Why My Dog Plays Inside But Not Outside? [Dog’s Behavior Explained]

Why my dog plays inside but not outside

Tamed all around the world, dogs are friendly and cute creatures. They are loyal and can make you feel complete in an instant.

Have you ever wondered while playing with your dog, why it doesn’t go out of the house to play? Or why it doesn’t fetch the ball or respond to your commands the same way, once you’re outside?

There can be various reasons for such unusual behavior of a dog.

It would behave like this because maybe it finds things that are outside, more interesting than playing frisbee. To know more about why your dog plays inside but not outside, stay tuned.

Reasons Why A Dog Wouldn’t Play Outside:

1. A Dog’s Curiosity To Explore:

Nature has deeply intertwined curiosity into a dog’s nature. Dogs are distinguishably gifted by nature when it comes to senses. The curiosity in a dog’s nature is a fine blend of all three powerful senses i.e., smell, sight, and hearing.

They see the world in a much more detailed way and can sense much more then other species can.

While being inside the home, a dog has little to do. However, when released outside, a dog experiences a stern biological desire to explore, gather, and figure out new things.

Particularly, tamed dogs find the world outside too magnificent and colorful to let go. This keeps them from playing conventionally as they do inside the home.

2. Provoked Olfactory Sense:

Humans see the world with their eyes, but it might not be right to say the same about dogs. Being the strongest at smelling, dogs live and feel the world through their olfactory sense.

When in an open environment, a dog is subjected to a million kinds of scents (many of which we can’t even feel).

As compared to the 6 million receptor sites in a human nasal cavity, a dog is naturally gifted with 100 million receptor sites.

From the pleasant fragrance of roses to the smell of rotten apples, some 15 miles away, a dog’s brain can interpret them all.

In such a state, a dog is most likely to ignore any play invites by his owner. On the contrary, some smells such as ‘Citrus odors’ disturb dogs to the extent that they might repel any playful move.

While humans perceive the world with their eyes, hands, and nose, dogs invest most of their brain powers to comprehend smells. The same reason highly contributes to your dog being less playful when outside the home.

3. Stressful Environment:

Despite all the luxuries you set up inside your home for your loved pet, it can still, sometimes, turn out to be stressful for your dog.

It can be because of the emotional energy of your dog that can amplify multifold while being indoor. There can be times when your dog acts as a couch potato, while the other times, it might serve as a hyper pup willing to take your home by a storm.

In either case, a dog has too much energy trapped inside that needs to come out one way or the other. Given their curious nature, dogs love to explore new things.

With little venturesome stuff inside the home, the only way a dog can release his energy is by playing. That’s one primary reason why a dog would be more willing to play while being inside.

While when ranting outside the home, the same energy registers out by exploring new things, places, and smells.

4. Fears And Phobias Among Dogs:

Sometimes, the reason for your dog being indifferent to your playful requests can be fear-driven. Similar to humans, dogs can develop fears and phobias to different events, identities, and sounds.

The occurrence or presence of these might overpower their playful nature and keep them from active participation in outdoor fun. Some of these include:

Noise Phobia:

Dogs can feel fearful of certain noises, mainly thunderstorms, fireworks, vacuum cleaners, heavy vehicles, etc. Upon hearing either of these, they can tremble and even become lost.

Strangers’ Fear:

It is pretty common to find your dog scared of a new face. While being outdoor, a dog encounters several unfamiliar faces that can make him feel uncomfortable enough to play.

Road Trip Phobia:

Dogs that are not much exposed to cars can feel terrified when traveling in one. Also, watching a car moving too fast can lead to stress among dogs, and they might refuse to play.

All these and many other outdoor fears can bar dogs from playing outside. These fears can relate to specific objects like huge construction machines, or very tall buildings.

Or they might emanate from certain smells and visuals. In either case, such fear or phobia, when provoked, it can leave dogs trembled and drained. They will then most likely turn down any playing requests.

5. Chasing Your Dog Outside

While you’re playing with your dog inside your house, it won’t mind you chasing it or throwing things for it to catch. Homes have a sense of security and a family-love feeling in the air that dogs familiarize with, pretty soon.

However, once you’re outside the house, a dog’s mind would interpret things differently. Even though it is with its owner, but the homey sense of security is no more there. In some rare cases, dogs might perceive you running after it to harm it in some way or the other.

Such a situation is most likely to take place if you have lately adopted a dog that is, yet, less familiar with you. Chase with a dog should never be about you chasing your dog, rather your dog chasing you. No wonder dogs love when their owners chase them.


Although dogs are friendly creatures, they too prefer a bit of space. Once outside with your dog, try to play with it, if it wills. Or let him roam around for a while, otherwise.

Remember to keep a close watch at it so that it doesn’t swallow something poisonous or pulls off some dangerous stunt.

Also, in case you observe an unnatural behavior of your dog, try to identify the root cause. Talking to a veterinarian can help you learn more about your dog’s behavior.

Lastly, the rules of independence and freedom do not apply to humans only but every creature out there. Never force your pets for something they are not up for.

Only love, care, and reasonable training can gear them up for any desired activity of yours.