Dog psychology and habituation
I've got Pink, a shelter dog about whom I've posted previously. Before her surgery (she had over 15 staples) we would go on leash walks. During recovery we only went to the end of the driveway to poop and pee. In the couple of days since the staples have been removed, we have been working up to longer walks again. She seems to enjoy the smells and sounds, and the exercise, and she's good on the leash. She is curious about other dogs and cats, not aggressive, and sleeps kind of a lot. She's 10-12 years old, has only 4 teeth left, and weighs 8 or 9 pounds.
So far, Pink doesn't play. She hasn't responded to squeaky toys, chewy ones, or balls. She's not terribly food oriented, but I'm giving her Wellness brand food, which is healthy and not particularly tasty I would think.
She gets cold easily and we snuggle in a blanket after a walk.
Here's my question: I may have wrongfully assumed, or projected, that Pink would like to go outside and be a real dog and get dirty. She does like it, but her favorite things are to be held and to ride in the car. The only thing she really demands in life is holding.
As an outdoor dog, I don't want her on my furniture or in my bed. Were she totally indoors and pristine, I could let her do these things and be a complete lap dog. I could have her do her business on puppy pads in the clean attached garage. I'd have less work and laundry to do, because I'm always wiping her off and putting some kind of blanket between me and her when I hold her. If she were indoors all the time, she'd never get fleas and the ensuing skin irritation again.
Should I stop taking her out on the leash and just let her be indoors on lap? DH thinks she would really enjoy the yard come summer, and I don't disagree, but I don't think she'll ever like anything as much as being on a lap. Should I indulge her in what she knows she craves, or continue to enable her to explore and adventure?
I would like to have less laundry, etc., but I never imagined that would be possible because I never thought I'd seek out a purse accessory type dog. Pink could be that happily.
She's not yappy, and I absolutely don't want her to get that way. She can handle not being in lap every minute -- I have a blanket or bed for her in every room -- and I wouldn't want her to get more demanding of being in my lap. She's held enough already, and if not going outside would make her more needy then I definitely won't keep her in.