Claustrophobic Dog

Updated on October 08, 2009
S.V. asks from Albuquerque, NM
9 answers


Now that it's getting cold, I'm looking for some ideas to keep my dog warm this winter. She is large and pretty much an outside dog - a bull in a china shop when she comes in. She has a great dog house. However, she refuses to go inside anything. She won't go in her crate in the house or her dog house outside. She gets so upset if you put her inside something like that she gets sick to her stomach. I worry about her getting cold as we can't leave her in the house uncrated. We've had trainers work with her - putting her food in the house and crate with no luck. She will grab a mouthful of food and run! Any ideas? I can't stand the idea of her being out in the cold!

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answers from Tucson on

I adopted a dog several years ago that is claustrophobic and afaid of sounds. He would not use the Dogloo I bought him or go in teh airline style crate. What has worked for him (after about a year and a half)is to have a dog house with a large opening - basically missing an entire wall instead of using a door sized cut out. Also the only way he goes in a crate is if it is a HUGE wire one that he can see out of, otherwise he throws up.
ALso it helped that we got a second dog who is less fearful - she will go anywhere. And the competition between them has led to him going in the dogloo and in the airline crate!

Good luck

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answers from Phoenix on

Do you bring her inside at night? As long as you do, then I wouldn't worry about her being cold, expecially as you say she's a large breed and I assume you live in Phx area, where it doesn't even get that cold. If she was really cold, I'm sure she would have the intelligence to go in her crate, especially if you put a blanket in it. However, it does sound like she needs more training if she creates such chaos that you can't let her inside. I had very good experiences with a dog trainer named Jewell.Her website is



answers from Tucson on

quit stressing the dog out by trying to force her into a small space - she will be fine outside - she has fur - get her a bed for outside that when she lays in will help insulate her from the cold - animals are supposed to be outside - bring her and her bed in at night when temps drop if you feel you need to and keep her quarantined to the kitchen or other appropriate area with a baby gate



answers from Phoenix on

I would still bring her inside, at least at night. If she's not inside often, she will probably romp around like crazy until she settles down. The more she's inside, the more normal it will be to her and the less excited she'll get.

If you are worried about her wandering around the house at night getting into stuff, I have a friend who puts a leash on her dog at night - one end to the dog and one end to one leg of the bed.

Another idea is a fenced dog yard in your house. My brother-in-law has one for his big dog - it's not all closed in, so maybe that wouldn't bother her. She might go into something like this easier if you have a place to set it up.

Another thing to try (which is expensive but saved us a ton of money on a lot of destroyed furniture, shoes, rugs, beds, etc.) is having a dog trainer from Barkbusters come over. I can't tell you how incredibly helpful this was! Literally changed our lives.

Good luck! :)



answers from Phoenix on

How about cutting out BIG side windows in her dog house so she can see all around her, and put down an old, big rug for her lay on? Perhaps leave one good corner for her to snuggle into. And then on really cold nights that are below freezing run a heat lamp out to her house, the kind used for reptiles, if the dog house is waterproof, with an extra dog proof blanket/sleeping bag. If she's that resistant to being enclosed, even in freezing cold, she must be OK with it.

You might also just put a leash on her in the house overnight. Place her in a safe, dog proof area of the home or garage just overnight until she can go back out during the day.

We used to have an outside dog, who came in at night just to sleep on her special bed, no crate. I'd sit next to her and rub her and make her feel all loved and off to sleep she'd go for the entire night. It took practice. In the beginning she'd try to go around, but with a stern voice she'd go back. She got it.

Best of luck,



answers from Phoenix on

Have you thought about putting her in the garage at night? I assume that's the time of day you're most concerned about...



answers from Phoenix on

I have a question....what do you do about the heat? It gets far hotter here than it does cold. I would be more inclined to bring my pets inside during the day in summer than I would be leaving them out in the cold during the "winter".

Patience is the key to training any dog. I would start small. You say she has already worked with trainers. So get some SMALL treats that you know she really likes and run through the tricks she already knows, like "sit" and "down" Work with her right in front of her dog house. Go slow and don't try to force her into it. If you have done this in the past she may be too traumatized and you might need to get a new house for her. Something new might make it better. Anyway....get her to lie down in front of it and the whole time she is there without freaking out...she gets a treat. Increase the time she lays there...maybe add a special blanket outside of the doghouse and train her to lay on it by saying "go to bed" and the minute her paw touches the blanket you give her a treat then work up to waiting until she lays down on it after you say "go to bed".

Hopefully you see where I am going with all this and eventually you could get her to willingly go into the house and stay there. Now if she is a really large dog, the house might be too small. My aunt had great danes and she used a small shed as their dog house. That way they had plenty of head room as well as turn around room. She just took the door off.

Good Luck.

Mom of two kids, three dachshunds, two black cats, and one tortoise point himalayan.



answers from Flagstaff on

I have 3 dogs who are mostly outside dogs because they, like your dog are like a bull in a china shop when they come in. We leave our side garage door open so the dogs can come into the garage to get out of the cold or heat. If this is an option for you I would suggest doing that then you don't have to worry about your dog not wanting to go inside a crate or kennel.



answers from Phoenix on

I would not worry about her being cold. Dogs were always naturally outdoor pets. In the summer dogs will shed their coats to stay cool, in the winter they grow more. When I was a kid I lived in Upper Michigan where the temps got below freezing, and all of our dogs were fine outdoors, they bury them a place in the ground to stay warm or even cool. Course if she got cold enough she would definitely go into her doghouse. But if you are in AZ, I wouldn't worry about getting that cold where she would not be able to cope. For starters what kind of dog is it and do some research to see how well your dog can cope in cold weather. I am a firm believer that all big dogs should be outdoor dogs, they feel so much freedom when they are able to run around and well be dogs.
Hope this thought helps you.

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