Home » Blog » Training » My Dog Won’t Come Inside – Why A Dog Doesn’t Come When Called

My Dog Won’t Come Inside – Why A Dog Doesn’t Come When Called

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Are you always late for work just because your dog won’t come inside when you call him? Whether this happened for the first time today or your dog is a repeat offender, there is nothing more frustrating than being ignored by a dog. 

I’ll be honest with you, the first time my dog refused to come inside when called I raided the kitchen for the juiciest piece of meat I could find.

When that didn’t work, I begged, pleaded, and tried to entice my dog in all ways possible, and in the end, had to resort to chasing and grabbing him by the collar. 

My Puppy Won't Come Inside - Why A Dog Doesn't Come When Called - Golden Retriever puppy leaning back away like he doesn't want to come.
My Puppy Won’t Come Inside – Why A Dog Doesn’t Come When Called…

The whole process of catching my dog and bringing him inside the house was extremely frustrating and the only thing I could think about was I can’t deal with this ever again.

But the next day, my dog did the same thing! Needless to say, I was perplexed by my dog’s behavior and was desperate to find a solution.

If you have a dog who refuses to come inside when called, you aren’t alone. This is a common problem many dog owners face, but luckily, it can be corrected with the right approach.

In this article, I’ll list all the potential reasons why your dog doesn’t want to come inside when called and give you some ideas on how to fix these issues. 

Why Does My Dog Not Want To Come Inside?

Are you tired of coming up with excuses for being late to work just because your dog refuses to come inside the house when called?

If this is the case, you have probably already tried everything and even stooped so low to beg and plead with your dog to come inside. 

There’s no shame in admitting it, I was so desperate to get my new dog inside the house that I begged him to come, to no avail, might I add.

Obviously, the begging didn’t work for you too, since you are here now, desperately seeking a solution for your dog’s rowdy behavior. 

First thing first, to get your dog to come inside when called, you need to figure out why your dog wants to stay outside so much. 

Ask yourself, what is so darn interesting outside that your dog suddenly doesn’t want to come inside? Once you identify the possible cause, you can work on resolving the issue and stop being late for work.

Listed below are some potential reasons as to why your dog won’t come inside when called:

Your Dog Isn’t Getting Enough Exercise

All dogs love to be outside! Being outdoors gives your dog an opportunity to run and explore, chase after squirrels and birds, and sniff all those enticing scents.

In your dog’s mind, being outside is more fun and exciting than sitting inside the house all day long waiting for you to come back from work.

Your dog might be getting a lot of exercise and a lot of positive reinforcement when he is running in your backyard.

On the other hand, there isn’t much your dog can do once he comes inside except play a little, eat some food, and sleep a lot. 

It can be hard figuring out how much outdoor exercise your dog needs every day since not all dogs have the same energy levels.

Generally speaking, most dogs need from 30 to 60 minutes of exercise every day, but highly energetic working breeds will need more.  

For example, active dog breeds like Siberian huskies and border collies who were bred to work might need more than two hours of intense activity every day to stay physically and mentally stimulated.

On the other hand, a low-energy dog breeds such as a French bulldog might not need more than 30 minutes of light exercise every day. 

A high-energy dog that doesn’t get enough exercise from his daily walks and play sessions will have more fun outside compared to being stuck inside the house.

In your dog’s mind, staying outside means more fun, and going indoors means that fun will stop, so naturally, he will decide to stay out and have more fun. 

If lack of exercise is the cause of your dog’s reluctance to come inside when called, you should spend more time with him outdoors and reinforce a positive experience inside the house.

So, try to spend more time playing with your dog indoors and use puzzle toys to keep your pooch mentally stimulated. The goal is to show your dog that he can have as much fun indoors as he can outdoors.

Your Dog Doesn’t Trust You Enough

It’s not uncommon for shelter and rescue dogs to be apprehensive and refuse to come inside when called.

If this is your first week with a new puppy, you probably don’t know much about his history and how he was treated by previous owners.

In most cases, rescued dogs haven’t been inside the house before, let alone lived in one, and they aren’t used to anything else besides being outdoors. 

If this is the case, your new dog might still be wary and feel apprehensive when you call him to come inside.

There is a chance that the previous owner punished your dog for coming when called and now your pooch is afraid of coming near the front door and going inside the house. 

If you just adopted your dog from a shelter or rescue, know that he will need some time to bond with you and overcome his trust issues.

In the meantime, you can start working on solving the coming inside problem. Depending on your dog’s past, this might be a slow process, so arm yourself with patience and lots of treats. 

Instead of trying to catch your dog and pull him inside, start by calling him and tossing treats in his direction.

Regardless of what your dog does, don’t try to approach him; instead, keep backing up towards the house and the door. At one point, your dog will feel comfortable enough to come close and take treats from your hand, at which time you can practice a collar grab.

Keep practicing and rewarding your dog’s efforts as long as it takes.

Ultimately, your pooch will realize that you are nothing like his previous owner and he will start to trust you. And once that happens, he will come inside the house whenever you call him. 

Your Dog Spends Too Much Time Outside

Dogs are creatures of habit and can adjust to any type of lifestyle with time. So, if your pooch already spends most of the day outside in the backyard, it’s highly likely that he has gotten used to being outside.

Furthermore, your dog probably has a favorite sleeping, playing, and digging area in the backyard.

Since all of the things he needs are already outside, your dog doesn’t feel motivated to come inside and will most likely ignore your calls to come.

If this is the case, you will have to find ways to show your dog that he can feel more comfortable inside the house than outside. 

Make sure your dog has a cozy dog bed, lots of toys, and other interesting things that he can do and play with while he is indoors.

Once that is set, you should use treats and praise to entice your dog to come when called. While mastering the recall might take some time, your dog can learn obedience commands with patient and consistent training.

Please note, most dogs don’t simply choose to spend most of their time in the backyard; they do it because they were sent out by their owners.

You shouldn’t punish your dog for misbehaving inside the house by sending him out in the backyard for a time-out. 

Instead of sending your dog outside to reflect on the things he did wrong, you should spend some time teaching him what is acceptable indoor behavior.

By directing your dog outside, you aren’t giving him a chance to learn how to behave inside the house; instead, you’re encouraging him to get the most out of his time outdoors. 

Your Dog Doesn’t Get Positive Reinforcement Inside The House

If every time you call your dog to come inside is either time for a bath, grooming session, or a trip to the vet, you shouldn’t be surprised that your dog refuses to come inside.

Furthermore, your home might be too hot or cold for your dog or he might feel anxious around small children or too much noise. 

Whatever it may be the case, it is up to you to make your home more inviting for your pooch and full of positive reinforcement.

So, if your pooch is afraid of certain noises, try to eliminate them if possible or, at least, keep them at a minimum.

Furthermore, maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home – your dog shouldn’t feel too warm or too cold at any time. 

Make sure your dog has a quiet spot inside the house to retreat to if you have young kids who can get overly enthusiastic during play.

Ultimately, your home should be full of positive experiences and reinforcements if you want to make it more inviting for your dog.

Your Dog Has A Health Problem

While it might seem unrelated, many different health problems can be the reason your dog suddenly doesn’t want to come inside when called.

Generally, any sudden behavioral change can indicate that your dog is experiencing some type of health problem. 

If your dog starts to act differently and besides not wanting to come inside shows signs of lethargy, difficulty moving, or breathing, you should call your vet and have your dog checked out. 

Keep in mind, dogs who suffer from musculoskeletal diseases such as hip dysplasia, luxating patella, or intervertebral disc disease might have trouble getting up and walking.

Furthermore, all of these conditions can be extremely painful and limit your dog’s ability to move normally. So, before assuming that your dog is choosing to disobey you, make sure that he isn’t, in fact, sick and in pain.

Your Dog Has A Poor Recall

If you have ruled everything else as the possible reason for your dog’s reluctance to come when called, there is a chance that his recall needs improvement.

If this is the case, your dog isn’t disobeying you; he simply doesn’t understand what you are asking him to do. 

You shouldn’t completely dismiss the possibility that your dog knew the come command, but was at some point in the past punished when he responded to your recall.

If this is the case, your dog is conflicted every time you call him to come inside. While he understands the command “come,” he is afraid that he will end up punished again.

In both of these cases, you should stop using the come command and instead try other things that will lure your dog to come inside the house.

If your dog can see you from the outside, go straight into the kitchen and find a high-value treat for him.

Depending on your dog’s preferences, this can be a small piece of cheese, boiled chicken breasts, or anything that tastes enticing.

If your dog likes to play chase, let him run a few circles around your backyard before dashing back inside.

If all goes well, your dog will follow you inside the house, and, once he is there, you should keep him entertained; otherwise, he will just go back outside. 

Once your dog learns that fun things happen inside the house too and he starts coming in without being called, you can start working on his recall. Start training your dog the come command like he never knew it before. 

For the best results and perfect recall, use reward-based training and positive reinforcement techniques.

Ideally, you should have training sessions both inside your house and outside in a fenced backyard of a doggy park.

And until you are confident that your pooch has mastered the recall, keep him leashed to prevent escapes and possible traffic-related injuries. 

FAQs About Dog Suddenly Not Wanting To Come Inside

Why Doesn’t My Dog All Of A Sudden Want To Come Inside?

There are several potential reasons why your dog suddenly doesn’t want to come inside the house. 

Your dog’s reluctance to come inside might be due to a sudden change in the living environment. The dog might feel anxious inside your home if you recently did a complete renovation.

Or it might be as simple as cleaning the house with a new household cleaner that smells bad to your dog.

Furthermore, a dog can refuse to come inside when called if he is sick and in pain. If you notice that your dog acts out of the ordinary or shows any signs of illness, you should call your vet and take your dog for a check-up. 

What Do You Do When Your Dog Won’t Come Inside?

If your dog doesn’t want to come inside, instead of calling him over and over again, try to figure out why he doesn’t want to come when called.

Once you identify the underlying issue, you should do everything you can to resolve it. 

For example, your dog might not want to come inside because he isn’t getting enough exercise.

Instead of trying to force your dog to come, you should take him on longer walks, play with him more, and keep him mentally stimulated.

Once your dog’s exercise needs are met, he won’t feel the need to stay outside longer than necessary and will come inside the house when called. 

Why Does My Dog Ignore Me When I Call Him? 

If you are constantly repeating the same command to your dog without any specific consequence attached to it, you are training him to ignore you.

For example, when your dog comes when called and you don’t reward him, you are teaching him that there are no consequences attached to your command. 

The same thing happens when your dog runs back to you and ends up punished for some previous deed.

Punishing your dog won’t make him more obedient; instead, it will make him afraid of you and even more prone to ignoring your commands for fear of being punished. 


Every dog owner knows there is nothing as frustrating as having to beg a dog to come inside to avoid being late for work, three days in a row.

Being angry with your dog won’t fix anything, but figuring out why he wants to stay outside so much can help a lot. 

These are the most common reasons why your dog won’t come inside:

  • Lack of exercise and mental stimulating
  • Poor recall
  • Undiagnosed health problems

In the end, no matter how frustrated you are, don’t punish your dog if he doesn’t come inside when called! Instead, try to figure out why your dog doesn’t want to come inside and try to resolve the issue.

Are you having problems getting your puppy to come inside?

Have you found anything that’s working with your dog?

Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.

Save To Pinterest

My Dog Won't Come Inside What Should I Do? - Golden puppy sitting but leaning backwards

Top Picks For Our Puppies

    We Like: Beef Collagen Sticks - All of our pups love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Collagen Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
    We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
    We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.

Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.

Similar Posts


  1. I’m having a very similar issue. Did you ever get a fix for this situation. I don’t yell I don’t get angry she seems fine once she’s inside but she doesn’t actually want to get in the car. Have you found any solutions I’m in a similar spot I cannot afford anymore training et cetera this problem is fairly recent . This is a 11 month old golden retriever. Otherwise she’s a delight.
    I too have shed many tears and lost a lot of sleep over this.

  2. My dog is afraid of a lot of things. He’s a thick double coated mixed breed dog. I have tried treats, being super happy, playful, food, human food, and none of it works to get my dog to come inside. He’s afraid of the furnace kicking on, he’s afraid of strangers and delivery people, loud noises, tiny sudden noises, the word “food” (he was sick for months and I had a terrible time getting him to eat), afraid of wind storms, … I’ve given up. He seems to want to come inside but then he thinks again and turns away scared. I cry almost every day because he won’t come inside most of the time I try to call him in. He usually sleeps in bed with me but today he’s refusing to come inside. It’s already freezing outside and it’s not 9pm yet. My heart breaks for him. I can’t afford to hire a trainer or dog behaviorist. I’m truly broken over this problem. I feel like he’s afraid of me. I have no idea why.

  3. I have a 9mo old Jack Russell Terrier female. I also have a 7yo JRT Male. Bothe have been fixed. My puppy can go out on a lead and com3 back in fine, but when i let her out in the backyard which is fenced in, she refuses to come in when called. The only thing that works is to give her a few minutes to run then forcefully say to come and lay down. My older dog comes when called and i would think she would follow him but she doesnt. We had her on a run so i could pull the wire while enforcing the “come” command but that didn’t work. She is currently in training and does ok with recall on a lead but unleashed in the backyard is a nightmare. I’m at a loss.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.