By Robin Hawn Rhea, Senior Brand Manager
Every day we receive emails, calls tweets, pictures and posts from enthusiastic pet owners that have a great experience with our products. Of course, we love to hear great things from our customers but there is nothing like experiencing a positive change in your own life with pets to make you feel like a proud pet owner.
It’s evident that my French bulldog Buckley has always longed to have a yard she could explore, bask in the sun, roll around and be a dog in her own right. My family and I recently moved into a house that has a yard, and I wanted to give her access to it with a pet door and a containment system. However, I can now relate to anyone concerned that their pets won’t use a pet door for one reason or another. I’m ashamed to admit this, but I was concerned my dogs might not be able to “get it.” I thought, “sure it might be a little more convenient to have a dog door, but a bulldog is too stubborn to go outside to potty without my reminding them.”
I’m grateful to say that my dogs proved me wrong. We gave our dogs the access and freedom we all wanted in under an hour with a PetSafe Freedom Patio Panel Door and a Stay + Play Wireless fence. In less than a week my dogs were also taking themselves out to potty without being reminded. I’m not exaggerating when I say the experience has changed our lives with our dogs.
Installation and Training
I’ve had the unique experience to install a lot of pet doors while shooting PetSafe How-To and Installation videos. It’s been educational, but I’d never installed the PetSafe Freedom Patio Panel Door , and it is super easy. The convenience of the easy install means you can have the door in place when you need it. You can simply remove it if you happen to move, want to take it to a vacation home or if you’ll be away from your house for an extended period of time. It’s a highly functional design that allows you keep the use of your patio door while very simply and cleanly adding a pet door to your home.
All dogs are different, but being consistent is the best way to ensure your dog learns to use a pet door. We always suggest that pet owners tape the flap on their door up, and encourage their pet to go through the door and use praise and treats as reinforcement. I taped up the flap on our door and became my dogs’ biggest cheerleader. After a day of training, I let the flap fall on their backs and then just helped them push it open. Then I’d call them through the door without giving any help.
When One Door Closes Another One Opens
In an effort to try to get my dogs to understand that the door was a part of process, we taught the command “door” to go in and outside, and then we also reinforced “go potty outside.” We showered the dogs with praise and treats each time they did either “door” or “potty outside.” When they did both, it was an extra big deal. The first time they did it without being reminded (I could hardly believe it), we were over the top with the positive reinforcement.
Closing the door on a happy ending
Now Buckley and Finn love their yard; they play and sun bathe, and potty on their own. I charge their Stay + Play collars for 2 hours every couple of weeks, and I use the closing panel or remove the door when I don’t want the dogs to be able to go out. It is so easy, and we absolutely love it. It’s the same story we tell over and over again, but it never ceases to make me smile. And in the end, I can enjoy my dogs more now, and my dogs can enjoy the outdoors. I can tell they are happier, and that is the door that I ultimately wanted to open.