Walks are often the highlight of our dogs’ days. They get to explore the world, do their business outside, and see – and sniff! – other dogs and people. Your dog may be having so much fun that they refuse to come inside after a walk. This is completely normal behavior – after all, when you were a kid, did you want to go inside after playing outside? Still, there are things you can do to encourage your dog to come inside after a walk.
If you take the same route every day, consider switching it up. Your dog will get to explore a new part of the neighborhood and all the sights and smells that accompany that. Dogs are intelligent, so they can learn the routes you take, and that specific points signal the fun is over. That’s when they start to resist. Your dog could start pulling or stop walking completely. Taking different routes can help curb these behaviors by breaking the routine.
Too, if you take your dog for a walk every day before you leave for work, they will learn that walking means that you are leaving. In their mind, they may think if they don’t go inside, you won’t leave them alone. If this is the case, you want to walk your dog without leaving so they know it is not always an indicator they will be left alone.
Many dogs are food motivated, so if you are looking to get them inside, you can offer a high-value treat to get them through the threshold – just make sure that you close the door before giving them the treat lest they dart back outside with the treat in mouth!
These should be treats unique to walk time, so they feel extra motivated to come in. To start, you can bring the treats with you. Slowly lure them towards the door with the treat until you can consistently get them inside. Your goal should be to only give the treat once your dog is inside as a reward for a good walk.
After a while, your dog will learn that at the end of a walk, they will get rewarded, so they will start to look forward to it instead of dreading it.
Teaching your dog simple commands like sit, stay, and come can be essential to getting your dog inside after a walk. Stubbornness can be innate, but properly training your dogs will help break them of bad habits.
After a walk, you train your dog to sit at the door. When they listen, give them a treat. Your dog will thrive under positive reinforcement, and this will encourage positive behaviors.
Your dog needs to learn that going inside is not always a bad thing. They are having a lot of fun inside, but they can also have just as much fun indoors – especially if there is food involved.