Dog Will Not Go In Dog House

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Sometimes a dog will not go in a dog house. They simply refuse to set one paw inside of it, no matter what!
If you think that pouring down rain will cause them to seek shelter in it, think again, as that is a false assumption!

It is often suggested to throw a favorite toy, blanket, or treat inside, so the dog will go in to the dog house for it, but that does not work.

It also has nothing to do with the smell of it, though many people will tell you to scrub any and all odors away, to correct this problem.

soaking wet Golden Retriever

Guess what? That doesn't work either!

Remember when you crate trained your puppy, and when it was time for the pup to go into the crate, you had to physically pick her up and put her in the crate?

Then, of course, she screamed and cried as if you were torturing her, but she eventually came to love her crate, and looked at it as her den.

For some dogs, it is the same with a doghouse, even if they love their crates.

The first time I encountered this, was with my Golden Retriever, Rufus. He loved being outside, but would not venture into his house.

Even though he was technically an indoor dog, I like to put my dogs outside for several hours a day during the summer and sometimes overnight, depending on what is going on around here.

Since he loved his crate, I thought he would easily accept a dog house. Boy, was I wrong!

Golden Retriever lying in dog house

One summer day it started raining, and I just knew that would make him retreat into his house for shelter.

As I kept peeking out the window, it started pouring down the rain, but he still refused to go inside of it and I knew something had to be done.

How I taught my dog to go in his dog house, was similar to how I crate train.

I grabbed a baby gate, and with the help of my daughter, we wrestled Rufus into the doghouse, then I set the baby gate in front of the opening.

I had to sit on top of the doghouse, in the pouring rain, so the baby gate would stay in place. My daughter ran back inside our house to watch out of the window and laugh!

I sat in that downpour, on top of his shelter, holding the gate in place, for close to 20 minutes!

During that time, I never spoke a word to Rufus. Obviously, I was muttering to myself about having to do this, but he didn't know that!

Golden Retriever giving high 5

I waited for him to first get quiet and stop trying to paw at the gate. Then I waited for him to sit down.

Eventually he did lie down. The whole time I did this, I did not speak to him, I just totally ignored him.

After he finally settled down and had been lying still for about 5 minutes, I moved the baby gate, and came back into the house.

He, of course, immediately ran out of the doghouse. As I watched from the window, within a few minutes, he walked back into his shelter, on his own, and laid down.

That was the end of that. He came to love it like a den, and didn't appreciate it if any of the other dogs tried to use it.

Several years later, I had this happen with another one of my male Golden Retrievers.

This dog also would not go in his dog house, except this time, I didn't wait until it was pouring down the rain to correct it! I did the exact same scenario, in a very light drizzle, and the problem was fixed!

Sometimes dogs just have to be shown that there is no reason to be afraid, and the best way to accomplish that, is by simply, but silently, forcing the issue.



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Golden Retriever in a cowboy hat


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Old Golden Retriever smiling