Can Labradoodles Live Outside?

Labradoodles can live outdoors in many parts of the world. But there are a number of important things to consider before you set your dog up with outdoor sleeping arrangements. 

In Can Labradoodles Live Outside, we look at how to set up an outside kennel. And at the pros and cons of letting your curly friend live outdoors. 

Contents

Weather conditions

Large dogs with a decent coat are pretty resistant to cold. If you have a full sized Labradoodle – so that’s a Labrador X Standard Poodle, they will cope with the temperature outdoors provided it doesn’t drop more than a few degrees below freezing at night  And provided their sleeping accommodation is dry and free from draughts. 

If you live in a zone where temperatures at night frequently drop more than five degrees below freezing, your dog may suffer. Especially if they sleep alone. 

Remember that rate of heat loss also depends on the ratio between body volume, and body surface area. In a small dog surface area volume ratio is greater and predisposes them to heat loss.  In a pile of dogs that are snuggled up together the surface area of the ‘pile’ is smaller in relation to the canine ‘body mass’. And dogs stay warmer for longer. 

Kennel set up

To keep a dog safe and healthy an outdoor kennel needs to consist of a covered, escape proof run. One with a dry, raised, draught-free sleeping area inside it.  

The sides of the run need to be seven feet high for a standard Labradoodle. Dog-proof fencing , dug in and turned under at the bottom if placed straight onto soil. A concrete base is a much better option as it can be cleaned. And it stops dogs digging and getting filthy or eating stones. If you have a concrete base it needs to slope so that you can disinfect and hose the surface. You also need to think about where the waste from washing the surface will drain to. 

If you have an earth base, it needs to be a big area. And you need to be willing to move the entire run to a new area when it starts to get smelly. 

Beds and sleeping

Sleeping quarters can be wood or brick with raised wooden beds. You need to be able to access the sleeping quarters and stand up in them, in order to clean them properly. A concrete or tiled floor is best.  Some people have success with strong polyurethane barrels laid on their sides on a wooden platform. These can be lifted down and washed out from time to time.

Don’t be tempted to leave the run open to the elements. The run should be covered to protect your Labradoodle from extremes of weather such as hot sun, heavy rain and wind. And big enough so that the dog can use the bathroom well away from their sleeping area.

A door gives you access to the sleeping area to clean it and to release the dog. This should be separate from the door that gives the dog access to their run. Otherwise your Labradoodle will have to walk through (and jump around in because they are excited to see you ) their own mess you let them out. And will walk mess into their sleeping area. As you can see, it’s not a simple matter.

Passer-by syndrome

You’ll need to locate the kennel and run where your dog cannot see strangers walking past.  If you value your peace and quiet. Otherwise your dog will most likely get ‘passer-by syndrome.’  That’s where the dog runs up and down the fence barking furiously at everyone that passes. 

This happens because passers-by, have a habit of passing on by.  But the dog doesn’t know that their intention was always to move on. The dog naturally barks as they appear, and the disappearance of the stranger reinforces the barking. So that the dog barks more quickly and enthusiastically next time. As the dog’s belief that he has supernatural powers to get rid of strangers grows, the barking gets louder and more hysterical. You won’t be able to ignore it. And neither will your neighbors. 

Can Labradoodles live outside alone?

Kennelled dogs can suffer very much from loneliness. Their family are not under the same pressure to get home or provide a dog walker’s visit for them as pet parents whose dogs are indoors. Many Labradoodles inherit their Labrador parent’s need for companionship. These are often very sociable dogs that crave human company. They will howl for hour after hour if deprived of that. 

If you are leaving your dog home alone indoors at the moment and are thinking of kennelling the dog so that they have opportunity for comfort breaks, think carefully about whether or not this is the right solution. If there is any way at all that you can have someone visit the dog and take them out or play in the yard with them for a while during the day, this really is a much better option. 

Pros of outdoor living

An adult dog should be allowed outside to pee every 4-5 hours. In an emergency your dog might be able to last 7 or even 8 hours. But the chances are they might feel uncomfortable before then. And regularly leaving your dog for this long could put them at risk of bladder infections.

Sadly, far too many people leave dogs home alone too long during the day. Often for so long that they suffer painful bladders or end up wetting or soiling the home or their crate. This is very distressing for a clean housetrained dog, and in puppies can quickly lead to long term soiling problems. 

So perhaps the main advantage in leaving a dog in a proper kennel with an outdoor run, is that they can take a comfort break while their owners are out at work.  

If you have multiple dogs, so that they have company, and the weather is fine, they may enjoy being outdoors during the day together while you are at work, especially in the summer. 

Cons of outdoor living

Unfortunately the list of reasons not to keep a dog in an outdoor kennel is somewhat longer

  • Cost and construction
  • Vulnerability to theft
  • Undiagnosed illness
  • Hygiene 
  • Loneliness

Cost and construction

A proper kennel doesn’t come cheap. Unless you have an old barn you can convert, buying or even building, a decent kennel will set you back hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars. Skimping on materials tends to create problems down the road and it really isn’t worth it. 

Vulnerability to theft

Dog thefts have increased over the years. And the demand for dogs has increased faster in many areas, than the supply. As Labradoodles grow in popularity, theft becomes more likely. In many cases it’s a lot easier to steal a dog from an outdoor kennel than from inside a secure home. Even with kennel locks, there isn’t much you can do to protect your dog from determined thieves armed with bolt cutters

Can Labradoodles live outside and stay healthy?

It’s a fact of life that dogs get sick. And sometimes they get sick at night. If you cannot easily hear your dog during the night, that’s not a good thing. So unless your kennel is right under your bedroom window, you’ll need to set up some kind of monitoring system. And bring any dog that looks off color at bedtime, into the house for the night. Not always straightforward if you are not set up for it. 

Hygiene in outdoor kennels

Dogs get bored during the day. Any kind of loose bedding tends to be dragged out of the sleeping quarters and carried around the run where it may come into contact with faeces or urine. And then carried back into the sleeping quarters again. If you bed your dogs down on straw, female dogs will pee in it. And with the best will in the world it is hard to keep a kennel as clean as your home. This is an especially key consideration with long coated and curly coated dogs, as they tend to get messy and matted very easily. 

Loneliness

On top of all those factors the main problem with kennelling is loneliness. If the dog is only in the kennel while you are at work and brought indoors immediately you arrive home, then your Labradoodle may cope with life outdoors. But it’s very easy to forget about a dog that is kennelled outside. Many kennelled dogs start out with a great deal of input from their owner. But become neglected over time as the pressures of life take over. 

Can Labradoodles live outside?

To sum up, in some areas Labradoodles can live outside. And in some cases, a kennel can be a useful and not unpleasant place for two or three dogs to spend a few hours on a mild or warm day while their owners are out. 

It’s fair to say though, that most kennels are not ideal places for dogs to spend long periods of time, especially only dogs. And most Labradoodles will be happier and safer living indoors with their family.

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