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.