This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase we may earn a commission. You can read our full affiliate disclosure by clicking here.
Life becomes much easier when your pet learns to use a doggie door. This simple yet incredibly convenient invention will give your pooch the power to head out to the yard and back inside as he desires, helping out with housetraining and cutting down on your walk time. But it can take some effort to get your dog to make use of his little door. Just take the time to train him to use it until he is comfortable, and you’ll both get a lifetime of joy out of it.
Make sure you’ve got his favorite treats and toys on hand, and your pooch will be using the doggie door before you know it. Most doggie doors come with a plastic flap that hangs down covering the opening. To train your dog, he will need a clear sight line outside, so either remove it or secure it open during your training.
The first step is simply getting your dog to walk through the door. If he is timid, you’ll probably have to lure him through it first. That’s where the treats and toys come in. First, toss a treat or a toy through the door to see if your dog will take the bait and go get it. If that doesn’t seem to work, you may have to reward your dog for simply pushing his head through the door. Give him a treat for getting close, then for pushing his head through, and then for pushing his head and neck all the way through. Reward him for each further amount through the door, until he’s actually made it outside.
Once you’ve successfully convinced your dog to go outside, you’ve got to get him to head back in as well. Just because he went one way doesn’t mean he’ll easily go the other. Use the same toy and treat method to lure him back inside, and reward him for each positive step. Keep doing this, until your dog is comfortably going through in each direction on his own.
Now that he’s got it down, lower the flap a little bit and continue with the training. Even with it slightly lowered, he’ll probably go right through at this point as long as he can see a bit of daylight on the other side. The true challenge will be getting your dog to go through when the flap is closed. He’ll have to get comfortable pushing it open with his head, and that can take a little work.
Start by opening the flap a little bit yourself, then show your dog you have a treat in hand, and hold the treat below the door flap where he can smell it and see it. You’ll have to be on the other side of the door to make this work. That should be enough to encourage him to push the flap open with his head, even if only to get to the treat. As soon as he’s comfortable reaching for the treat through the flap, get him to push it open completely on his own. You may have to toss a toy or a treat through the door to encourage him through this next step, but once he’s done it a few times he should be good to go.
Sound easy? It’s certainly not too difficult. Call a local locksmith into your home and the doggie door can be quickly installed. After a day or two your favorite pooch will be the master of his domain, and loving every second of it.