3 Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Refuses to Come Inside

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Do you have a dog that flat out refuses to come inside the house when play time is over? Many dog owners are finding themselves in a situation when the dog would approach the door but suddenly dash away as soon as you open it. Here are some reasons for this behavior.

Your Dog isn’t Getting Enough Time Outside

Your dog might be getting a lot of reinforcement and positive experiences when they run around the yard. The same cannot be said once they step inside when there could be little to do for your dog. First, make sure your dog is getting enough time to exercise outdoors. There isn’t a golden rule as far as how long your dog should spend outside, but at a minimum, the dog should be allowed outside for at least one or two hours to satisfy his exploratory senses.

In addition to getting an appropriate amount of time outdoors, you should also try to reinforce positive experiences inside the house. For example, you should spend some time doing mental exercises and puzzles with your dog indoors if you haven’t already been doing so. You need to communicate to the dog that they can have just as much fun indoors as they would outside.

A Change in House Environment

The sudden change in behavior may also be due to a change in environment inside the house. Have you changed something in the house recently? Or have you cleaned the house with a household cleaner that doesn’t come with a pleasant smell? Whether its an object or a certain smell, there could be something that is giving your dog anxiety or stress every time he steps into the house.

Your Dog Has a Health Issue

While there doesn’t appear to be any link, a sudden change in behavior among dogs can potentially be due to an underlying health problem. If you see anything different about your dog (e.g. he is acting lethargic in the yard) then it’s worthwhile calling the vet to see if the dog needs to be brought in for a medical examination.

What to Do When Your Dog Won’t Come Inside

If health issues are ruled out as the cause for this sudden change in behavior then it’s time to up your dog’s training by having him properly learn the recall command. Teaching a stubborn dog a recall command will take time and patience.

The first step of training is to come up with a simple command word that the dog will easily remember, such as “come”. This cue should be distinct enough so that the dog won’t mix it up with other command words you may have trained him with in the past. Next, take your dog to an enclosed space with some tasty treats in your pocket.

Take a few steps away from the dog and say the recall command. When the dog returns to you, give him a treat and repeat the above process. Extend the distance from your dog as he gets better and better at coming back to you.


  • Joan Losper | 12/12/2020

    We have an 11 year old boerboel who normally sleeps inside but since last night is refusing to come inside. Is it possible that it because of the continuous insecticide that is spraying in the room? We have used it before but maybe he does not like it anymore or the smell is too strong?

  • Hamia | 14/12/2021

    It is a chill cold here but all sudden my dog refuses to go inside his hut…what can be the reason im unable to find it out kindly help me out how can i figure it out?

  • Received | 15/01/2022

    I have a rescue dog I’ve had her for 30 days 4 years old and for some reason she doesn’t want to go outside I live in Chicago and putting her on the leash I mean she she sees her leash she wants to go out but it’s a chore to get her out

  • Ryleigh | 03/02/2022

    My dog is 9 year old lab mixed with retriever and she is a farm/outside dog but with the winter weather we let her in the garage she loved it but for the past 2 or 3 months she refuses to come it the garage even if it -30 degrees out we tried giving her treats to come in but that didn’t work we had to start pushing her or pucking her up just to get her in but when we let her in the front door of the house she comes right in with no problem but we can’t have her in the house she sheds to much she will sit out side freezing and barking to let her in so we go to let her in the garage then she no longer wants to come inside it is like she is playing a game.and we know in the garage we don’t go and hang out with her much but we try our best to go out and give her love. We have 2 other small dogs that are inside dogs because they don’t shed and they are small and well behaved and get baths vary often but she hates baths and she is to big to fit in the tub to give her one.

  • Kate | 02/03/2022

    I am not being rude but why take on a labrador ?
    they moult terrible and without a bath now and again they smell
    i could not leave my Labrador outside they are social dogs and love human contact,
    i am a housewife who constantly cleans and hoovers the home, hair gets everywhere,
    annoying but we have had her 9 years now and would not dream of keeping her outside. not even in a garage,

  • Sandra Ohms | 27/06/2022

    Take on a Labrador because they love you unconditionally, loyal, smart and will be your best friend if treated with love. Can’t stand dog hair and won’t let her.him sleep inside? do the dog a favor and don’t get one. I have had 4 labs in my lifetime and it sickens me when non deserving people do not treat them like family

  • Tara McCarthy | 22/03/2022

    I have an 8 month old Shiba Inu. We have terrible trouble getting his harness on…even tried a collar. He now goes outside for a pee in the morning and after that I can’t get him back in the house as he thinks I’m going to try to put his harness on. At the moment he has been outside since 09.30 and it’s now 13.30. I’ve tried everything. treats and calling and tapping the window which always used to work. None of these now work. He seems to adapt every time I change things up and his suspicion grows. I am at my wits end to be honest!

  • Deb | 28/06/2022

    I’m concerned why my neighbors dog doesn’t want to come inside my house as before. When she’s coaxed in she’ll sit on my feet and breathe nervously in my face until I take her back home. Nothing has changed in my environment but I wonder if she doesn’t want to be around my dog anymore? He doesn’t bother her then I thought maybe some spirit in there bothers her spirit making her extremely nervous.

  • Charles | 03/08/2022

    I also have a 10 month old Lab who used to follow me into my house. She would obey let’s go in Gracie. But for several days now refuses to enter my house. Once inside she is fine. But I have brought her back from a long walk and she refuses my command to come in. My AC is out but it has been out for a few months anI use fans to keep the house cool. She has been going in with the AC been off. It don’t seem to bother her inside. She lats on a cool mat. But getting her inside is hard. I have had to pick her up and carry her in. I was told by a Dog Trainer this is a behavior issue and I need to get her training on coming to me On command.

  • Jacolyn | 18/08/2022

    My In laws have an older husky, we do not know his exact age because he was a rescue, he used to love coming inside and almost hated going out. Recently out of the blue he never wants to return inside and almost have to force him inside and when we are able to get him Inside his one place to go to is the bathtub, it is the only comfortable place he will go and will never leave that spot. Getting him to come inside has been the hardest problem though.

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