Dog Won't Come Inside?

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A frightened or wary dog may refuse to come inside willingly. This situation is frustrating for you and stressful for your pet. This is a page about when a dog won't come inside.


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October 9, 2008

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 Alisha (Guest Post)
October 9, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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October 9, 20080 found this helpful

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

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By Lisa (Guest Post)
October 9, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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By Shelter Worker (Guest Post)
October 9, 20081 found this helpful

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.

Good luck.

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October 9, 20080 found this helpful

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

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October 13, 20080 found this helpful

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 :-)

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October 13, 20080 found this helpful

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.

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By sherry (Guest Post)
October 14, 20080 found this helpful

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

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Read More Answers

January 22, 2009

My American Bull Dog does not want to come inside after his walks. He is walked 2 times daily and then I put him in the back yard. From the backyard he has access through a door to come into the house as well. He spends his day in and out of the house.

He is 5 months old and I have owned him for 5 days now. The previous owner just use to keep him indoors all day and night. Why does my dog not want to come inside after his walks? Do you think I should walk him more often than 2 times daily?


Jessica from Hialeah

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