How To Train Your Dog To Use Their Dog Door

Do you ever feel like your dog’s personal doorman? One minute, your canine is begging to go outside. The next, they’re demanding to come back in. Or maybe your dog has had a few accidents lately because you weren’t able to let them out in time. Fortunately, there is a solution for both issues — the doggy door. These dog-size openings will give your pup the freedom to enter and exit your home when they please and will also free you from playing doorman. Even better, most canines can learn how to use a dog door quickly.

Before You Start Training

  • Make sure that you pick a door that is the right size for your canine(s). If your door is too small, your dog could get caught or stuck in the opening. This could potentially cause them to panic and even hurt themselves.
  • Choose a training time when you won’t be rushed. Patience is key when you train for dog door use.
  • Enlist a friend or family member for help. It’s easier to teach a dog to go through the opening if there are two of you.
  • Have high-value treats on hand for bribes.

How to Train a Dog to Use a Dog Door

  1. Remove the flap or secure the door in the open position.
  2. Have your training partner sit on one side of the door with your dog while you sit on the opposite side.
  3. Through the doggy door opening, call your dog and offer them a treat. Some dogs may trot on through, while others may take a lot of coaxing and bribery before they’ll dare approach the opening.
  4. Praise your dog enthusiastically and reward with a treat if they go through the door.
  5. Repeat this step numerous times until your canine seems comfortable going in and out the doggy door. If your dog appears fearful, do not push or force them through the opening.
  6. Once your dog is able to move confidentially through the door in one direction, take them to the other side and have them practice entering the house from that direction.
  7. Unlock or reinstall the door flap.
  8. Introduce your dog to the idea of the flap. Maneuver the flap back and forth to get your dog used to the sound and the movement.
  9. Once your dog is comfortable with the flap, hold it partially open and encourage your dog to go through the door. Gradually, lower the flap each time your dog moves through the door, so they can feel it against their skin and get used to the sensation of pushing through the material.
  10. Continue to reward your dog until using the door becomes natural.

It’s important to remain patient and calm while training you dog. While many dogs will learn to use a door quickly, others may struggle for a variety of reasons. For example, skittish dogs or ones that have been abused may be frightened by the movement or the noise that a door flap makes. Sensitive dogs may not like the feeling of the flap on their skin and bolt through the door in fright.

If you find that you don’t have the patience to train your dog or that your pet is struggling to learn how to use a door, it may be in your best interest to hire a professional trainer. Recherche Doodles has the experience and knows how to teach a dog to use a dog door, even skittish or frightened dogs. We can also help you with any other general puppy training issues you may have.

For safety reasons, keep the doggy door locked or blocked off at night or when you’re not home to prevent intruders and wild critters from entering your home.

Freedom for Your Dog (and You)!

With patience, lots of encouragement and these tips on how to train a dog to use a dog door, your pet will soon be enjoying the freedom of being in the great outdoors whenever they feel like it