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5 Dog House Training Tips That Are Essential For New Pet Owners

Dog houses should be used with caution. Discover what you need to know about training your new puppy how to properly use their dog house.

Bridget Reed

Updated December 06, 2022 • Published January 19, 2022

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5 Dog House Training Tips That Are Essential For New Pet Owners

Dog houses are not simply a decoration for your backyard; they can be useful, functional, and important to provide your pet with. Whether you have never had a dog house before or you have had one plenty of times, there are some essential dog house training tips that you should keep in mind when you are bringing your new addition home. 

While a dog house might not be quite on the top of mind the way that dog bed or dog harness would be, you shouldn’t ignore the many merits of adding a dog house to your checklist of things you need to buy for your new puppy.

Today, you are going to learn everything that you need to know about using a dog house properly and some training tips that will help make the experience with your dog house that much easier. 

To begin, you are going to learn more about why it is essential that your dog has the option of spending time in their dog house. Then, you will learn more about how you can correctly choose a dog house that will be suitable for your new pet. After that, you will gain the knowledge you train your dog to use their new doghouse.

Why is it important to have a dog house?

If you have a yard that your dog spends time in, it really is a necessity that you have a dog house for your pet to take refuge in if necessary. Not only does a good dog house provide a place to be protected against the elements when they are outside, but it also offers a place for them to relax on their own. These are just two of the reasons that your dog should definitely have a dog house. 

In addition, if your dog is anxious and likes to take time to decompress or feel safe when they are outside, a dog house can be particularly useful, too. However, it’s important to be sure that you also train your dog how to properly use their dog house so you can rest assured that they will have positive experiences with it.

It’s also important to note that your dog’s dog house is definitely not a substitute for their crate. Crate training serves a different purpose for your dog, and both of them fulfill different needs. Therefore, it’s essential that you provide your pet with both their dog house and a crate. 

How can I choose the right dog house?

Now that you know more about why dog houses are an absolute must for your pet, it is time to learn more about how you can select the appropriate dog house for your dog. There are several things that you should take into account: namely, that it is comfortable, the right size, and that it’s not too filled.

Continue reading to learn more about what you need to know about choosing (or constructing) the right place for your puppy to call “home.” 

Make sure it’s the right size

First, you need to make sure that your dog’s house is the correct size for them. This could make a significant difference as to if they are going to use it or not. This can also impact how comfortable they are going to feel in their dog house, which is supposed to be a safe space for your pet. 

If you are building or selecting a dog house for your puppy when they are still young (read: before they are fully grown), you may not want to have to replace it in a few years. Then, you should be cognizant that you are getting a house that will fit them when they are fully grown. 

Not only should you take the size of your fully grown dog into consideration, you should also keep in mind that your pet needs enough room (when fully grown) to make a complete turn inside of the house.

If your pet is able to do this inside of their dog house when they are their fully-grown size, then you can rest assured that it is large enough for them. Do not worry if it looks too large for them when they are a young puppy; they will grow into it soon enough. 

Make it comfortable

Next, it is important to make your dog’s house comfortable so that they get use out of it. This means taking into consideration the special needs of your dog’s breed. For example, if your dog has a thicker coat or a shorter nose, they could be more prone to heat exhaustion.

Therefore, you will want to create or purchase a dog house that will give them both air flow and shade. The best bet is to take your dog’s unique self into consideration when you are looking for the correct dog house for them.  Keep in mind that an effective dog house will offer your dog protection, from mild changes in weather. 

This is a key point in creating a dog house for your pet. The house dog should not be sleeping in a dog house overnight. Temperatures at night can drop drastically, even in desert environments that typically have warm days. On hot days, dogs should stay inside the family home so that they don’t overheat. 

Don’t over-fill it

Lastly, it is important that you do not overfill your pet's dog house. This could make them feel too claustrophobic and could result in a dog that does not want to use their dog house. Keep your dog’s house clean and not too full, and you should be good to go. 

How can I train my dog to use their dog house?

Training your dog how to properly use their dog house is the next thing that you need to accomplish once you have found or built the right structure for your pet. There are several things that you should keep in mind when you are training your new puppy how they can properly use their dog house.

While this can be a time-consuming process, it’s important to note that it will certainly be worth the time and effort when your puppy is enjoying their new space. 

Reinforce with food

First, you should always use positive reinforcement with food that your puppy likes. You should never punish your pet when they are in the process of learning something new. Just ask Pawp veterinarian Dr. Laura Robinson why this is so valuable to keep in mind. 

According to Dr. Robinson, “Research shows that punishment-type training methods have undesirable unintended outcomes and that using them puts dogs’ welfare at risk. In addition, there is no evidence to suggest that aversive (punishment) training methods are more effective than reward-based training methods.” 

Dog trainers are unanimous. It is rare to find any animal trainer or advocate who supports negative reinforcement. Dogs are social creatures who thrive on positive reinforcement and approval from their communities (essentially you — their family). 

Training that uses aversion and punishment are not only more likely to be unsuccessful, but they may lead to unhappy or troubled dogs in the long run. 

Reward them for entering the house

When your dog enters the house, you can give them a reward for successfully doing so. Again, this could either be with food or by giving them a back rub. You can also tell them that they are a good boy or girl. Either way, let your pet know that you are happy with what they did. 

Reward them for staying in the house

When your pet stays put, you can again reward them for doing so. This could take a while to get acclimated to, especially if your pet faces separation anxiety. However, when your dog does this correctly, you can provide them with an award. 

Keep them company in the house

When your pet is first getting used to being in their dog house, you can put a lawn chair out nearby and spend some time in the yard with them. This will help them realize their dog house is not a punishment and also could help form a positive association with it. 

Try hide and seek

Lastly, you can try to play hide and seek with your pet to get them more comfortable with the idea of being in their dog house. This could incentivize spending time in their dog house, which could ultimately help your dog get used to this new space. 

A house to call home

Did you know that the team of vets at Pawp can answer all of your dog training questions, not just medical questions? It’s true. Pawp’s vets are available around the clock for virtual telehealth appointments for your pet, and you can get all of your behavioral questions answered, too. 


Building the Ideal Dog House | Texas A & M University

House Training Your Dog | Brown University 

Desert: Mission: Biomes | NASA

Growth standard charts for monitoring bodyweight in dogs of different sizes | NCBI

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