Have you recently bought a doggy door? Here are a few dog door training tips that can make the training sessions more fun and rewarding.

Dogs can be skeptical and fearful of new things. If you’ve recently bought a doggy door and want to train your pet on how to use it, you will need some guidance. 

The good news is that most dogs will learn how to use the door with only one training session. They might not even need assistance from you. However, other doggies might experience fear or anxiety. 

Whatever the case may be, it’s critical that you remain patient and consistent in order to get the results you’re looking for within a week. Remember that your dog doesn’t understand what’s expected of him. He is clueless that he needs to push the door open to go outside. 

That’s why you have to make the training sessions interesting and rewarding. Here are a few dog door training tips!

sureflap dog door

How does a dog door work?

Doggy doors are small portals in a wall, window, or door. They are a kind of portal that lets your pet move freely in and out. By just pushing the flap open, your pet can get outside where he can run freely or get back inside where it’s comfy and warm. 

You can choose between a variety of dog door types. The most popular are:

Most importantly, pet doors are easy to install. The installation will only take a few hours and your pet will be walking through it in a matter of hours. 

Some of the benefits they bring include:

  • Undeniable convenience to you as a dog owner. Especially if you’re clocking long hours at work. 
  • Unlimited freedom for your dog. He can slide through the flap and get in the backyard when he’s bored. Once he gets tired, he can retreat into the comforts of your home. 
  • Mental stimulation for your pal. The outsides with all its smells and sounds can help your doggy stay alert and psychologically stable. 
  • Staying stimulated mentally will prevent your dog from becoming bored. There’ll be less chewed-on furniture, scratches on doors, and unrolled toilet paper on the bathroom floor. 

How long should the training sessions last? 

The sessions shouldn’t last for hours without end. Limit the training to ten minutes for a session. By doing so, you can prevent your dog from becoming bored and frustrated. They won’t be distracted by other tasks and will remain alert and active. 

It’s okay to have a few dog training sessions per day. But make sure there’s a rest period between them. 

small doggy door into sliding glass door

How do I train my dog to use a doggy door?

First, make sure that your yard is safe and secure

The outdoors are plentiful with dangers. Before letting your four-legged friend go outside, check whether your fencing is secure. Make sure there are no potential weak spots that could lead to an escape. If you live in a rural area, watch out for wild animals. Check for poisonous plants and chemicals as they can make your dog very sick. Clear the area of any small rocks, toys, or other debris that your dog could swallow.

Exercise with the doggy flap open

Begin the training session by removing the doggy flap from the door. If it isn’t detachable, tape it into an open position. Find a friend to help you with the training, preferably a friend or a family member. The helper can keep your dog company inside while you sit outside. 

One method is to call your pet’s name from outside and see how they respond. Have some dog treats in your hand as a reward. Treats can do wonders for teaching your pup some proper manners. 

He might run through the door, or he can be more fearful and retreat into his dog’s house. If he gets through the door, say “yes” and give him a treat. If he doesn’t want to go through on his own, your helper can gently push him from behind. Maybe your dog will come partway through the door. In this case, use positive reinforcement, but don’t give him the reward. It’s important to repeat this a couple of times and don’t do more dog door training that day.

Another method is the lure method. You can make a trail of dog treats leading from inside, through the doggy door, to outside. Or you can have your dog’s favorite treat attached to a toy. If your dog gets through the door, say “yes” enthusiastically and reward them. Repeat five to ten times. 

Exercise with the flap closed

On the second day, repeat one of the exercises with the flap down. Have your helper inside with the dog while you call him from outside. In the beginning, your friend may need to push the flap open before the dog goes through, but try helping as little as possible. Once he sees you, he might be less scared to get through.

While he goes through the door, have your helper slowly let the flap come down over his back. The puppy should get used to the feel and sound of the flap. 

Each time they go through the door, try helping less and less until he’s going through on his own. Repeat five to ten times. 

Add distance

You and your helper should start adding distance from the door as the dog gets used to the flap. But make sure you continue calling him from the other side or luring him with a treat. Every time he gets through the door, say “yes” and reward him with his favorite treat. Continue practicing until your pal is using the doggy door independently. 

Let him use the doggy door only

If you want to encourage your puppy to use the pet door more often, stop him from using the regular door. Place his potty outside the doggy door to teach him that he should use the flap. Another idea is to place his food on the other side of the door to motivate him to use the doggy flap more often. 

Be patient

This is probably the most important dog door training tip. Remain patient with your dog. Some dogs need plenty of practice before they learn and get used to a pet flap. Don’t push them through the door roughly. The best thing you can do is remain enthusiastic and reward him every time he makes an effort. Show him love and use a cheerful tone of voice. By doing so, he’ll know that he did the right thing. If your puppy is easily scared, use a soft tone of voice to calm him down. 

How do you train an older dog to use a dog door?

Step 1: Have someone to help you

When teaching an older dog to use a doggy door, it’s best if you have assistance. The ideal choice is the person who lives with you at home. 

Step 2: Take things slowly

An older dog who isn’t used to using a pet flap to go outside might be hesitant and resistant. He might find the freedom to go in and out as he pleases unfamiliar and scary. However, with a little bit of dog door training and positive reinforcement from your end, he’ll start using the door without fear or anxiety in no time. 

Take things slowly and avoid pushing them to use the door. Try not to scare him with the feel and sound of the flap. Don’t get angry if they don’t start using the door right away. You don’t want him to have negative emotions about the pet door. Positive reinforcement is the best way!

Step 3: Let your dog get used to the door 

Sit by the pet door and call your pet to join you. Offer him a treat every time he sniffs or it’s interested in the door. 

Step 4: Open the flap 

Your four-legged friend might be scared about what lies on the other side. To make him feel less anxious, open the flap using one hand so they can see what’s on the other side. You can do this sitting inside or outside. 

Step 5: Gently push or carry him through the door

If your dog is large, gently push him from behind to encourage him to get through the door. If he’s smaller, get your hands underneath him and carry him to the other side. 

Step 6: Give him a reward

Let your dog know that he did a great job getting through that door by giving him a nice large reward. It can be his favorite treat or his best-loved toy. 

Step 7: Try the other way around

Now that your dog has successfully passed through the door and is safely outside try the other way around. Call him to come back inside, using a happy tone of voice. Use positive reinforcement and offer him more rewards to entice him to use the door again. 

Step 8: Practice, practice, and then practice some more

Don’t stop practicing until your pal managed to use the doggy door on his own. Once you see that he can comfortably go in and out, pat yourself on the back because you’ve done it!

small dog door for glass

Summing Up

Training your dog how to use a doggy dog can be a wonderful bonding experience for the two of you. It can strengthen your relationship and bring lots of joy into the home. He will be happy with his newfound freedom, and you will get to enjoy the convenience of being a dog owner of an independent ball of fur.

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