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Pet Door Training Made Fun and Simple

Open Up Their World

A pet door can provide your pet with a great sense of freedom - and give your family a much-needed break from being your pet's doorman. All dogs, puppies and cats can learn to use a pet door - and all can be trained in the same manner. In fact, most pets can be trained in a matter of hours.

Install the pet door correctly.

When you install your pet door, make sure you measure your pet from the floor to the lowest part of his stomach. This will tell you where to place the "bottom" of your pet door - an inch or two lower than the lowest part of your pet's stomach. If you have a puppy, install the pet door flush with the ground and re-install it at higher intervals at your puppy grows. Once the frame of the pet door is installed, temporarily tape the flap up to the surface in which your pet door is mounted.

Have a training partner (a family member or person familiar to your pet) stay inside with him while you stand on the other side of the door. Call your dog through the frame. When he goes through, lavishly praise him and give him a food treat. Now have the training partner call the dog back through the frame. When he goes, he should be praised him again and given another treat. Do this at least three times, but not more than a dozen. Let the pet become familiar with passing through the pet door with the flap up.

Make the training fun.

pet door trainingIn time, remove the tape and let the flap hang loose. Repeat the same exercise, but this time your training partner may need to "push" the flap open for him. Each time the dog goes through the door, push the flap less and less. It's important that your dog gets used to the feel of the flap on the back of his head.

Once he has begun going through the door, let go of the flap so he feels it on his head and body as he goes through. Eventually your dog will need to push the flap by himself. Of course, some dogs begin going through the door with ease, but others may take time to figure out that they can push the door open. With careful patience, your enthusiastic encouragement, and demonstrative praise, your dog should be able to push the flap open with no problem.

Before long, your pet will use his door with zeal, knowing it's his ticket to freedom!

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I got my dog when he was 4 months old.  He was born in a barn and never been around people. It has been a chalenge but now at 11 months he is almost normal.  What I mean is, it took me 2 months just for him to let me pet him.  Now, he loves to be petted and rubbed.  He loves when company comes.  He gets along well and adores the cat(his best friend) I still have some challenges however. I only had a leash on him 1 time when I first got him.  I needed to take him to the vet.  He about went crazy.  Hated it.  Finally got it off of him and after he settled down I “tricked” him into a kennel at which point my sister and I picked it up and put it in the back of my truck.  Which was not easy as at that point he weighed over 40 pounds.  The vet helped me carry the kennel inside.  Once inside the vet let him out and my dog was an angel.  The vet checked him from head to toe, gave him all his shots and the puppy didn’t so much as whimper.  The vet even opened his mouth and checked all his teeth!  At this point I was barely allowed to pet the top of his head.
Anyway a couple months ago I installed a doggie door.  After alot of encouragement he finally learned to go “OUT”.  He loves going out that door and the freedom it gives him.  He just runs thru it. However he will NOT come back “IN” for nothing and beleive me I am trying! He acts like his head will be cut off if he comes back thru.  He is very stubborn.  He has only learned 2 commands.  #1: If i say give me kiss.  I’ll lean down a little and he’ll rich up and give a little kiss.  #2:  If I tell him to go lay down.  He’ll go to his kennel and lay down.  Maybe not for long, but he will do it every time.  He will not sit or shake or any other simple command, no matter about treats or praise.  He just looks at me like, I’m not doing it. Once or twice he surprised me and lifted his paw to shake( while he was standing up ) and I had to give him a hug and a treat for that! He is just a big (65 pound) shaggy, laid back ole cow dog that I have grown to love very much, so if anyone has any pointers I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance. Janie

Janie: You sound like such a good dog owner to put give so much love to your dog. Have you tried treats or food to encourage him back through the door?

I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger
if you are not already ;) Cheers!

I wonder why the article states to do this procedure a couple of times but no more than a dozen. We are getting a pet door installed soon and will be our first one to install. I am trying to do some research before we get our door and our new puppy. Thank you for the article and for the useful information.

Hi Zach,

I think the author meant you should only need to do it 3-12 times, but you can repeat the procedure until your pet gets it. Some pets don’t need any training because they’ve used pet doors before. Others are more scared and need more practice.

If you need more info to help you pick a pet door, here’s another articles to help:

Good luck with your new pet door, and thanks for reading!

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