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Train Your Dog To Use A Dog Door

 by jaime on 03 Nov 2014 |
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We've previously told you 5 things to consider before buying a dog door, but now we're going to show you how to train your dog to use one!

Dog doors are a great addition to any home, particularly when trying to toilet train a puppy - as you can imagine a dog door is a welcome convenience. There are various approaches you can take when it comes to training your dog, so it's up to you to choose the method that will work best for you and your dog. The following is a standard and effective way to get your dog to come through a dog door with total ease.

1. When you start training with a door, be careful to not allow the flap of the door to hit your pooch, as this may cause a negative association, deterring your dog from going near the door again. When starting out, it's a great idea to tape the flap of the door completely open.

2. It's a great idea to have a second person on hand to help with supervision and training. Each person can remain on either side of the door and take turns calling your dog through. It's also helpful if your dog is prone to accidents inside the house...

3. To make success more likely, assess where your dog generally prefers to spend their time - inside or outside. Whatever the preference is, start your dog in the opposite location to make the idea of going through the door even more appealing.

4. Start with the flap up and call your dog through. Make sure your voice sounds positive and enthusiastic!
5. When your dog makes it through the door, be sure to provide plenty of praise, basically a huge fuss, so your dog knows in no uncertain terms that going through the door is the greatest thing to do!

6. When training, short, energetic sessions are preferrable to one long one, so your dog is less likely to burn out.

7. Once your dog is going through the door, lower the flap to halfway. It's important that during this time to keep encouragement flowing, because your dog may be feeling unsure of the flap and become disturbed.

8. After reaching each milestone, continue to lower the flap until your dog has to push through the door on their own.

9. When you have all the pieces of the puzzle together, and your dog is confidently pushing through the door, both ways, you need to train them to come through the door without you calling them. An easy way to achieve this is by standing on the other side of the door to your dog and start doing some activity that will be really enticing to your dog.

Extra tips
  • Adding treats to your praise routine, works like a...treat!
  • If you are the owner of a small-medium sized dog and are of a brave disposition, you could adopt a different method where you gently push your dog through the door. If you decide to do this, remember to ALWAYS praise them, ALWAYS be gentle and STOP what you're doing if your dog is stressed or unhappy.
  • If you have a dog in your home that already uses a door, or if you can borrow a dog that can, getting them to lead by example is a great and easy way to train your dog.
  • If you use a crate then use it to your advantage when you start training your dog. Even before buying and installing a dog door, leave the door of the crate open so your dog can get used to the concept of having free access.
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