The difference between my dog's indoor and outdoor behavior is day and night. Inside, she refuses to play with any toys (while I'm awake), only eats during the day if I put something on top of her food to make it more enticing, and generally sleeps. When I get the leash to take her out, she gets a little excited, then runs away until I put the leash on her. Once we're outside, she's a new dog. She is excitable and wants to run around. Her tail is up and wagging, she's smiling, and doing the play-bow. She is still timid and hesitant to warm up to people/dogs the first time she meets them. However, once she knows a dog/person, she is full of energy and always wants to play (outside). She's a rescue dog that was in a shelter in Puerto Rico for 1+ year before I adopted her. I have now had her for 3 months. From what I have heard/read, a lot of dogs can take some time to get used to their new surroundings. Can anyone offer some tips/insight into why she acts like this or how to help her?
From what I have heard/read, a lot of dogs can take some time to get used to their new surroundings.
That might be one of the causes. But on the other hand, it might be similar as with people.
Some people might be couch potatoes at home, just to become football players, bungee jumpers, car drifters etc. as soon as they are outside.
The difference between your dog and those people is that those people can go out whenever they want. Your dog can go out only when you allow her.
From a different point of view, this split behavior might be at your advantage. The dog will not break anything in your house.
As a compensation, you might want to spend more time with her outside, so she has the proper amount of exercise.
My best guess is that it has to do with her time in the shelter.
I don't know about Puerto Rican's shelters, but I guess in general the animals are left alone for most of the day and get a walk maybe once a day, maybe less common.
So it seems she's simply used to being calm in her kennel (or in your house now) because there never was much to do and it was boring. The excitement was always outside, where she could sniff around and meet other people and dogs. This seems to be a simple habit of her and nothing bad that you need to change no matter what.
You can continnue offering her interaction and play time inside, but don't be hurt if she ignores the offer. Maybe you haven't found her favorite type of play yet? Have a look at some ideas here.