As you may have already guessed, a dog door is a type of door that is designed so that a dog can head outside or come inside of a home on his/her own. A dog door is shaped mostly like a square and is installed within either a regular door or a wall at a home. Having a dog door is appealing to dog owners because if their dogs can get outside or inside on their own, then there won’t be any need to manually open a door every time a dog needs or wants to go outside or inside.
A dog door will be the most helpful to small dogs. That is because small dogs have smaller bladders which means that they will need to go and pee more often. That is important because you don’t want to risk your dog peeing inside your home. The problem is that your dog most likely won’t use the dog door when you first have it installed. So, you will want to know how to train your dog to use a dog door.
With that in mind, I have a few tips for how you can do so. But, before I get started, I would like to let you know that I recommend that you get an electronic dog door as it comes with a chip that can be attached to your dog’s collar. That will ensure that only your dog, and nobody else, can go through that dog door. That will stop potential invader animals such as raccoons from using the dog door to enter your home.
That will help to give you peace of mind about allowing your dog to freely use the dog door when you aren’t at home. When you are training your dog with using the dog door, be sure to disable the chip until he/she gets the hang of it.
1. Luring Your Dog Through The Dog Door
What you are going to be doing here is to lure your dog through the dog door from the other side. First, you will want to have treats with a strong scent for your dog. You can test for the treat’s scent strength by holding it with a closed hand. If your dog sniffs and then licks your closed hand, that likely means that he/she knows there is a treat inside. Hot dogs are a great treat that has a strong scent to it.
Now that you have the treats on hand, head outside through the regular door. Make sure that your dog clearly sees you going outside. Once you are outside, go to the dog door and fully open up the flap. Then call out to your dog by his/her name with an enthusiastic tone. If your dog comes outside through the dog door, go ahead and reward him/her with a piece of treat.
Be careful that you don’t drop the flap on your dog as he/she goes through the dog door as that may cause trauma for some dogs. With each successful training session, gradually lower the dog door’s flap opening. Your ultimate goal is to get your dog to go through the dog door without you having to open up the flap and call out to him/her. Try the same thing again, only this time, you are inside and your dog is outside.
2. Easing Your Frightened Dog With The Dog Door
It may be that your dog is too frightened to go through the dog door – some dogs are just like that. Here is how you can ease your frightened dog into using the dog door. First, you will need to take the flap off of the dog door. Once that is done, show your dog the treat. As soon as your dog sees the treat, hold it out right in front of the dog door to encourage him/her to come to it.
If your dog comes to the dog door, say the word “Yes” with an enthusiastic tone and reward him/her with the treat. As soon as your dog is comfortable enough to come to the dog door, you can move to the other side and be opposite him/her. Hold the treat through the dog door to encourage your dog to come to it. If your dog approaches the dog door, enthusiastically say the word “Yes” and reward him/her with the treat.
After successfully doing this a few more times, it is time for you to encourage your dog to get his/her head into the dog door. To do that, hold the treat in front of your side of the dog door. If your dog puts his/her head into the dog door, say “Yes” enthusiastically then give him/her the treat. Do this again at least ten more times.
Slowly move the treat backwards from the dog door each time in order to encourage your dog to put more and more of his/her body through the dog door. Ideally, you will encourage your dog to go all the way through the dog door before rewarding him/her with a treat. As soon as your dog feels confident going through the dog door, you can put the flap back on and follow the first training tip that I discussed earlier.
3. Pushing Your Dog Through The Dog Door
There is a chance that your dog isn’t scared of the dog door, but isn’t sure how to go through it. Bring your dog to the front of the dog door. Then warmly wrap your arms around your dog supported by a soft, soothing voice. That is to assure your dog that it is going to be ok. Once that is taken care of, gently push your dog through the dog door.
If your dog makes it all the way through the dog door to the other side, be sure to praise your dog with something like “good boy” or “good girl.” Then call your dog by name to come back through the dog door. If your dog obliges, praise him/her again and then reward him/her with a treat. After going through this training process for a few days, your dog will get the hang of it.
Also, if you would like, you can go through this training process with another person serving as a training partner. If this is the case, place yourself on one side of the dog door and your partner on the opposite side of it.
So, with that all being said, if you are looking for how to train your dog to use a dog door, these are the three tips I have for you. Also, if you are going to let your dog to freely use the dog door, make sure that your yard is secure with fencing in order to minimize the chances of your dog escaping from your home.
If you are looking for ideas for stopping your dog from jumping the fence, I encourage you to head here to check it out. What are your thoughts? Are you looking to encourage your dog to use a dog door? Feel free to leave a comment below.