Dog Behavior Question – My dog is afraid to come back inside at night

My dog is 1 and a half years old. We bought him when he was 3 months old. He doesn’t give us much problems. But during the night he will bark at the door to go out. Sometimes he sees a Rabbit to bark at or use the bathroom. But after about 10 mins we call him back to come him and everything seems fine but then he stops at the door outside and begins to cry afraid to come through the entrance. After about 30 mins we try and trick him with treats but it doesn’t work he just cries more. We try to grab him and bring him in but he runs away crying like we will hurt him. We have never hit or hurt him before. It is very odd this only happens at night. We are not sure what to do it is very frustrating and sad. Finally my daughter is fast enough to pick him up and bring him in and then hes perfectly fine. We are not sure what to do? During the day he walks in and out like nothing is wrong. Please help

Our Response

Thanks so much for your question – I will do my best to answer it. You are actually doing nearly everything right it just needs a couple of tweaks. I would start by not allowing your dog access to a window where he can see a Rabbit or anything to bark at. Start by only responding to your dog when he is quiet – this might take some time for a moment of silence but responding to a noisy dog by taking him straight outside will only reinforce that by barking he gets what he wants. You will need to start by attaching a leash to your dog and taking him outside – give him an allotted time and then bring him back inside. Practice this with the leash attached and when he is quiet bring him back inside (still attached to the leash). If you are able to have a light fitted outside this might make your dog feel more relaxed and reassured. The reason for the light is because he is fine when it’s day time but problematic when it gets dark and this might help – just a thought!