I try not to let just her in because then the lab will jump on the sliding glass door until I either put the terrier back out or I let the lab in. I don't really like having either of them in during the day because every time I move from the computer room to the kitchen and back, the dogs think I'm going to feed them. It doesn't matter to them that I don't ever give them snacks during the day, it only matters that I have come back into the room and there is potential for snacks.
The other problem is the terrier likes to watch my feet. She sits somewhere nearby and just gazes at my feet so she will be sure to know when I'm moving for potential snacks. Her real concern is I will give something to the lab that she is not getting.
Having a small dog stare at your feet is not just disconcerting, it's dangerous. She can get really close to my feet without me knowing it and trip me up. I totally understand why we always hear of elderly people breaking a hip falling over their animals.
So I leave them out. This time of year, though, is cold. I don't like them sleeping on the concrete because it reeks havoc on their bones as they age, plus they have no place to lay.
They have had dog houses, but they don't use them, I think because they can't see out of them. Then we've had old chairs and office chairs out there. There are two problems with having furniture: one is I usually only have one and there are two dogs. The other is, our lab likes to "fluff" all the places she sleeps and eventually tears through the upholstery. Once she tears through the upholstery, she discovers fluff, foam or other joyous things she loves tearing apart and the furniture insides end up in pieces all over our yard. Then it gets gathered up and ends up going to the dump.
The lab's fluff issues are also why we can't put a pillow or blanket out for them to lay on; it just ends up scattered all over the yard.
Then my mom reminded me that when I was a kid we used to have a big wooden box on our front porch filled with straw. A box! I forgot about that box. So today my husband is making our dogs a box they can both fit into. It will have an entrance cut out of the front and will be raised with 2x4s off the ground to keep it warmer. I will fill it with cedar chips to keep fleas down and they'll be able to see us come and go, stay warm and off the ground.
Sure, the cedar chips will get spread around the yard, but we can just throw those in the compost and add them as needed. $27 in wood and screws and $8.75 for a huge bag of cedar chips is all we needed to alleviate my guilt.