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Training Tips

Day 1

dog with head through pet door eating a treat

Once the frame of the doggie door is installed, leave the flap off or tape it open at first. Have someone stay inside with your dog while you go outside. Call your dog through the "hole". When she goes through and comes to you, praise her lavishly and give her a tasty food treat. Now have your helper inside the house call the dog back through the "hole". When your dog follows the command, your helper should also praise lavishly and offer a treat. Do this at least three times, but not more than a dozen. After this, your dog will know that there is a special door just for her!

Leave the flap up or off for one full day. Encourage your dog to use the pet door by not letting them use the "real" door. Instead, you use the "real" door and say to your dog, "Go to your door", pointing in the direction of the doggie door. You may need a helper again to stand inside and help your dog find her way to her new door. After a half dozen times or so, your dog should treat this like a new game. If you have a very young puppy, do not expect them to learn "Go to your door" for many weeks. Give them the command in a happy, praising voice and have a helper show them where the door is every time. It usually works better for you to be outside and someone else to be inside to show them the door while you call them from outside. Never force or push your dog through the doggie door.

Day 2

dog walking through pet door with the flap down

One the second day, let the flap down. Now you will need to repeat the same exercise as when you first sent your dog through the "hole". This time the person on the same side of the door as the dog will need to push the flap open for the dog. Each time she goes through the doggie door, push the flap less and less for her. It is important that the dog gets used to the feel of the flap on the back of her head and body as she goes through the door. Eventually, the dog will need to push the flap by herself and she, like many dogs, may be hesitant to do this at first. She will probably put her nose down at the bottom of the flap and wait for the flap to move. At this point, push the flap slightly so that your dog can see it is a moveable object, let the flap bounce back to the closed position. Just poke the flap using quick, short movements. This gives the dog a glimpse of an opening and encourages them to poke the flap by themselves.

dogs admiring their new pet door

At this stage, some dogs begin going through the door with ease, others become quite excited, but still haven't figured out that they can push the door open. If your dog will not push the flap open by herself yet, try taping the flap open for another day or two, praising your dog each time you see her go through the doggie door on her own.

Always be patient with your dog and remember, never force her through the door and always praise her when she does it on her own.