Getting a pet door fitted is the best thing an owner could do for his/her dog. This is because it gives your dog the freedom to go outside, especially when they need to get access to their outdoor toilet. You no longer have to wake up early to let him out or worry about waking up in the middle of the night for a potty break. Also, if you are working and will be out of the house for long hours, it would only be wise to train a dog to use a pet door and go outside if he needs to stretch his legs or answer nature's call. Training a dog to use a dog door involves helping your dog understand the door is for their own good. Some dogs maybe scared to use the dog door initially, but will soon realize this is the best way to go outside.
How to Train Your Dog to Use a Pet Door?
After you install a pet door, it is important to start training your pet immediately. Bring your pet near the door and allow him to sniff the door and explore it. Then you can leave him inside and you go outside. You can even ask a family member or friend to wait outside the door. Then, lift up the flap all the way up and talk to him excitedly. Refer to the pet door as 'your door' when addressing the dog. Ask your friend on the outside to call the dog. If the dog goes ahead and is in two minds whether to go out or not, encourage him to go ahead by giving him a gentle push. If he makes through the door, praise him excessively and give him dog treats. Now, repeat the same exercise the other way round. If you are inside the house, call him in. Pull up the flap all the way up and encourage him to come in through the door. Once he does, praise him and reward him. Try this exercise for 3 or 4 times. Repeat the same exercise after some time. During each exercise session, make sure you lift the flap up less and less. Do this up to a point where you find the dog is pushing the door on his own. After you judge that the dog is able to come in and out of the door by pushing it on his own, stop calling out his name. Instead try to play with his favorite toy while you are inside or place his food bowl somewhere near the door. This will force him to come through the door and join you in play or eat up his meal. After a few time, he will learn to use the door on his own.
How to Train a Nervous Dog to Use a Pet Door?
In majority of the cases, dogs learn to use the pet door within 3 to 4 days. However, there are small dogs or sometimes a bit anxious dogs who are scared of the uncertainty on the other side of the door. Such dogs need your patience. Do not punish or force the dog to use the door. It will just build up negative feelings and experiences in the dogs mind. Thus, he will avoid learning or coming near the pet door. You obviously don't want this to happen, therefore try method 2 for training a dog to use a dog door. When you bring your dog to the pet door, push him gently towards the door. Make sure you do this nicely. If he still whimpers or does not want to go out, prepare a nice bowl of his favorite meal in front of him. Take the bowl and keep it outside the door. If the dog wants his meal, he will have to pass through the pet door. The food bowl will lure him to go outside and feed on his food. If the dog does not move out within 30 minutes of keeping the bowl outside, you may have to try a new trick. You need to take plenty of scented food treats in your hand and entice your dog with it. Then take these treats and hide them around the yard outside. If he wants the treat, he will have to come out of the pet door. If the dog does not come out on his own, you may call out to him and play around with children. This will surely get him excited to come and join the play. Thus, he may muster up some courage and run through the pet door.
As you can see, when training a dog to use a dog door, there are three important factors to be kept in mind. These include training should be fun, rewarding and exciting. When you are excited about the new door and encourage the dog to use the door, he will try to do so just to make you happy. And when you are happy, you need to praise him and shower him with treats. In this way, your dog will soon learn to use the pet door. Never shout or punish the dog or you will never be able to train him. Hope this helps you in getting your Dido in and out of the house through the pet door.