A doggy door is a wonderful gift for your pooch and yourself. Your four-legged family member will have the freedom to go out and come back in again whenever they want, without having to wait for you to open the door, and you’ll no longer have to be a “doggy doorman.” But what if your pet is reluctant to use it?
Keep reading to learn all about doggy door training. We share the most common training challenges and our time-tested solutions. These training tips can help get your pooch more comfortable with their new private entrance.
There are several reasons why your dog may be hesitant to use a doggy door. They may have had a bad experience, or they may just be nervous about new things. A puppy will likely be more adventurous and quicker to try out a new doggy door than a timid senior dog.
Fortunately, there are highly effective methods you can use to train your dog on how to use a pet door:
When your dog wants to go outside, bring them to the door and have the outside person open the flaps toward themselves, encouraging the dog to go out. When they are ready to come back in, reverse this so that the inside person opens the flap to encourage them to come back into the house.
Have your pet’s favorite treat or toy waiting for them when they successfully use their doggie door. This rewards them for the desired behavior and is highly effective. Encourage and reward them verbally and with pets and hugs when they are successful.
Training flaps have slits and no strikes, so it’s easier to train a dog or cat to go through them. Training flaps are especially useful if the animal is timid and doesn’t like the noise that the regular flaps make when the strikes hit the magnets. See our temporary training flaps. The training flap is easy to take out when you’re ready to put the regular flaps in. Training flaps are made to order. To clean them, use diluted Simple Green or light dish soap.
Use constant repetition when training your dog so they understand and associate the pet door with freedom and convenience. Do this every time they want to go outside. This will also help alleviate the dog’s confusion about when to use the door.
Be patient. Some dogs will learn to use a pet door faster than others, and others may need more time and encouragement. Doggie door training for older dogs uses the same methods but may take longer.
Use this quick guide as a reminder of how to train your pet to use their pet door:
When your dog wants to go outside, gently lead them to the doggie door and begin by pushing it slightly open for them. It helps to have a second person outside with a treat or favorite toy.
To get your dog comfortable with a pet door, use positive reinforcement. It may help to start with training flaps that are easier to open until they feel more confident.
It may take a few days, though this depends on the dog. Some are more adventurous than others. Puppies tend to be fearless, while senior dogs may be a bit hesitant.
If your dog is still hesitant or fearful, training flaps may help. They’re designed with strips of similar material with no magnets and are easier to push open.
Rewards for using the doggie door are highly recommended. This can be a favorite food or a beloved toy and always reward them with petting and words of encouragement.
At Hale, we don’t just sell pet doors. We provide documentation on how to install the new entrance and how to train your pet to use it. See our installation instructions for step-by-step details on how to install flaps (and training flaps).
Hale Pet Doors are of exceptional quality, made from the best quality materials, and manufactured exclusively in our US-based factory with no outsourced parts. We provide personalized customer service before and after every sale, for your complete satisfaction.
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