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Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

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I have a question about my Sheltie/Blue. He will not go into his dog house no matter what the weather is. What can I do? I hate seeing him outside when we have cold and rain.

Nelwyn from Bunkie, LA



Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By sue [5]09/07/2011

I haven't seen a post yet that said anyone was forcing their dog to stay outside! I think the questions were how to get a dog to come inside when it doesn't want to come inside or at least get them to go into a doghouse if they refuse to come inside the house. I live in a rural area and don't have contact with any homeless people, but I'm told that some people for whatever reason prefer to be homeless and live on the streets. Some of you are just so judgmental about what others should/shouldn't do and you know absolutely nothing about the circumstances. Try to get over yourselves!

By Sherri [6]09/01/2011

Please bring this "old" girl in the house. Dogs are pack animals and you are her pack leader. I can't imagine leaving my precious baby out in the cold and watching her huddle to keep warm while I am in a warm house. Please bring her in.

By Becki from Missouri (Guest Post)01/08/2008

I agree. we are not here to beat people up who have different views. We need to be helpful and very sweet to each other.
on to the question. we also have had a couple of dogs who refused to use dog houses. They would sit in rain, snow, ice whatever. Some dogs would just rather be outside. do what you feel is best. Its your dog! God bless

By susan [5]01/08/2008

I believe the question was "How do I get my dog to use his dog house?" not "What is your personal opinion about people who have outdoor vs indoor pets?" Parts of the country differ (temperature, weather, country, city conditions, etc), as do pet owners (stay @ home, full time employees, retired pet owners, etc), and the pets (some actually prefer to be outside while others want to be inside, the breed, size, etc), not to mention a multitude of other factors. I'd prefer if people wouldn't judge without knowing the facts, nor place so much importance on their opinions. I regularly worked at a shelter, and kennels were purposely built outside for certain dogs. While it might not be to everyone's liking, neither is being an opinionated snob. Aren't we all just doing our best?

By Karin (Guest Post)01/07/2008

Dogs are pack animals and need to be with their pack members, you and your family. Why don't you bring the dog in the house and then you won't have to worry about him being in the weather?

By Jennifer Nelson [1]01/07/2008

I will never understand why people will "adopt" pets and force them to live apart from the family.

Northern Virginia

By Sheila [62]01/07/2008

I can tell you what we did for our cat. My husband built a house for her in the garage. He put in a lightbulb that comes on for a length of time with a timer. This winter to introduce the cat to the warm house. He just put her in and barricaded the door so she couldn't get out for a couple of hours. Now she is in and out no problem. She just had to realize this new environment was nice and comfortable.

By sherri (Guest Post)01/07/2008

Why don't you bring him in to the garage or a shelter near you. Maybe he is just lonely. Animals/humans like to be around others. If it is too cold or rainy why let him stay outside?

By Wendy [2]01/07/2008

I agree with the others when they suggest that the dog will go into his kennel if he is uncomfortable.

However, that said, have you considered putting his treats in the kennel when he would usually be given one each time he does something good? Perhaps a nice bone to chew on when you go out, would also be an encouragement. He would also like having a few rugs &/or old jumpers that members of the family have worn, as they like to 'scrunch' them up to make a nice little 'nest' to snuggle into. I'd also make sure that his kennel is not too small for him, as well as ensuring that wind doesn't blow in that direction. You could also try putting a 'curtain' across the entrance, just nail a piece of fabric over the 'door' so that when he goes into it, he has his own little 'cubby'. The treats & rugs will certainly encourage him to enter with 'feel good' smells ... especially as he will be given the treats & bones when he's done something that pleases you ... so also remember to praise him when he enters his kennel.

My dog loves to 'do circles' scrunching his rugs into a nice little nest to snuggle into. He usually sleeps with me, but on occasion when we've been travelling, he's had to sleep in his crate, and he has no concerns about sleeping in his crate.

If these don't encourage him to use his kennel, don't worry, he is obviousely quite comfortable in the weather. I'd love to hear how you get on with the suggestions offered.

By Vic (Guest Post)01/07/2008

It's RARE that a dog, given the option of living in the house as a part of the family, will choose to be outside all of the time. They aren't stupid & it's totally against their pack nature. If you don't have time for the dog why have one? Why would you willingly make a dog uncomfortable, lonely & bored? They aren't bushes you buy & plant outside. I can't understand at all why a person would have a dog & then force it to live outside. What's the point? You certainly aren't giving the dog anything good. Some thick haired dogs might get hot inside but maybe the people keep the house to hot. And they should never be left out when noone's home. What if a storm or other bad weather comes up? Someone might steal them, yes, right out of the fence. Someone could tease them through the fence, throw poisoned meat or other things over the fence & he could bark all day driving your neighbors nuts. It's not safe in this day & age.

By Jennifer Nelson [1]01/03/2008

Forcing a dog to be uncomfortable makes no sense to me.

Northern Virginia

By Marty Dick [152]01/03/2008

It has been my experience that when a dog becomes uncomfortable he or she will do whatever it takes to get comfortable even if it means if it means going into the dog house ..


Here are questions related to Getting a Dog to Use Dog House.

Question: Dog Won't Go In Dog House

I have an older outdoor dog. We had another outdoor dog, much younger, that for some reason started attacking our older dog. We had to get rid of the younger one. Since then, for some reason, the older dog refuses to get inside a dog house.

There are 3 good dog houses she could use. In the winter, I put straw in them for extra warmth, etc. It breaks my heart to see her lying out in the rain, snow, sleet, whatever. Why is she doing this and how can I get her to go inside the dog house?

By Sue

Most Recent Answer

By NEWFIEGIRL [8]12/30/2012

The kindest gift you can give this beautiful girl is place her in a home where she is the only dog.


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

Could you help me figure out how to get my dog to use his dog house? He is a golden retriever, and when he is in the house, he sleeps under my coffee table. I have put his toys in there, and his dog food. Help! it is getting cold. Rita from Missouri

RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

If the dog is truly cold, he will use the dog house. As an owner of Rottweilers (not too much fur) some use the house, some don't. Really depends on the dog. I live in Canada and winter comes early here. Just don't leave him out too long, make sure there is food (internal heat source) and water available. Some dogs just love the 'winter'. If you are really guilt ridden, set a temperature guideline. For my dogs -10C is my limit and at that temp 20 minutes is the max. Good luck. ~PHH (11/05/2007)

By Princesshammerhead

RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

Maybe there's something about the house he doesn't like. Does it smell like paint? Is the ground damp? Maybe it's in a place where he can't get a good view of his territory. Is it dark inside the house? A dog breeder told me lots of dogs are scared of the dark. (11/05/2007)

By perfumed fan

RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

Why does he have to go out to a dog house? Any dog I ever had was a part of my family and as such, stayed in the house with us. In fact, slept in bed with us. Not that everybody has to go that far but, a dog outside in a dog house is no protection to his family in the house. I'd be lonely in a dog house wouldn't you? (11/06/2007)

By Grammie

RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

This is what we did. I gave my black lab a blanket to lay on while he was in the house. He also slept under our table. Since I placed the blanket under the table he knew that it was his and would sleep on it. After about two weeks I transfered the blanket to the dog house. When he stuck his nose in his dog house he smelled his odor and curled right up on his blanket in his dog house. I felt better knowing that our dog felt at home in his house. (11/06/2007)

By Little foot

RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

I agree with Princesshammerhead; the dog will find its way inside the dog house once he's cold. I have a golden retriever too and I don't think your dog will stay outside too long. Retrievers are very sociable and want to be with their 'families' all the time. (11/06/2007)

By Marianka

RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

If it is getting cold...the dog is smart! Why would he want to go outside and stay in a cold dog house? Mine have a doggie door and go in and out (into a large fenced yard, of course). The coffee table area sounds right to me. (11/07/2007)


RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

If a dog is used to being in the house and you move him/her outside suddenly after it's gotten cold the dog will surely suffer! He needed to have time to develop a tolerance and a heavy coat. Just as you can't bring a full-time outside dog in and not expect them to be too hot you also can't move a full-time inside dog out and not expect them to be cold. What's wrong with the coffee table? (11/08/2007)

By Glenn'sMom

RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

I think a lot of you have gotten the wrong idea. My dog is an outside dog, comes in every once and a while. He likes to come in but wants to go right back out because he gets hot. I truly am good to my animals. I bought him a dog house, but he doesn't want to use it, Don't you think this is better than standing out in the rain? Thanks, Rita-Missouri (11/08/2007)


RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

Dogs like to be close to the family, make sure the kennel is as close to your back door as possible. Try putting something of yours in the kennel, e.g. old bedding, clothes or socks will do. Don't wash them as they will like your odor. Please let me know how you do, I may have another trick up my sleeve! (11/10/2007)

By A. Crilly

Archive: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

I have a 1 1/2 year old pit bull. It's getting cold outside and we built him a dog house, and he won't go in it. My husband and I are fire fighters and work 24 hr shifts so my dog is outside that whole time. The dog house is insulated and he has a bed in it with food and water. How do i get him to go in it? Avalanche from Lisbon, WI

RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

Put a mirror in there, maybe he's just lonely. (11/29/2007)

By perfumed fan

RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

Try hiring a dog walker, this is what I do for my two rescued Dobies. Jennifer Northern Virginia (11/29/2007)

By ILuvDobes

RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

I would respectfully disagree with the idea that you can make any dog an outside dog that will be comfortable where it's at. That is simply not true in all cases, but is somewhat dependent on where you live. I live in Minnesota. If you look at the indigenous animals here, one thing you will find is that they grow heavy, double coats, and shed those coats in the summer. Just because you leave a lab or a rottie outside does not mean they will end up looking like a husky eventually. Dogs were bred with different characteristics over many, many decades, and you will not change that simply by putting them in a certain environment for a few weeks or months. For example, a lab is a water dog, has a short coat that repels water as that is where it was bred to jump and get the "bird". It will not ever develop the kind of coat it needs to stay outside throughout a Minnesota winter. A pit bull has much the same coat - it is thin and does not provide weather protection for cold temps. While some individuals may do better than others, just like people have different tolerances, you still need to understand where the breed ame from and its characteristics. Is there a pit bull group/organization/reputable breeder in your area you could contact for some insight? Otherwise there are resources on the internet. Also, some dogs are claustrophobic just like humans. I have one now who is like that. She'd been born on a farm and had the wide open spaces to roam, but then the first owner kept her in a tiny bathroom while house training her. They found their child was allergic to dogs, so returned her to the farm. But she was traumatized by the bathroom. I could never get her to go into the doghouse we made for her, either. (nor will she go into our small bathroom). We had a larger shed (almost big enough for a small, compact car to fit), which was close to the house, and made her run line long enough so we cut a dog entry hole in that, and she would go into the shed. And, as suggested in another post, we did line it with old blankets that had been ours, and had our smell. But as a bassett, doberman, lab mix, she is not one that can tolerate the outside during our winter months, and is more than happy to be an inside dog from about Oct. to April. Dogs are pack animals, and when incorporated into a family, you become their "pack". Most would rather be with you than left alone outside for any length of time. (12/03/2007)

By iluvcats11

RE: Getting a Dog to Use Dog House

Maybe if you heat the doghouse, he might like it better. (12/18/2007)

By Sally

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