Hi,
We've just installed a dog flap on the front of our dogs' kennel to keep them a bit warmer through the winter.. but the problem our two characters are now not going into the kennel at all!! We're not sure whether their scared of it or what the problem is! Its one of the quiet action flaps, with a transparent plastic front so they can see out when their in the box.
We have coaxed Finch (the golden retriever) into the kennel via throwing in a few treats, which he does and go in and get but comes out again straight after thinking this is a fun game! But stella (collie x spaniel) will not even do this, she is scared of anything and has been even more hesitant about going in. We've managed to get her to go in once or twice but its basically to just get the treat we've put inside for her.
The dog door was installed on saturday morning and it is now Monday evening and the dogs have yet to sleep in their box since, the past couple of nites when we looked in on them they were sleeping on the porch in front of their kennel!
Anybody have any ideas on getting our dogs to use the flap?? Cos it will be so much warmer for them through the winter.. is it just a matter of giving them another few days to get them used to the new door, or are there any tips or tricks anybody could advise from a similar situation??
Any help will be greatly received!
Hi, We've just installed a dog flap on the front of our dogs' kennel to keep them a bit warmer ... or are there any tips or tricks anybody could advise from a similar situation?? Any help will be greatly received!

There could be several reasons. Things like:
-feeling too confined
-feeling too restricted hence unsafe
-need more time to get accustomed
Dogs can be very particular about their spaces. They tend to choose their sleeping spots with alot of thought given to their ability to protect & defend themselves. If a dog feels cornered or inhibited when it comes to this then he won't choose that place to relax anymore.

You can wait another day or two but if its really that cold then take the flaps off so the dogs will go into their houses and out of the elements.

Tara
Anybody have any ideas on getting our dogs to use the flap??

Just keep on doing what you're doing, with the treats, etc. Just be aware that any sort of doorway is a vulnerable spot for dogs, so it may take a while before Stella is confident that there's nothing to be nervous about on the other side.
Cos it will be so much warmer for them through the winter..

I can think of another place that's much warmer than an outdoor kennel.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
I can think of another place that's much warmer than an outdoor kennel. Matt. Rocky's a Dog.

Indeed. I can't fathom why I'd have a dog if I made them live outdoors. Particularly very "people" breeds.
If dogs are made to live outdoors, locating a dog house properly (with other shelter, where wind can't get in), filling the house with warm bedding, and providing more windblock as the OP has attempted in the form of a flap, all can HELP the situation. A pair of flaps that split in the middle may seem less threatening to some dogs.
Wouldn't it be nice if everyone heeded common advice of "bring your pets in when it's cold"? Some people cover/bring in PLANTS before they'll bring in what should be a family member.
Windy and cold here today, and we're all toasty indoors. Can't imagine it another way..
Janet Boss
http://bestfriendsdogobedience.com /
Hi, We've just installed a dog flap on the front of our dogs' kennel to keep them a bit warmer through the winter.()

David, perhaps you could trade your retrievers in on a couple of wood frogs?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/mmedia/nation/120904-12v.htm

"Th(e) wood frog, which lives in woods all over the Washington area and ranges as far north as Alaska, is one of a few animals with the ability to freeze solid during the winter and thaw out again unharmed."
Just let them freeze solid during the winter, and then thaw them out again in the spring.
Voila!
Wood frogs aren't very good at retrieving, and they're not very affectionate (unless you happen to be a beautiful princess), but they're very, very tasty!
Bon Appetit!

Handsome Jack Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to reply by e-mail
*^@! ze French!
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=13932 French Seething Over Chicken Joke

France.
Anybody have any ideas on getting our dogs to use the flap?? Cos it will be so much warmer for ... them used to the new door, or are there any tips or tricks anybody could advise from a similar situation?

I suggest moving the flaps. If the flaps led into the nice warm house where the people are sleeping, the dogs will be far more likely to use them and stay in the house.
Lia
Anybody have any ideas on getting our dogs to use the flap??

Here's what I'd try.
Find some way to fasten the flap so that only part of it is over the door. Choose an amount of flap that they have no problem using - even if it's initially only 1". It's perfectly okay to encourage it by throwing treats in there.
When they're not even noticing it, add another inch. When they're not noticing that, add another inch. Ad infinitum.
The key is to go slowly. Don't add more flap to the door until they're completely used to the amount they have.

Family Dog Trainer
"It's A Dog's Life"
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html Get Healthy, Build Your Immune System, Lose Weight http://www.re-vita.net/dfrntdrums
I had an Irish Setter years ago who would not for the life of us leave anything over the entrance to his box no matter how cold it got. We tried everything you could think of and he would always tear it off. We even took one of those heavy tractor and trailer mud flaps and put over the door and I'll be darned if he didn't work it loose. We finally got him to let a covering on the box as long as it did not cover the whole door and we left about 3 inches at the bottom for him to poke his nose out of.

Maybe if you shorten it you might get the dog to go in an stay inside. If nothing else works remove it and try just putting some burlap or something light weight over the opening. Once she's used to it go back to the heavier door.
Celeste