Max the Retriever cross loves to be with his family in their house, but sometimes they need him to stay out in the yard, like when dog- allergic friends and family are over, or when no one is going to be home for several hours to let him out. Because they have a very secure yard and have provided him a nice dog house to get out of the rain, wind or cold weather, his family figures he should be fine outside. But Max won't use his doghouse. When his family puts him outside, even when it starts raining, Max just sits out in the rain, looking like a drowned rat, shunning his doghouse, what gives? Why can’t Max figure out that his dog house would keep him warm and dry? What does his family have to do to convince him to use his home?
Some dogs automatically take to their dog house, treating it like a den and happily diving on in and making a comfy nest in there. Others need a little more convincing to understand that a dog house is not doggy jail or a black hole about to gobble them up!
Before training your dog to use his dog house, make sure it is the right size for your dog. Your dog should be able to easily walk in and turn around. Put a favorite blanket or dog bed in the dog house, or fill the dog house with straw to create a comfortable resting place. Using food and a favorite toy to reinforce using the dog house is advised. You can also use clicker training, especially if your dog is familiar with using a clicker, to reinforce the dog house and its use. Introduce the dog house to your dog when the weather is good. Although this may sound counterintuitive, you do not want distractions or to feel rushed or stressed while teaching your dog to go in and out of his dog house. Never punish your dog for not using the dog house or try to force him into the dog house, as this will create a negative association.