If you’re thinking about getting a dog door and need some training tips, this post is for you! One of the most common questions about dog doors is, will my dog use the door? Well, the answer is yes! But, they could need some training before fully understanding the freedom a dog door can provide.

This article will uncover our popular method that you can use to train your dog to use a dog door successfully. Remember that all dogs will learn at different speeds, but if you give them enough time, your dog will learn to use the door successfully and can go in and out whenever they please!

Installing the dog door

Choosing the right-sized door for your dog will give you the best results when training them. If you get a door too big for a small dog, they may have trouble lifting the flap, which is too difficult for them to use. The same goes for a door that is too small, and if your dog cannot fit comfortably through the door, they will not use it.

Once you’ve selected the correct size door, that’s great! But now, you need to ensure it is installed at the correct height. Please read the instructions provided with your door, and measure your dog from ground to top of their shoulders to get their exact height. Try not to rely on breed size as some breeds can vary in height (and width!).

Training a dog to use a dog door

Dog door installed? Perfect, now it’s time for the fun stuff! Most dogs will only take one or two tries to be successfully trained, but there are some exceptions to the rule. If your dog takes five (or twenty) attempts, don’t get discouraged, they’ll get the hang of it soon enough!

Here is our easy five-step process to get your dog trained and ready to use their new dog door.

  1. Introduce your dog to the door – lead your dog to the door and show them how it works. Your dog will be confused at first with this new door technology, and they may take a few sniffs and appear interested.
  2. Hold the flap open – you can open it (or remove it) and let them see the outside. This will give your dog an understanding of the door, and some dogs may go straight through.
  3. Encourage them through the door – with the flap open and the door closed, stand on the opposite side of the door and use a treat or toy to encourage your dog through it. Avoid pushing your dog through the door.
  4. Reward them for any success – Even if your dog pokes their head through, a treat reward will show them this is the correct behaviour, and they’ll associate the dog door with a good thing.
  5. Repeat – keep up with the training; your dog will soon be zipping in and out whenever they please!

As with all training, patience is key, and it may take some time before your dog is a hundred per cent confident in using the door. Try to keep an eye out for them, as some dogs may still think they need to wait by the door if they need to use the toilet. However, in no time at all, your dog will soon grasp the idea of the dog door as a fast way to get outside for the toilet or to relax in the sun!