Do you have an active dog that's always on the wrong side of the door wanting to go in and out? Do you have a young puppy or older dog that needs frequent bathroom breaks? The idea of a dog door can sound appealing, but you need to know how to teach a dog to use a dog door and ensure that your pet will stay safely within the boundary of your yard before purchasing one.
It’s always a great relief to know that your dog can still use the bathroom and stretch their legs without a struggle. However, some circumstances make installing a dog door more problematic.
For example, you will need to consider what's the weather like where you live. Weather can be an issue if you live in a state where a lot of snow and heavy rain are prevalent. Bad storm can cause a problem when you have a dog door installed.
The wildlife in your area should also be considered. You don't want any uninvited guests coming through the dog door and entering your home. In Florida, for example, alligators have been known to come through dog doors. Yikes!
Fortunately, there's a way to avoid both of these issues, but that comes at a cost. More expensive dog doors will be weather-proof and have features that don't allow snow or rain get indoors. Other pet doors, particularly automatic dog doors, may have a pet microchip detector, meaning the dog door will only open for your pet with a microchip and nobody else.
Once you've done your research, looked at a number of different models and finally selected the dog door that is going to work best for your situation, you can check out our guides on how to shop for dog doors and how to measure your dog for a dog door.
How To Teach A Dog To Use A Dog Door
Initially, your pet might be confused or uninterested in their new personal door. You can easily teach him how to use the door in much the same manner that you would teach a puppy to climb stairs.
Start by leaving the pet door open and sticking your hand through it. Allow your pooch to see that it’s wide and accessible enough for them to fit through. Give your pup plenty of time to sniff the dog door and get used to this feature in your home.
Once your pet has had enough to sniff and get used to the door, you can start the training process. Go through your exterior doorway and shut it behind you. Stick your hand through the flap again, but this time from outside your home. Encourage your dog to come outside with you. Use a treat, if necessary, for an added incentive.
If you have a large breed dog and you bought a wide flap dog door, you might even be able to slide through it yourself and give your pet a visual example.
Stay Calm and Patient
Don’t get frustrated or try to force your dog to use the door. Pushing your pet through the opening will only further his fear and misunderstanding of this new exit. Using the dog door needs to be a positive experience for your pet from the very beginning. If you make it more traumatic than it already is, your dog may never get comfortable going through the door.
Take every possible opportunity available to help your pooch see this transition as a good thing. When it’s time to use the restroom or go for a walk, have your pup use his own door rather than your home's exterior door. Practicing this over and over again will help dogs adjust to the idea that this is just a normal part of their routine.
If your dog doesn't grasp the dog door concept immediately, don't worry. Most dogs don't. Just keep working on it, and your Fido will catch on sooner or later. be consistent and stay patient. If you begin to get irritated, your dog could sense it and become anxious or stressed.
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