjoying a massive snow pile 🙂

Now, I’m not advising to leave your dog outside just because he has a double coat. This story is beyond horrific and I’m heartbroken to see this happen to a dog. I’m saying to look at this story as more than just the dog froze to death.

Look at the picture of the dog. Does he look like he is well-taken care of? Does he look like he had a person that loved him unconditionally?

No. The “owner” has already been charged with animal cruelty twice.

While the article states he’s a Great Pyrenees mix, there’s no way to tell the dog’s actual coat type – especially with all those mats. In order for a double-coated breed’s coat to function effectively, it should be taken care of at mat-free. The insulating undercoat does just that – insulates the dog from the elements. How can it do that if it’s a matted mess?

It can’t.

Great Pyrenees were bred to do a job: guard livestock. The pyr would not be a very good livestock guardian if he came into the house when it got cold. That’s why they have a very thick undercoat.

Once again, I’m not suggesting that a pyr should be left out just because of the double coat. Responsible owners of LGDs ALWAYS have shelter available for their dog. It may be a warm barn outside, but it is a place for the dog to retreat and escape the elements.

For the most part, Great Pyrenees LOVE the cold. Mauja and Atka absolutely, positively will not come inside, regardless of the temperature. We’ve seen temperatures in the negatives with an even colder windchill and I still have to go outside and physically bring them in. They have zero interest in coming into the house. When they are inside, they are pawing at the door asking to go back out.

Many dogs do not have a thick undercoat and should not be left out in these frigid temperatures at all. Their bodies were not meant to handle the weather.

Many double-coated dogs are not “left outside”. After 15 minutes of the owner trying to get the dog’s fluffy butt inside, the owner finally gave up and let the dog do what he wanted. He chose to be outside.

Responsible owners ensure their dog has proper shelter from the elements. Crap owners leave their dog outside without shelter and completely unprotected. Responsible owners allow their dogs to go out if they want but monitor them to ensure safety. Crap owners force their dog outside when he obviously wants to be inside.

Situations like this are horrible and my heart hurts every time I hear about them. However, please stop condemning people that allow their double-coated breed to choose where he wants to be. If the dog is happy and monitored, that’s all that should matter.

20 comments on “Not All Dogs Want to be Inside”

  1. Don’t think I saw that story, but what you’re saying makes sense. Everyone’s situation is different. My dog is just a big baby and hates being out in the cold or rain. I’m glad we don’t have snow here.

  2. I’m with you 100% on this.

    I wrote a post (it’s getting a lot of hits lately; I’m kinda concerned that so many people are asking the question) about whether it’s okay for a dog to sleep outside. In it, I identified 5 things a dog needs to live outdoors. Obviously the person who killed her dog through her negligence did not provide basic care.

    At the risk of being too self-promotional, you’d find my post here: http://www.somethingwagging.com/ok-for-dogs-to-sleep-outside/

    I’m astounded at how well Honey tolerates the cold. I never would have expected it of a golden retriever. But I’ve never seen her anything but exuberant in the cold–even when it was in the double digits below 0.

    But she’d never thrive sleeping outdoors because she NEEDS human company. Guard dogs sometimes meet their need for companionship by being with the animals in their charge.

    Every dog is different–even with in a particular breed. And it’s the responsibility of smart and loving people to make sure their dogs get the conditions they need to thrive.

  3. Not to start a huge argument or anything but “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”. I personally don’t believe in having outside dogs, unless they are working dogs and when working dogs get cold they can cuddle with the sheep for warmth. Just because they want to be outside, doesn’t mean they should stay outside. I know you are a responsible owner, though. So I’m not trying to insult you or anything!

    I used to live down the street from a Great Pyr who was strictly an outdoor dog. He was cold. He only had a patio for shelter and no other animals to cuddle with to keep warm. The patio was not enclosed, just covered over the top. It was so sad seeing him snuggling with their front door and shivering. He desperately wanted to be inside with his family. It was incredibly depressing.

    • I mentioned that exact point in my post. There’s a difference between putting your double-coated dog outside and your dog WANTING to be outside. I’d much prefer Mauja and Atka inside with me, but if they want out, they go out. When they want in, they come in. They are monitored to ensure their safety. That’s what should be done. Unless harm will come to them, I will never force Mauja and Atka inside. To them, that’s just as bad as some dogs being stuck outside.

      That’s terrible about the pyr and exactly what I mentioned about crap owners.

      • The thing about them “WANTING” to be outside is that there’s no way that dogs know what is best for themselves. It’s our job as the human, like you said to monitor that and make sure they are safe. Zoe and Phoenix love running around the park and they can do so safely without jackets as long as it’s above 45 degrees and as long as they stay running. If they stand still for any length of time to eat grass they freeze. Anything below 45 and they have to wear their coats. It’s my job to make sure they stay warm and safe. It’s like a toddler wanting to eat all the candy.. Just because they want to doesn’t mean it will be good for them and it’s our job to make sure they are okay. If they are fine and happy then I guess it’s okay as long as they are able to get warm somehow. I just don’t agree with outdoor dogs, I really feel like dogs are family members and they should be inside with us, especially when it’s freezing out.

        • Trust me. I would much prefer that Mauja and Atka were inside snuggling on the couch with me all the time, but they’d hate it. They are indoor dogs, but when we are home they like to be outside. They’re not allowed out when we’re not home. Mauja and Atka are family, but if they want to play outside in the evening, they can do that. They’re our babies and we would do absolutely anything for them. I won’t force them inside if they’re safe. Also, they look for shade in 45 degrees. It was 20 degrees the other day and they went into the shade, sprawled out, and took a nap. They never curled into a ball. They stayed stretched out so their bellies could feel the cool ground beneath them. Again I say, if they are safe, then they can be outside. A kid eating candy all day is not safe. A dog with a thick double coat and thick paw fur hanging outside for a few hours is safe. There’s a huge difference.

  4. Great post! Since we don’t have a fence or any area to leave our dogs off leash, they don’t have the opportunity to stay outside. Our border collie and our GSD mix love to be outside. Now, they would not choose to stay out for hours, I’m sure. Our Pittie, however, does not like to be outside. He hates the cold and snow. In fact, he will “hold it” for hours and hours and hours before I can even get him out long enough to do his business. So if he won’t go out, I don’t force him. I learned that if I force him he won’t go anyway and he shuts down. That seems cruel to me. So I don’t do it. I think you can tell when someone loves and cares for their dog. And that’s what it’s about. Dogs are as individual as humans. My husband tolerates cold very well. I do not. He wears a light jacket unless it’s in single digits. I bundle up with coat, gloves, and hat at 40 degrees.

  5. I love the video. The Pyrs just look at you like you are stupid when asked if they want to come inside. I get the same look all the time.

    My Pyr is the same way. He wants to go make snow angels and mark his territory in the yard for an hour. When he is done he sleeps on a mat on a covered porch. We have to bribe him with a milkbone to get him in the house.

    He also has a thick undercoat and topcoat and can stand in the rain or snow for hours and not get wet.

    Also, where we live there are a lot of feral cats and they seem to survive and thrive no matter how cold it gets. But they are used to living outside.

  6. I missed that story but I totally relate to what you’re saying. My Husky loves to be outside. She’d be in her glory with blizzard Jonas! I wouldn’t be able to get her inside either! She even likes to lay outside in the hot sun. Her thick double undercoat protects against both cold & hot weather. Sometimes I have to drag her back inside LOL!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  7. I have northern breed mixes. I am thankful everyday for my walkout basement and dog door. Otherwise, I’d be dragging them in, only to let them back out five minutes later. All. The. Time.

  8. I currently have six Great Pyrenees. 5 of them live outside, and 1, my Service Dog, stays inside at night, and when-ever she desires to come inside, during the day. The 5 Pyrs that live outside full time, have MASSIVE coats. I don’t mean extremely long, I mean EXTREMELY THICK. They have no idea what cold is. They all have very good shelters than can retreat to, if they want. Shelters at least a foot deep in dry shavings, and with blankets, sleeping bags, and dog beds on top. For the outside Pyrs, the colder it gets, the happier they are. We lived in the high mountain desert of Idaho, where it was common for it to be 20 or 30 BELLOW zero for several weeks on end, and never above freezing, for months. Sleep inside, with warm bedding, and cuddled next to warm goats? No thanks, the snow is AWESOME! My inside Pyr (who spends large amounts of time outside) has a much less thick coat. We only heat our house to 65 , so it’s not like she’s in a blazing house house. Even she never gets cold (and I check too). Sometimes in the house, at a “blazing” 65 degrees, she’ll pant, because it’s too warm. I really worry that morons will pass laws about all dogs being taken inside, and only allowed out a few hours. Then what? The coyotes come eat all my sheep and goats, and my Pyrs are utterly miserable? How ironic would it be to have to bring dogs in by law in the winter, and need to run an A/C unit for them, to keep them comfortable enough?

  9. If someone wants their dog inside, the dog should be inside. If someone wants their dog outside, the dog should be outside. Not every dog that goes outside is neglected just as not every dog that goes inside is treated well. It depends on the owner & it depends on the dog. There is no right or wrong answer.

  10. i have an eleven year old shepherd retriever mix. about nine months ago, after livnig inside my house with me for a year and a half (i adopted her as a senior) she decided she wanted to stay outside. when i cajole her to come inside for the night after our walk, she paces the house, pants and seems very anxious. what do you think is going on? she has a thick coat but i still worry about her staying out on a couch on my screened in porch as the winter has started and it can get down to 25 degrees presently. when i go get her inside, she walks around with her tail between her legs!! all my dogs have always slept inside and she used to be inside all day while i was at work, and then we would take our walks and play outside and then come back in for the night what do i do?

  11. It’s that time of year again: when my facebook is flooded with posts by people threatening to steal people’s dogs that have been “left out” if they find them. So. Thank you for your rant.

  12. Good grief! Bring your dogs INSIDE at night!! I have a Pyr and yes, he loves the cold and snow but I won’t let him stay outside for more than 30 mins when it gets below 30 degrees. If you’re not willing to share your home with your dog then don’t get a dog! I think posts like these are dangerous because it doesn’t matter how many caveats you put in here, it still reinforces bad dog owners beliefs that dogs can be left chained up outside in all kinds of weather.

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