It is relatively common for households with cats to have a pet door, however our canine companions should not be overlooked! Dog doors are increasing in popularity for many reasons. A dog door gives your pet the freedom to come and go as they please.
This means that they do not need to “ask” to go to the toilet, or wait to be let out – resulting in a happier and healthier pet! You may also find that toileting accidents in the house are greatly reduced or eliminated altogether, and any damage caused by dogs scratching to be let out of doors will be no more.
How to Train your Dog to Use your Dog Door
Once you’ve bought your new dog door, the next step is to install it and then to train your dog to use it. You might be unsure of where to start, and worry that you may do the wrong thing, causing your dog to dislike their new door.
The team at Pet Tek are here to help, we have compiled a list of 5 tips to help you to train your dog to use your dog door and to ensure that they learn to love their new doorway to freedom!
- Familiarization: Before you remove the dog door from its packaging, allow your dog to smell it and become familiar with it being in their space.
- Installation: Make sure that your dog is not around when you install the door – any loud noises that occur may make your dog associate the door with feelings of fear, and will make it much harder for you to train your dog to use it.
- Positive reinforcement: If you teach your dog to associate them using their dog door with a reward they will be more likely to want to use it. See below for a video and step by step guide on the positive reinforcement method.
- Timing: You will need to begin training your dog when they are in a calm mood. Maybe after a short walk, or in between feeds. Also bear in mind the length of each training session, keep them short and fun for your dog.
- Consistency and patience: Use the same method during each training session for your pet so that they can keep practicing the same skill every time. Some dogs may take longer than others and this is ok, be patient and let your dog learn at their own pace.
Positive reinforcement method
The tips above give general information on how to train your dog to use their dog door. A tried and tested method of training is positive reinforcement. The video is a good example of using a reward to encourage your dog to use their new door. The following steps that accompany the video can be used to help you to train your dog to use your dog door.
- Decide whether your dog would prefer to go in or out – this will depend on the personality of the dog.
- Stand on the opposite side of the door to where your dog is and make sure that they know you are there waiting for them.
- Prop the flap open (this is not always necessary, but it is important to do so if you have a nervous dog)
- Put one of your dogs favorite treats just inside the door, close enough for them to see and smell it but far enough away that they will need to get completely through the door to pick it up.
- Call your dog and ask them to come to you – use a happy voice so they want to come and see what you’ve got for them!
- If your dog comes partially through the door, give them lots of verbal encouragement but don’t let them have the treat..
- When your dog makes it all the way through, ensure they can reach the treat and give them lots of praise.
- Practice a few more times and once your dog has mastered going one way, follow the same steps but going through the other way. This will teach your dog that the door works both ways!
- If you have propped the flap open, now is the time to try the same process but with the flap in place. This may take longer, and you may need to gradually lower the flap or hold it with your hand, to give your dog confidence that it won’t hurt them when it touches their back.
Remember tips 3, 4 and 5 – short training sessions are best. Keep sessions positive, consistent and be patient with your pooch!
Pet-tek International Ltd (PTIL) was established in 1999 to manufacture quality pet doors. All our products are manufactured with the emphasis on quality. PTIL currently exports to over 20 countries either to sole agent distributors or specialist end users of pet doors. If you are a wholesaler to the pet industry, glass industry, a DIY chain, garden center or a specialist pet door installer please make contact to obtain more distributor information.