The purchase of your brand new pet door is an exciting time for both you and your pooch. You’ll both get a new sense of freedom as he gains access to the outdoors anytime he needs it – without having to beg at the door for you to let him out! No longer having to cross his legs as he waits for you to return home so that he can relieve himself! For many people, getting a pet door is quite simply a game-changer. But the question that most have when they first have their new pet door installed is: how do you teach your dog to use it?
Teaching your pup to use his new pet door is easier than you think! Just like any other training you do with your dog, pet door training just takes a little bit of patience and encouragement. Depending on how timid your dog is, some can take a bit longer to be trained. We’ve outlined a few simple steps to help you through the process.
Don’t force him
Allow Fido to grow accustomed to it. Depending on your dog’s personality, just having a new object in the house could put him off. Let him smell it, investigate, and get used to it. If he’s particularly hesitant, sit on the floor beside the pet door and let him come to you. Touch the pet door, move the flaps, slide the security cover up and down a few times. Let him get used to the sounds and appearance. Show him there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Get the treats ready
This is usually easier if you have two people. Have one person standing on the inside of the pet door, and another person standing outside. Have some treats ready! Hold the flaps up on the pet door so that your dog can walk freely through without having to push or touch the flaps. Start calling for your dog to come through the pet door. Clap and whistle and encourage him to go through. Once on the other side, praise him and give him a treat. Do this over and over until he looks very comfortable going through the pet door without any hesitation.
Let the flaps down
After your pooch is comfortable with going through the pet door while you hold up the flaps, slowly begin to lower them down onto his back as he goes through. Do this little by little, allowing your dog to bear more and more of the weight of the flaps until you are no longer holding any of it. Once he gets used to feeling the flaps on his back, pushing them open won’t take as much effort.
Now that your pup has mastered going through the pet door with you laying the flaps on his back as he goes through, it’s time to let him learn to push the flaps open on his own. Stand on the opposite side of the pet door that your dog is on, and begin calling him. Don’t forget to have those treats handy! Encourage him and praise him as he gets the courage to try something new and push the flaps open all by himself.
Trust us, as soon as he gets the hang of it, there will be no stopping him!
For more training information and step by step pictures, visit Hale Pet Door.