I just finished talking to a client in Dahlonega who purchased a cool dog house for his two year old Pointer named Danny. The problem is that Danny seems to be ignoring it. The sales clerk who sold it to my client told him that all he had to do was put it in the back yard and Danny would instantly love it. Unfortunately, Danny is not going near it. My client asked me what he could do to have Danny like his new dog house…
It is so funny because people often think that just because they get something called a “dog house”, their dog will instantly want to go there and hang out. In instances such as this, Robin and I always like to ask our clients, “Why should he? Did they make it a place that was fun and safe for him? Did they make it his special spot where he could hang out and relax? Did they even tell him that it was his place?”
Our clients must educate their dogs about their new place. They need to socialize their dogs to let them know that it is a fun and safe place. It needs to become their dogs’ happy place. Their dogs need to feel that the dog house is the safest place in the yard. We have some suggestions for our client:
- Our client should put the dog house in the family room where everyone hangs out and shares happy times. This allows Danny to see that “this new thing” is just another object that can be thought of as his new play area.
- Our client should put his dog’s toys in the dog house. Throw goodies in the dog house and put Danny’s dinner bowl in there from time to time. Our client and the rest of the family should interact and play with their dog around the dog house so that it becomes just another fun place.
- After a week or so, our client needs to transplant the dog house out to a spot in the back yard.
- Locate it someplace where Danny already naturally likes to hang out.
- Double check to assure that he places the dog house where it will not get too hot or be “rained upon” by the lawn sprinklers.
- Keep it away from places where there is a lot of street or neighbor noise.
- Don’t put it in the back corner or behind a back shed. Danny shouldn’t feel like he is being “thrown out”.
- I then want our client to repeat all the “play and engagement” activities that he did with Danny and dog house in the family room in the back yard. Feed Danny in his newly transplanted dog house. Make sure that his toys are around his dog house. If Danny likes to dig, build a digging pit next to it.
- Keep the dog house clean and “free of vermin”. Take a broom and sweep for cobwebs every few days, or more often, if needed. Clean it with a non-toxic cleanser and make sure that it stays dry.
- The client and his entire family should include the dog house part of their outside “play routine”. As they are playing fetch, toss the ball or Frisbee inside his dog house. If Danny enjoys playing “find it”, they should hide the “goodie” in his dog house. This helps to include the dog house as part of the bonding between the client, his family, and Danny.
- If the weather starts to get nasty, they should bring Danny inside. Since dog houses are “hard environments”, the noise from thunder can be multiplied and the dog house could even vibrate from the “clapping”. This could be a very scary experience for their dog.
When our client follows these simple steps, he will create a great “home away from home” for Danny in the back yard. It will become a retreat where his dog can hang out and call his own.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 or (770) 718-7716 if you need any dog training help. We are blessed to have been your local dog training professionals for over fifteen years. We have trained over 5,000 great dogs and loving families and are ready to help you.