Installing a new dog door is a great way to give your dog freedom to come and go at will. If you want to sleep in on the weekend, you no longer will have to force yourself out of your warm, comfortable bed, just to let the dog out. Furthermore, your dog will no longer have to suffer as he tries to prevent himself from making an accident in the house while waiting to be let outside. A dog door is beneficial for both you and your dog, but training your dog to use a new dog door may require a little work. Most dogs learn how to use dog doors quickly, but some dogs may be afraid of the new door and might hesitate, or even resist using it. Teaching a frightened dog how to use a door requires patience and work.
Start by Uncovering the Door
A good way to start teaching your dog to use the new doggie door is by removing the door flap, or taping it open, and guiding your dog through the open hole. Successfully helping your dog become comfortable walking through both sides of the door is half the battle. Treats are a good way to motivate your dog, utilize this tactic by standing on one side of the door, with your dog on the other, then use the treat to tempt your dog to climb through to your side. Having another person can help speed this process up but it is not necessary. If your dog is still too afraid to climb through, there are two things you can try:
- Use really smelly treats, such as real meat or cheese. Don't be afraid to help your dog move into the hole, the objective is to help your dog feel that the dog door is safe.
- Another method to try is to let your dog outside and then place some food inside the house and patiently wait for your dog to get enough courage to go after the treat. Even if these methods work, don't forget to give your dog a lot of praise.
Creating a Modified Door
Once your dog is willingly going through the door hole, you can begin working on getting through the door while it's covered. Most dogs will not realize that they can still use the door once the flap is closed. Start by taking a small kitchen towel and hanging it directly over the open hole — the original door flap should still be out of the way — cover only half of the hole, allowing the dog to still see through. Practice going in and out while gradually lowering the towel until your dog is going through without being able to see the other side. Once your dog has got that down, go ahead and reattach the flap and practice just like you did with the open hole and modified door. That's all there is to it, congratulations on training your dog to use the new dog door!
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