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Pet Door Concerns

Pet Door Concerns and Solutions

HALE PET DOOR was originally HALE SECURITY PET DOOR and we still take all issues with pet access and security very seriously.  We also try to look at all issues practically and realistically.  

Many people ask us why we don’t manufacture or offer electronic products as they would seem the obvious solution to many of the issues people experience with pet doors.  Over the years, as we have developed our own electronic products and tested many other electronic products, we find that anything electronic does not realistically offer long term solutions to the problems and in fact can contribute additional problems.  No matter whether the electronic pet door is magnetic, controlled by an RFID chip, or motorized, etc., they are not foolproof and in fact can cause additional issues not encountered with manual pet doors.

We try to look at the issues people face and address everything realistically, practically, and economically. That definitely means non-electronic solutions (which have a tendency to fail) and in many cases, training or behavioral modification solutions that don’t require purchasing any product but rather an investment of time on the pet owner’s part can be the best solution.

The following is a list of concerns, questions, problems or issues we have encountered and the solutions we have developed over many years not only in the pet industry but also as pet owners and pet lovers.

Concerns Involving Animals

Concerns Involving Other People or Security

 Concerns Involving Weather or the Environment

 

  • I have indoor cats getting out through the pet door I installed for the dog.
    • Many people think that this would be an obvious and perfect situation to be solved by an electronic pet door. The dog(s) that you want to have access to the outdoors wear a collar to activate the pet door whenever they approach and any cats or other dogs that you don’t want outside don’t have a collar, so the pet door stays closed when they are near it, and they can’t get outside. 
    • Google “cat escaping through pet door” and you will find many results for forums, questions, tips, and of course, sales pitches for electronic doors. If you look at the forums and questions you will see that many cats are smart enough to either sit by the pet door and wait for the animal with the collar to approach the pet door or else they follow the animal as it walks around. When the pet door opens for the dog, the cat runs out at the same time.  Then the dog can come back in the house as it pleases and the indoor cat is actually locked out of the house.  Not a good solution!
    • So what to do instead. The best solution is behavioral modification and training of the cat so they aren’t interested in going outside in the first place.  If you have a new or young cat who has never been allowed outside, the best answer is to never let them out even when you are around. If they don’t get used to going outside, they don’t usually want to go outside. 
    • But what if you have a cat that is already used to going outside and wants to continue? You need to make going outside unappealing to them.  Cats actually learn very quickly and tend to avoid unpleasant situations.  Cats are usually scared of loud noises.  One of the best ways we have found to prevent the cat from using the dog door is to use avoidance training (such as startling them) when the try to use it. 
      1. The easiest way to accomplish this is to work with another person.
      2. One person goes outside next to the pet door with two pot lids, or a piece of metal and a hammer, or anything that will make a really loud, repeated noise.
      3. Stay out of sight of the pet door. (If the cat associates the noise with a person and not the pet door, the training will be ineffective.)
      4. Have the person inside communicate with the person outside that the cat is attempting to use the pet door.
      5. As the cat approaches the pet door, bang the pot lids together (or whatever you are using) repeatedly to make a loud, unexpected noise and scare the cat.
      6. Most of the time the cat will pull back quickly from the pet door to get away from whatever is outside.
      7. Depending on how persistent the cat is, this may only need to be done one time or it can be repeated until the cat stops attempting to use the pet door. Make the area near the pet door an uncomfortable place for the cat.
      8. Consistency is the key. Don’t EVER let them outside. Scare them EVERY time they try to use the pet door. Don’t make the outdoors appealing. 
      9. If possible, you can also setup something in another part of the house that is appealing to the cat so they avoid the area of the pet door altogether, even inside the house. Maybe you can build a shelf in a window sill that looks out on a bird feeder, or put a bed in a sunny place with their favorite toys or treats to encourage them to make that area their own and avoid the dog’s area.

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  • I am worried about wild animals gaining entrance through the pet door.
    • Wild animals vary greatly in different parts of the country from insects to rodents to raccoons to bears and more. People are understandably concerned about such animals gaining access to their home through a pet door.  Hale Pet Door addresses these concerns in various ways.
    • First, our pet doors are designed to seal very tightly. We use heavy pile weather stripping and strong alnico magnets. Therefore, insects and small animals cannot push their way in through the pet door. Since the flaps are also sealed and do not hang open, larger animals do not see an opening to get started. Most animals need a little conditioning to get used to using a pet door and won’t push against something that isn’t already open and easily accessible.
    • But what about larger animals like raccoons who might scavenge around your yard? The main things that would attract larger animals to your home are the availability of food and water.  Many people will place the pet food and water bowls right near the pet door either inside or outside the home.  While this makes it convenient for your pet, it also makes an appealing target for a wild animal.  According to animal behavioral/training specialists, raccoons can be very determined and smart animals and will spend hours figuring out how to open even complex locks.  Therefore, the simplest (and most economical) solution is to not make the area appealing to them in the first place.  Keep all human and animal food and water sources away from the area of the pet door so the smell does not attract any attention.  If you are still concerned, some of our customers have placed a security barrier in front of the pet door with a dark flap on it to make a dark box that wild animals are more wary of entering. For detailed information about our security barrier and how dogs use it, please click here.

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  • I have an extremely assertive cat who is still using pet door.
    • If you have already tried the behavioral modification training we recommend to prevent your indoor cat from using the pet door and they are still getting outside regularly, you can add another layer of deterrent to help alleviate the situation.
    • Since most pet doors have clear flaps of one sort or another, the cat can easily see outside and be attracted or curious about things outside the pet door. They also watch the dog going in and out and especially if they are used to going outside or are assertive they may continue to try to get out. 
    • A solution to this situation is to add a security barrier or dog house outside the pet door with an additional pet door on the outside with a dark flap on it. For detailed information about our security barrier and how dogs use it, please click here.
    • This can help in two ways. First, with the dark flap on the exterior entrance to the security barrier, when the cat looks out into the barrier they see a dark box which is not appealing to enter.  Many times this by itself is enough to deter the cat from wanting to go outside.  Second, if they are assertive enough to continue to try to use the pet door and enter the barrier, this provides another opportunity for training.  While the cat is inside the barrier and before they have approached the exterior entrance, beat on the top of the barrier again causing a loud noise that will scare the cat.  Since they can’t see you and associate the noise with anything visible, they learn to associate the noise with entering the barrier and avoid that in the future thus providing an extra layer of protection before they could get outside.

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  • My cat used to be allowed outside through the pet door but now he is (older, declawed, sickly, etc.) and I don’t want him using the pet door anymore.
    • Behavioral modification training is still the best solution in this situation. It may take a little more training time and patience to retrain a cat that is used to going outside but by following the various suggestions given above for training cats to avoid the pet door, you can usually successfully retrain any cat to avoid going outside through the pet door.

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  • I have a big dog and I am concerned that a person could crawl through a large pet door.
    • This is certainly an understandable concern but again an electronic pet door is again not necessarily the solution.  The dog wearing the collar which opens the door could be lured to the area of the pet door with a treat of some sort and when the door opened the dog would be distracted and enjoying his treat while the person crawled in through the open pet door.
    • When your large dog is not at home protecting your property, you can easily insert our security cover on the inside of the pet door to prevent any access.  We have had reports of people trying to break in who couldn’t get in through the pet door and resorted to some other means of entry.  We have even tested the durability of our covers by shooting them with a shotgun and they have not allowed any entry.
    • If you are concerned about human intrusion but still want to allow your dog access to the outdoors (such as during the day when you are at work), you might try adding one of our security barriers to the exterior of your pet door.  This is designed to look like a simple dog house sitting next to your home but in reality it camouflages and hides the pet door from view as well as making it physically challenging for a person to access the pet door.  First it hides the pet door, and since it is attached to the ground or to your house the person cannot reach the pet door.  Second, if they try to crawl through the security barrier into the pet door, the internal divider provides an obstacle that they cannot crawl around while the dog can easily wind his way through the interior of the barrier and reach his pet door.  We offer many variations and options for aesthetics and additional security as desired including steel interior frames, roof alarms, and more. For detailed information about our security barrier and how dogs use it, please click here.

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  • I don’t want the pet door to be visible in my wall from the outside for security or aesthetic reasons.
    • You can easily add one of our custom security barriers to the outside of your home in front of the pet door.  This hides the pet door from view and prevents people from being able to crawl through the pet door.  It is designed to look like an ordinary dog house but our roofline and finish options can make it look like a garden bench, a planter, a storage bin, etc. For detailed information about our security barrier and how dogs use it, please click here.

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  •  I like your idea of using a (dog house, planter, patio table, storage bin, garden bench, etc.) to hide my pet door but I already have my own (dog house, planter, patio table, storage bin, garden bench, etc.) to use to hide the pet door but I want additional security. Is there anything I can add inside or behind my (dog house, planter, patio table, storage bin, garden bench, etc.) to prevent someone from just crawling through it?
    • Hale Pet Door manufacturers a simple security barrier that is a metal grid work that can be attached to the ground in front of the pet door.  The size of the barrier is made to coordinate with the size of the pet door and the distance from the pet door is determined by the size of your dog.  Since a human cannot squeeze between or over the barrier, you can install our simple security barrier to prevent access to the pet door and install your dog house, etc. over or in front of the barrier to make an aesthetically pleasing camouflage for your pet door. Please click here for more detailed information about the simple security barrier.

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  • I am concerned about intrusion through the pet door but I have limited space outside my house wall for a barrier.
    •  Hale Pet Door can also provide a simple security barrier that while visible outside your pet door takes up very limited space.  It is designed to be installed into the ground or floor in front of your pet door providing just enough space for your dog to wind around it and enter the pet door while preventing a human from squeezing behind it and trying to crawl through.  Please click here for more detailed information about the simple security barrier.

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  • I live in a very cold or hot climate and I am concerned about cold or hot air leaking in through the pet door.
    • Hale Pet Doors are designed to be extremely energy efficient.  All of our pet door flaps are made of a high quality PVC vinyl which are surrounded by a thick plush nylon pile weatherstripping to prevent air leakage around the edge of the flaps.  Additionally most of our pet doors come with double flaps.  This traps air between the flaps and provides an extra layer of insulation. If the pet door is installed properly, the flaps hang level and attach to the magnets in the frame, there is virtually no air leakage with a Hale Pet Door.

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  • I live in a very wet climate and I am concerned about water getting into my wall through the pet door.
    • Water intrusion can be a major concern for homeowners when initially ordering a pet door.  All of the standard components of our pet door are designed to prevent this from occurring.  For example, the higher quality magnets catch the flaps and close them quickly.  The flap material itself is flexible to allow for easy pet access but rapid closure afterward.  The edges of the pet door around the flaps are lined with weather-stripping to prevent water intrusion between the magnets.  However, Hale has taken extra steps to ensure that water intrusion will not be an issue.  

      Hale Pet Door™ was the first company in the pet door industry to offer a water containment and diversion system for our pet doors with our raincap and flashing attachments. Other companies have since copied portions of our design, but we are still the original.

      Our company is proud to offer a raincap for our door and wall models to help prevent water intrusion into the pet door. The raincap is available in our four standard colors to match the exterior frame of your pet door. It is standard on our wall model and optional on our door model because most doors are under some sort of eave or awning and more protected than pet doors in a wall. The raincap is an awning like attachment that hooks onto the top edge of the outside frame and helps protect from water intrusion into the pet door itself. The top of the raincap and both sides of the pet door should be caulked during installation to prevent water from entering in behind the frame of the pet door.  The awning like design of the raincap will then shunt any water running down the wall out away from the pet door.  You can view of picture of a pet door with an installed raincap here.

      Also exclusive to the Hale Pet Door Wall Model is a “flashing” attachment that is caulked into place under the tunnel to help prevent water intrusion into the house wall.  Should any moisture enter the pet door for any reason (i.e. wet carpet from the pet’s feet) the flashing will divert it back outside and not allow it to enter into the house wall.

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  • I live in a very windy climate and I am concerned about the wind blowing my pet door open.
    • Hale Pet Door has designed its pet doors to be very energy efficient and self-sealing.  We use Alnico magnets which are stronger than regular graphite magnets for better sealing capabilities against the metal strikes on the flaps.  Many pet doors only have a magnet or catch at the bottom of the flap but on our 10 largest sizes (Tall Small Medium and larger) we also have magnets at various locations on the sides of the flaps to provide extra sealing capability to the  edges of the flap.

      If you live in an extremely windy location and are still concerned about the flap blowing open, we can add additional strikes and magnets to your flap to provide even more protection.  Something as simple as a dog house or barrier placed outside the pet door as a windbreak can solve  your wind problem.

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