So you have got your doghouse ready in the earnest, and made it as comfortable as possible for your pet. Next step is getting the dog to accept it.
Some dogs take to a doghouse as ducks to water. This is often true for puppies born to mothers who used a similar structure for whelping. The previous positive associations make a doghouse a welcome addition to their territory. All you have to do is provide some comfortable bedding and some doggie toys in there.
But for many dogs, it may take a little bit of coaxing and some inducement to get them to accept the new abode. This is all the more so for those who have had a free run of the house and the grounds until now. It may find the new structure very restrictive and consider it a place it is banished to as punishment. The dog may try to stay away from it as much as possible if there’s any sign of force on your part.
Don’t be disappointed with the new purchase if the dog seems to reject it at first sight. If you’ve spent many hours into the construction or assembly of the doghouse, this rejection can be very hard on you. Don’t lose heart though. A little consistent effort and a lot of patience will eventually make the dog see your good intentions.
Here are some ways to get your puppy or dog to accept the doghouse:
Catch them young
When you bring in an adopted puppy, the initial days are spent in toilet training and housebreaking it. Most of its sleeping and waking hours will be spent inside your home, but if an outdoor doghouse is already in place, allowing it some amount of time in it will help the transition later.
If you have an indoor doghouse, gradually move towards the structure as you come to the end of every play session. Keep the tired or sleepy puppy in there and cover it with a blanket and stay close for a while. A few days of sleeping inside the structure will make it a regular habit.
Furnish the doghouse with familiar objects
If your dog has a favorite rug or mat on which it prefers to take a nap, move it into the doghouse. Half-chewed bones or toys that it loves to play with will invite the dog to try out the new house. Make the place cozy with any blankets or cushions which have been chewed by the dog before. The familiar scents will make the dog more comfortable with the new space.
However, if the doghouse is too far away for you to keep an eye on it often enough, materials that pose choking hazards should be avoided once the dog starts spending some time inside on its own. If your dog happens to drag out the things you placed inside, don’t try to put them back in immediately or in its presence. You don’t want it to turn it into a contest of wills or a new game!
Wait for the right time to introduce an outdoor doghouse
Bad weather is a bad time to introduce a dog to a new house. Even a dog acclimatized to the outside should be brought in during stormy weather. Extreme cold in the height of winter and rain pounding on the roof can make a small structure very uncomfortable. Lightning and thunder can scare any animal. Dogs may readily welcome a shelter in summer for a daytime nap. In the fall, it will be a warm refuge.
Adjust the ambience inside the doghouse
If the lighting, temperature, and feel of the house happen to be drastically different from what the dog is used to until now, it might be wary of the new place. Adjust lighting by fixing movable shades to the windows. The warmth inside can be increased by suitable insulation or by putting in a heated pad or sleeping mat.
Bribe them in with food and special treats
Try feeding the dog in the doghouse for a while. If you’re in the habit of offering special treats when you train the dog, the same can be offered inside the house with you standing in the doorway. Some dog owners find success by hiding a bone or two in the doghouse. It doesn’t matter if the dog promptly brings its find outside to chew. We’re aiming to provide positive experiences associated with the structure here.
Bring in a buddy to share the space
If you or a neighbor has a doghouse-trained dog, you can bring it into the new house for some companionship. If children learn faster from other children, dogs are no exception. If your resources allow, get a companion for your dog when it is old enough to move out into the doghouse. It is the loneliness that bothers some dogs. If four-legged buddies are not available, two-legged ones, especially young children can crawl into the doghouse every now and then until the dog claims the place as its own.
“Slow and steady wins the race”
Don’t expect the dog to shift its residence to the doghouse immediately. If dogs are prematurely sent to sleep in the doghouse, it can guarantee sleepless nights not only for the dog and you, but the whole neighborhood could be kept awake by its constant whining. That’s something you should avoid at all cost. The attachment and comfort level should be built up gradually if you wish for a smooth transition.
Go into passive mode
If all your active efforts to get the dog to like the new house happen to fail, give it a cooling period. If you continue to maintain the structure in good condition, the dog may seek it out on its own when it feels the need for a quiet and cozy place to laze in.