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Can Schnauzers Live & Sleep Outside? 7 Dangers + 7 Tips

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There’s no question, schnauzers love being outside. However, do they have what it takes to be an outdoor dog? Is it safe for a schnauzer to stay outside all the time or is it dangerous for their health and overall well being?

Can Schnauzers Be Outdoor Dogs:

It’s strongly discouraged for schnauzers to be forced to stay outdoors all day and night. Schnauzers love to be outside but there are many risks associated with never allowing them inside, such as, emotional trauma, extreme weather, other animals, and creating destructive behavior.

In this post you’ll discover 7 of the largest risks associated with having a schnauzer be an outdoor dog as well as helpful tips to keep your pup safe if they must stay outside.

Let’s jump right in with the 1st risk, other animals.

7 Dangers Of a Schnauzers Being An Outside Dog

1) Other Animals

Depending on where you live, the other animals your schnauzer may encounter will vary.

If you live more in the country, there may be wolves, coyotes, or other potential threats your pup may come in contact with.

If you live more in a suburban neighborhood they may encounter chipmunks, squirrels, and other rodents.

While the danger of your schnauzer coming in contact with wolves or coyotes is rather obvious.

The danger of them coming in contact with many different rodents isn’t as obvious.

But the real danger is two fold.

One, the potential diseases that they might be carrying that your dog could get from putting them in their mouth/eating them.

Two, the behavior it trains your pup to become used to.

If they kill many different rodents and critters they will likely become dangerous to all smaller animals.

And a dog having a ‘killer instinct’ really isn’t good for a domesticated pet.

2) Too Much Isolation Can Be Traumatic

While it’s unavoidable that your schnauzer will experience some isolation due to your work schedule.

Too much isolation can be very traumatic if they’re forced to live outside.

This is because dogs are very social animals.

Their ancestors survived in the wild with a pack and instinctively want to be around as well as sleep with their pack.

If they’re not able to do this they will feel like they’ve been kicked out of the pack which makes them vulnerable.

The extra isolation could be even more impactful for your schnauzer because of their strong desire to bond with their human.

This comes from their hunting and guard dog background.

Naturally, their bond with one person in particular becomes very strong and if they’re neglected it could cause a great deal of emotional trauma.

And wherever trauma takes place, severe anxiety and/or insecurities are soon to follow.

Which can then create behaviors like excessive barking, digging or destruction in general, attempts to escape, or coprophagia (eating their poop).

If you start to notice these types of behaviors it’s likely indicating they’re moving into an unhealthy mental state.

If your schnauzer being an outside dog is the only option for you it’s important to not deprive them of social interaction.

3) Disruptive Neighbor

Schnauzers are known for having a deep, loud bark for their size.

And if they feel threatened or are unhappy about their situation outside, they’ll make it known.

Which could lead to howling, barking, lots of whining, or even digging at the fence in an attempt to escape.

All of these have the potential to be quite bothersome for your neighbors.

And if it goes on for too long, it can hurt the relationship you have with your neighbors. They might begin to feel like you aren’t being considerate of their living situation.

Depending on how long it goes on, they might become frustrated that you aren’t doing anything to stop your schnauzer from being loud or destructive.

So if your schnauzer really doesn’t like being an outside dog and makes it known, you’re at risk of being the noisy/disruptive neighbor. Which could harm the relationships you have with them.

4) Can Create Destructive Behavior

Digging, self harm, attempting to escape, excessive pacing or licking, these are all destructive behaviors that your schnauzer may develop.

If they’re bored, feeling lonely or depressed, or have too much energy, they may act out in different ways.

Saying that these types of behaviors are harmful for your pup is obvious, but it’s also harmful to your yard.

And if you value the condition of your grass, garden or fence line, they’re at risk if your pup stays outside 24/7.

5) No Protection From Noise

A little noise can be a good thing.

Sometimes having the T.V or radio on a low volume can help a dog rest peacefully.

But, when they’re outdoors 24/7, all kinds of different (and loud) noises can happen.

And many can be much louder than a dog is comfortable with and may even frighten them.

Different things like construction, sirens, thunderstorms, or loud music can be quite stressful for a dog.

Their hearing is far better than ours.

Hundreds of times better if you can believe it.

Which means what you think is loud, your schnauzer likely finds unbearable.

And if they don’t have anywhere they can go to escape the noise, this can be harmful to your pup mentally.

It could cause them anxiety, make them unable to sleep or nap, or make them want to excessively bark & howl.

All of which aren’t healthy for your schnauzer if they last too long.

6) Trouble Dealing With The Weather

Moderate weather isn’t an issue.

But depending on the season and time of day, the weather can become extreme in both directions, hot or cold.

And without proper shelter from certain weather conditions, your schnauzer will be at risk.

In the summer, dog’s have more trouble regulating their body temperature because they don’t sweat as easily as humans do.

Which means if they don’t have shade they can rest in, enough water or a cool breeze, they may overheat in the midst of summer.

When it comes to winter they’re at risk of hypothermia if they don’t have a safe place to get away from the cold.

Also, if they don’t have a place to rest that’s dry during a rainstorm they would become extremely uncomfortable and potentially get an infection.

You can imagine the effects of being cold and wet without the ability to go somewhere dry or warm.

The weather will be your schnauzers biggest challenge if they’re an outside dog.

It’s important they have some sort of shelter outside that they can use to get away from the weather.

7) Won’t Notice Injuries Until They’re More Severe

When your pup is inside with you all the time, you can notice minor differences in their behavior.

You can notice if they’re chewing on one side of their mouth, slightly limping, or can feel a bump when petting/cuddling with them.

Which means you’ll be more likely to catch any injury early and take them to the vet to get better.

When they live outside, since you won’t be spending as much time with them, you may not notice little injuries early on.

And only start to notice them when they become so severe that your pups behavior has started to change more noticeably.

Unfortunately this means that some injuries/diseases/conditions might get to later stages before you’ve noticed and taken them to the vet.

Which is never good.

7 Tips To Help Your Schnauzer Safely Stay Outside

While it’s not encouraged to keep your schnauzer outside all the time, here are some tips to help them safely be an outdoor dog.

1) Make Sure They Get Lots Of Exercise

Ensuring your schnauzer gets enough exercise everyday is still super important.

Schnauzers need at least 60 minutes of exercise every day to remain fit and healthy.

Without this exercise, they’re much more likely to behave destructively or excessively noisey.

It’s not enough to assume that since they’re outside all the time that they’ll get enough exercise because they are free to roam/run as they please.

It’s still important to take them for walks where they can get extended periods of good physical activity.

You could also make daily games of fetch a habit or get them toys that keep them moving and entertained.

Exercise is always important!

2) A Dog House Is Essential

If you want your schnauzer to be an outside dog, getting them a dog house is extremely important.

They need something to block the elements.

Whether it’s blocking a chilling wind in the winter, giving them coverage when it’s snowing/raining, some place dry to rest while it’s wet out, or shade when it’s too warm outside.

If they aren’t allowed to go inside to shelter themselves from various weather conditions, a dog house is essential.

Important note: There are many ways to help heat a dog house to ensure it’s warm enough during winter months and at night.

Related Reading: Best Outdoor Dog Houses: Reviews with Comparison

3) Clothes Are Worth Trying

If you live in an area where the winters get brutally cold or nights are noticeably colder than the days, you might want to try getting your schnauzer a jacket/sweater.

If you decide you’d like to try getting them a jacket, it’s important to watch them with it on for the first few hours.

You want to make sure it’s not causing them any discomfort, not choking them, or they don’t go anywhere it could get caught and choke them.

The last thing you’d want is for their clothes to do more harm than good.

Also, clothes would always be in addition to a dog house, not instead of.

4) Keep Your Neighbors In ‘The Know’

Deciding that you want your schnauzer to be an outdoor dog is a big decision that will likely affect more than just yourself.

Whether it’s barking, howling, whining or digging under the fence, your neighbors will be impacted as well while your pup gets used to their outside environment.

That’s why it’s a good idea to let your neighbors know about your decision.

When you do this you’re showing them empathy as well as courtesy.

You’re letting them know that you’re aware they will likely be impacted as well and that you’re actively working on training your pup to be well behaved outside.

If you’re upfront about what you’re doing, while they may not be happy about it, they’ll likely be more understanding because of this gesture.

5) Seek Help From a Professional

Contacting someone who has years of experience in dog behavioral training is never a bad idea.

Having your schnauzer be an outside dog is likely something completely new for you that requires training (to be done properly).

This is why consulting with a professional is beneficial.

It’ll help you make the right decisions from the start as opposed to learning the hard way through trial and error.

Also, speaking with a vet about your decision can help let you know your dog’s limits.

That way you’re better able to ensure they stay happy and healthy while being an outside dog.

6) Cameras Can Be Helpful

A little bit of added surveillance isn’t a bad idea if your pup will be outside all the time.

This way you’ll be able to see if they’re doing anything harmful to your property or to themselves.

As well as what might be triggering the behavior.

If you’re not sure why your dog is acting a certain way it makes it much more difficult to stop the behavior.

Which is why cameras can be quite helpful to ensure your pup isn’t misbehaving while outside.

7) Give Them Environmental Training

While outside, your schnauzer will be exposed to many different kinds of environments.

And if certain conditions are more common it’s best you help train them to be able to handle these situations rather than leave them to figure it out by themselves.

Whether it’s what to do when it gets dark and colder at night, or how to be okay with loud noises and not feel stressed out.

The more you can do to help your pup be more comfortable in conditions they’re more likely to encounter, the better they’ll handle it on their own.

Final Thoughts

Unless you live on a large piece of farm land and allow your dog to come inside when they choose, your schnauzer really shouldn’t be an outside dog.

Your pup is long removed from their wolf ancestors and aren’t equipped to live outside 24/7 and remain physically & mentally healthy.

There are far too many cons and very few pros (if any) that come from a dog living outside in a small backyard.

If you aren’t interested in letting your dog inside with your family you shouldn’t get one.

They’re very social animals that don’t do well with isolation.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Can Schnauzers Be Left Alone? (Quick Answers + Tips)

Are Schnauzers Easy To Train? The Truth + Tips & Tricks

Do Schnauzers Make Good Guard Dogs? What To Expect


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