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How To Get Your Dog To Use Its Dog House – A Training Guide

Have you just purchased a canine home or made one your self and are finding that your dog won’t use its house?  Are you wondering why your dog won’t go into the dog house? Well, if you are wondering about this, you are definitely not alone.  There are a lot of canines that will not use their dog houses.

There are many reasons why your dog may not be using its dog house.  He may be scared of the house. The home may not be big enough for your dog.  The dog may see the home as punishment or think that maybe it is a trap for them. maybe you have rescued a dog from a shelter who was abused.  So many things can be running through your dog’s head, and we really don’t know what all those things are. We can, however, train our dog to be trusting of its home and actually like going into it.  Read on to find out how to to get your dog to use its dog house.

Training Basics

Puppies and adult dogs are not born trained to do the things we’d like them to do.  So, therefore we must put in the time and effort to train and guide our furry canines to be the best they can be!


Our puppies need a lot of training and guidance right from the beginning.  They will need lots of repetition as puppies don’t really know what to do other than eat and sleep.  Training your puppy early will result in a very well trained adult dog. 

Puppies have a very short attention span so when you start the training, start with commands like “sit”, and “stay”.  You can use food as a reward for your puppy.

How Long Should Training Sessions Be?

You should set a goal for no more than 15 minutes a day with a puppy.  You can spread the 15 minutes out in 5 minutes sessions throughout your day.  It is a good idea for all members of your family to participate. There should be more than one training location.  Make sure to train your puppy in every room of the house. This will make your dog feel right at home in all rooms of your home.  

Puppy obedient classes are also an excellent training technique.  There are many places that offer this class, you could even start at your pet shop and see if they offer this.  I know Pet Smart does here in Canada. 

Adult Dogs 

An adult dog may be a bit more of a challenge.  They are already set in their own ways, and if they were never really trained properly, then this will be more work you. But it will be so rewarding in the end. 

 Adult dogs may have come from a shelter so maybe they were neglected or abused.  That being said, they may not have any trust in humans and may act aggressively or show signs that it is afraid.  Take extra care with adult rescue dogs. You want the dog to trust you and to want to spend time with you. Expect to put in the extra time and love for adult dog training. 

Alright, we got a bit into training a dog and puppy, but we really want to know how to get that canine in its dog house. 

Before Entering The Dog House 

First and most importantly is your dog house the right size for your dog?  Dog House Times has a dog house sizing chart for over 400 dog breeds. You want to make sure your dog does not have to bend too much to get int the dog house, and they should have lots of room to lay down and move around. 

Putting a new dog bed, or blanket in the new canine home will make it feel more welcoming and comfortable to your dog.  It is also strongly suggested that you use your dog’s favorite toy or favorite treat as a reward for going into its dog house.  

It is best to introduce your dog to its dog house when the weather is favorable.  When the weather outside is sunny and warm the dog will feel at ease. There will be no distractions like thunder or lightning that may frighten your dog.  Not that you only want your dog going into its house on sunny days, but for training purposes it is necessary. Once your dog gets used to the dog house, then it will go in freely during any type of weather conditions. 

Do not punish your dog for not wanting to use its dog house and do not force the dog into the house.  This is counterproductive and stressful for your furry canine and the dog will see the dog house as something negative. 

Step Guide For Getting Your Dog To Use Its House 

The Food Method

1- Leaving Food Around The House

Leave food around the home for the dog to find so it can get used to the house.  Keep some of your dog’s favorite treats on you and approach the home with your dog, then provide a treat for being around the house.  

2- Treats At The Doorstep

Place treats at the door and let your dog gobble them up.  Then place a treat just inside the door for your dog to reach in a take. Praise your fur buddy for getting so close to the house.

3-Placing Treats Inside The Home

Place treats inside the canine home.  Your dog will either go in and get the treats or it won’t.  If your dog does not go in don’t worry about it, you can try again another day. But if your dog does go into retrieve the treat then you must give lots of praise to your dog.  By giving lots of praise to your canine for entering the home will give the dog a positive association with it. 

4- Exiting 

Do not force your dog to stay in the home once it goes in because this will seem like a punishment to your dog and even frighten the pup.  Allow the dog to exit when it wants to. Again giving lots of praise for entering the home.

5-  Stay With Your Dog

Ask your dog to lie down once it is comfortable with the house and freely going in and out of it.  Give a treat if the dog lies down and stay there with him and have a nice little chat. Make sure to provide treats to let the dog know that the doghouse is the “good place”.

Hide And Seek Approach 

Why not make it fun for your canine friend? Hide and seek can be a great way to get your dog in its house.

I- Play Time 

Grab your dog’s favorite toy and bring it near the house.  Your dog will be compelled to follow since you have its favorite toy and the dog will be anticipating some playtime with its human companion. 

II – Retrieve 

Place the toy near the entrance of the canine home and ask your dog to retrieve the toy.  No dog can resist retrieving its favorite toy. This will bring the pup that much closer to the house. 

III- Fetch 

Throw the toy inside the dog home for your dog to get. The dog should run in and out in no time with its toy.  Make sure to reward with a treat for going into the home. 

IV- Hide And Seek 

Take your canine to a place outside where it cannot see the dog house.  Tell it to stay, and then place yourself inside the home if the house is for a medium to large dog.  Not sure an adult human can fit into a small dog breeds house! If you feel comfortable and have small children you can ask them to participate by going into the home.  Once inside call your dog. Once your buddy finds you and enters the house, make sure to give lots of affection and of course, more treats!

V- Company is Golden

When your pup is more than comfortable with its home, ask the dog to come over into the home and lie down.  Make sure to sit outside the door with your canine and keep it company until you feel the dog is comfortable being in the home by itself. 

Dog Breeds That Love The Outdoors 

There are breeds out there that enjoy being outdoors more than others and may be more willing to enter their home due to the fact that they spend a lot of time outside.  We have a list of those dogs for you. 

  1. Australian Shepherd 
  2. Siberian Husky
  3. Labrador Retriever 
  4. Australian Cattle Dog
  5. Bernese Mountain Dog 
  6. German Shepherd
  7. Mastiff
  8. Rottweiler
  9. Collie 
  10. Old English Sheepdog


It takes time, patience and lots of affection to get your dog to use its canine home/dog house. You may get upset that your dog won’t use its house, but don’t worry, you guys will eventually get there.

With my dog, Kiki it took a while for her to warm up to the home that was made just for her by her dad. She seemed a bit scared of it at first. But we tried these steps, and soon enough our little fur baby was running in there by herself and even taking afternoon naps while we were doing backyard stuff. Now it is wintertime, so she does not stay outside at all except for her daily walks and bathroom breaks.

I hope you found this helpful. Try it out and let us know how it goes by leaving us a comment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Won’t My Dog Use Its House?

There could be many factors why your dog will not enter its home. It could see the home as punishment, or it could be scared of it. Your dog just needs some training. You should go through the steps that we provided to help you get your dog used to using its canine house. All dogs are capable of training and learning, some you just have to spend a little extra time on.

Why Does My Dog Stay Out In The Rain?

Chances are your dog loves the rain! Lots of dogs enjoy being out in the rain for some strange reason. Maybe they just like the feel of it, or they like lapping it up in puddles. Who really knows? I have witnessed dogs frolicking around in the rain and even splashing in puddles. Another reason could be that the canine home has a leak or so the rain gets in any way so they dog figures “I’ll just stay outside”, or the home is cold inside because of the rain.


  1. Complete Guide To Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness- National Geographic- Gary Weitzman, DVM,MPH, CAWA
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds- D. Caroline Coile Ph. D
  4. Google Scholar

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