Training a Dog to Use a Dog House

August 30, 2011

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


August 30, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

That's probably correct. Marking territory is one way a dog tells another dog, "you're not allowed here." Or, it's also possible the dog physically didn't allow her to go in them, and she still thinks it will come back to enforce that rule.

Either way, another "boss" can change the rule. A human can be that leader.

A dominate dog is naturally the boss of a more submissive dog. That's according to nature. When the dominate dog grew up, it became the leader of your other dog. Again, this is natural. Then for some reason, it decided to claim all the doghouses and that your dog would sleep on the ground instead, even if another doghouse was unoccupied.

That seems stupid to humans, but it is in accordance with dog territory rules. The dog also has the right, as leader, to punish dogs who disobey the leader. This is in accordance with pack rules. Dogs consider all this normal. Of course that doesn't mean they like to be punished, and you can't really have dogs that are fighting all the time. Eventually, the older dog would have submitted to the other's leadership, but might have gotten pretty torn up in the process, and that's obviously not good.

Your dog still won't disobey the leader for fear of punishment. That's natural. But if a new leader (say a human one) were to come in and change the rule, then that would be okay. This is why the human involved must be seen as a leader to the dog.

If you bring another dog home, try to make sure the submissiveness level is generally about the same as the dog you have, and you'll have much more peace.

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August 31, 20110 found this helpful
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Consider this: take a bag of white lime (not garden lime) bought at feed and supply stores. Put the lime around the houses and in dog yard to eliminate the scent of the other dog. Bleach and clean out and outside of dog houses too.

There is one other reason I know for sure a dog won't go into a dog house over. You have a small dog house for a large dog. Build the dog house like a play house and put a couple of windows or a protected side and an open side and your dog will get in out of the rain and weather.

My neighbor had a Brittany Spaniel and she wouldn't get in out of the rain for 3 years ...dug a hole in the yard and got sick every winter. She gave me the dog 4 years ago and we have a huge dog house like I described within her run and she immediately went in without any problem. We still have her and she likes her house too. please note here her door is closed because I just bathed and clipped her and it has been too hot for her outside.

Note: that this is nothing fancy just 4 posts on top of ground with wire around 2/3 of it and the rest is closed in. In winter I take cardboard and plastic and put hay inside and she goes in and out as she pleases.

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4 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 3, 2008

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


January 7, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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March 13, 2017

My female German Shepherd just had her first set of puppies. Her dog house got really small so we got her a bigger one. But now she refuses to go in to the new dog house so the puppies won't go in there either.

The weather has been cold so I really worried about the puppies being out in the cold.


March 13, 20170 found this helpful

Is it big enough for you to get in it? If so, get in it and call her in and see if she will come in that way. If she does, reward her with a treat.

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March 13, 20170 found this helpful

I would put something with your scent in there.

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March 21, 20170 found this helpful

Can you put something of hers that is sentimental to her? Does she have a favorite toy? Or does she need something in particular to sleep at night?

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November 13, 20180 found this helpful

My dog will not use his dog house he will stay in front of it. So we gave him all his meals and treats inside the house and he will go inside eat and came out right away. Until about a month later I looked outside and saw he was inside his house. We were so happy.
Don't give up keep doing it everyday until he feels safe to stay inside.

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November 19, 20180 found this helpful

is how we got our dog to use his house we put some of our jackets in his house and his dish to feed him also treats, took awhile but it worked.

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