A doggy door can add a great deal of convenience to your life. It will save you from having to get up every time your pup needs to go outside to use the potty, as well as allow her to go in and out to stay warm, cool or dry during inclement weather.
In addition, a doggy door will give your dog the luxury of being able to go out to the yard on her own. This can make leaving her home while you are at work much easier because you will have the peace of mind that she can enjoy some fresh air during the day.
This is especially true for small dogs since they tend to have smaller bladders and need to potty more often than their larger cousins. Read on to find out how easy it is to train your small dog to use a doggy door.
Most dogs will learn to use a doggy door on their own within a single training session. The exception are those who have fear or anxiety about either the doggy door itself or of being away from their people. In both cases, patience and consistency will give you the results you are looking for within a week.
Of course, you will want to make sure that your yard is safe and secure before letting your small dog outside without supervision. Check the fence line regularly for signs of digging under or other potential weak spots that could result in an escape.
Remember that small dogs can be vulnerable to predators such as hawks, alligators and foxes. If you live in a rural area where such predators may be common, it may not be a great idea for your little dog to spend time outside unsupervised. In addition, rural areas are fraught with the possibility that unwanted guests may decide to use the door to get in your house! Racoons are notorious for learning to use doggy doors to access the tasty goodies in your kitchen!
Before you get started with training, make sure you have a few things ready to go:
Appropriate Door: You want to make sure you are using the right sized doggy door, especially when working with a small dog. The larger flaps of big doors can be difficult for your little guy to push open. If you have a multiple dog household with a larger dog, try removing the magnet clips from the flap for the first few weeks so that your smaller dog can get used to the flap.
Identify Fear: If your dog seems to have some anxiety about the door, make sure that you do not use the 'Push' method since it could make his fear worse. Bring plenty of patience to your training sessions and use the 'Fearful Dog' method for best results.
Make it Fun: Try to approach training time like it is a fun game that you and your dog are playing together. This will help keep them motivated, and remind you not to spoil the game with impatience. Keep sessions brief, and stop the game before your dog is bored or frustrated.
My husband just recently passed away and he was the one who always told him go potty and he would go out the doggie door. Since his passing he will go up to the door but will not go out it. Even if you put his treats in the path outside the door he will not go out
Hello Wanda, First, I suggest you go outside first and another person tells him to "Go Potty"...He may be staying inside because he is worried you will leave and wants to be where you are. If that works, then take him potty this way for a while until he realizes that this is the new normal and goes through the door without delaying. Once he will go potty easily when told to, then change the order and send him outside first, then follow him through the door after - so he expects that he won't be alone even if he goes outside first. You may have to use the leash to guide him through the doggie door the first time you make him go first (loop it around the door so you are standing inside still but guiding him outside with your arm reached out the open door. You can also practice this with the door open so he is just passing through the doggie door and still in the same area he entered it from when he exits it (inside or outside - depending on whether your door opens out or in). Every time he goes through the doggie door, give him a treat when he is outside. When he will go outside before you and you are following him out afterward, then take longer and longer to follow him out there, until eventually he finishes going potty before you get outside . When that consistently is happening, then stop following him outside. After he goes potty outside you can also give him a treat so that he learns to go potty faster. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Taking the bottom magnet off was what did it for Roxy. Perhaps it was too heavy or the clicking noise bothered her when it reconnected. She also seemed afraid of it after it was installed.