We have adopted a 2 year old dog that will not come into the house. Every morning she cowers and curls up into a ball and must be carried in. As the day goes on she gets better and will come in and the next morning the same problem. Any solutions to her being so scared?
Mary from Virginia Beach, VA
By Mary Gagnon
By Alisha (Guest Post) 10/09/2008 Flag
Try standing inside the door with a treat and call her :) Make sure to give her tons of priase when/if she comes in by herself to get the treat. Soon she will come in on her own hopefully.
maybe if you warm up an old towel and curl it up next to the door as you try to draw her inside she will take to it and feel safe with the warmth of it to lay on and become accustom to start coming in knowing it will be there. just an idea, good luck
By Lisa (Guest Post) 10/09/2008 Flag
Maybe try ringing a bell or shake a fun toy or rawhide/pig ear. If you do the bell, have a treat ready when she comes to the bell. Maybe try cheerios. My dog loved those for training. Different then a dog cookie and cheaper.
By Shelter Worker (Guest Post) 10/09/2008 Flag
Are you having the dog sleep outside at night or does the dog just show fear of entering the house after her morning walk?
I really hope you aren't having the dog sleep outside. That is extremely dangerous for the dog for dozens of reasons. The nicest neighbor will poison your dog for barking or ruining their flowerbeds before they start a neighborhood feud. It also lets any prowlers know that your home is completely unprotected.
If the dog simply won't cross the doorway after being let out for a morning pee; try walking her on the lead in the morning. Make it a long, fun walk and simply bring her directly inside when you come back. Do not tense. Just walk in confidently and she should follow.
If she still tenses, try another door and see if that's the problem for some reason. Don't keep picking her up and carrying her. If you won't walk the dog and let her get the exercise she needs; at least try leaving the door open and putting her favorite food or toys inside the door. Let her come in on her own and don't praise her until she is calm. With the stress you're describing, she might bolt if you give praise too much/too soon. Give praise if you're pretty sure she will enjoy it and not cower or bolt for the door.
I trust you already tried the most basic of offering treats and leaving her food inside and she has turned that down.
Your dog should be getting at least two 30-45 minutes brisk walk/jogging sessions in the am and pm. Letting the dog out is NOT a substitute because the dog is still bored and not getting the exercise both she and you need. The exercise WILL help her drain off nervous energy and she will be much more calm and easily trained.
Active play time is just as important. Buying toys is not a substitute for playing with the dog directly.
Training based on praise is also vital to your dog's comfort level. She needs to have structure and learn what "her job" in the family is. Some dogs will not calm down until they begin to have a purpose. That's particularly true for any of the working breeds, no matter how small they are.
Try leaving the door open and letting her come in on her own. Lay treats coming from outside to inside. Be patient it may take days and always be positive with a upbeat voice. Good look
When I was growing up we had a dog who simply did not want to ever come inside the house whatsoever so we installed a doggie door on the garage door and put a warm, comfy bed and her food and water in the far corner of the garage. She was a Shetland Shelty/Border Collie mix and just liked the great outdoors :-) If coaxing won't work, don't force your baby if she doesn't want to come in. Just make sure she has a safe place with a warm bed to be :-)
My thoughts are that if you recently adopted her and she's already 2, there was probably some sort of abuse where she came from that is associated with going inside of a house. Be patient and talk softly while coaxing her in with a treat or a favorite toy.
One good sign is that she allows you to pick her up and carry her inside.
By sherry (Guest Post) 10/14/2008 Flag
The only thing I can add to these wonderful suggestions is being eye level if coaxing. Thanks for choosing to adopt! Best wishes, a doggy lovin'friend
I would suggest not putting her outside at night and leaving her there. Maybe something outside is scaring her. Keep her in at night.
By Hope (Guest Post) 12/29/2008 Flag
I have the exact same problem. Only I have a 9 month old rat terrier who refuses to come inside. At first I thought she was scared of the sliding door but yet she comes in when she feels like it. It's winter now and I can't leave the door open all day for her to decide if she's coming in or not. So I have resorted to a cable leash when she goes out. I have it hooked to the door so if she doesn't want to come in, I can assist her. It's too cold for her to stay out, and she doesn't need frostbite. I wouldn't recommend a doggie door, because you may find more than just your dog coming inside, raccoons, stray cats, neighbor cats, possums, bugs and birds may come inside as well.
I entered my dog into obedience training and my trainer told me that my dog is not scared, although she acts like it, but he said she's 1st class stubborn. Good luck!