Teaching your dog to use a dog door

Teaching your Dog to Use a Dog Door

If your dog needs a little help learning to use the dog door, there are several methods you can use to teach him to go in and out comfortably.

 

The Fast Track

If you have another dog (or if you can borrow a dog) who knows how to go in and out the dog door, your dog can learn to go through the door by following the other dog. Give it a try!

 

Before you choose a method for teaching your dog to use his dog door, here are a few tips that will help with his training:

·         If you’re installing your dog door in a door, you may find it helpful to start out by leaving your dog in his confinement area with the door open first. You can start this part of the training even before the dog door is installed. This way, he’ll get used to enjoying indoor/outdoor access and he’ll be more motivated to go in and out the dog door once you start leaving the human door closed.

·         When training your dog to go through his dog door, be especially careful not to let the flap hit him in the early part of training. If this has happened or if your dog is a fearful dog or seems very worried about using his dog door, you may find it helpful to use duct tape to tape the flap of his dog door all the way up for the first several days so he gets used to going in and out without being scared by the flap. Of course, you should only tape the flap to your door or door frame if you’re sure the tape won’t damage the finish. Once your dog is comfortably using the dog door with the flap taped up, try Method 1 or Method 2 to slowly acclimate him to using the dog door with the flap down.

·         When training your dog to use his dog door, you may need to step outside to call him through the door. Ideally, if you go outside to call him out through the dog door, you should have another person inside the house to supervise him and encourage him to go through the dog door.

Method 1 – Calling your dog. Good if your dog loves interacting with people

Before starting your training, assess whether your dog would be more motivated to come in through the dog door or go out through it. If he loves being inside the house, you should start this training with him outside. If he’s the kind of dog who’s always excited to get a chance to get outside, start with him inside the house. If you’re not sure which he prefers, he can start this exercise either inside or outside. You can do this exercise on your own or you can do it with one person on each side of the dog door, one calls him in, then the other calls him out.

With your dog on one side of the dog door and you on the other, lift the flap of the dog door all the way up and call him, using an excited voice and lots of animation. Reward any attempt to come toward or through the door with lots of verbal encouragement. When he makes it the whole way through, pet him, praise him and play with him… make a huge fuss over him! Then, leaving him where he is, go to the other side of the door, lift the flap and repeat the same exercise. Do a few repetitions going each way then take a break. This training can be stressful and exciting for him, so you should do short sessions to avoid burning him out – especially if he is young..

After your dog has had a break, repeat the exercise. If he’s coming through with no hesitation, repeat the exercise holding the flap up only halfway. He may be troubled by feeling the flap touching him, so you’ll need to use lots of verbal encouragement to convince him that’s no big deal. Continue to go crazy with the praise and play after he comes through.

Once he’s going through with the flap halfway up, continue doing short sessions with him, gradually lifting the flap up less and less, until you’re to the point where he’s pushing through the door on his own.

Once he knows that he can come through the door, try to get him to do it without you calling him. The best way to do this is to leave him on one side of the door and do something fun on the other side of the door… play with the kids or with your other dog or run around the yard hooting and hollering like you’re having a great time. If he comes out to join you, you’ll know he’s getting the idea. Repeat this for a few sessions, and you’ll soon find that he’s using his dog door on his own.

Method 2 – Luring your dog with Treats Good if your dog is the type who will do anything for a snack

For this training, you should have some extra yummy treats with a strong scent… something like hot dogs, jerky treats or freeze-dried liver. Let your dog see you get the treats out and try to get him excited about the treats by holding them tightly in your hand and letting him sniff and lick the treats without actually giving him one.

Before starting your training, assess whether he would be more motivated to come in through the dog door or go out through it. If he loves being inside the house, you should start this training with him outside. If he’s the kind of dog who’s always excited to get a chance to get outside, start with him inside the house. If you’re not sure which he prefers, he can start this exercise either inside or outside.

With your dog on one side of the dog door and you on the other, lift the flap of the dog door all the way up and call him, using an excited voice and lots of animation. Wave the treats so he can see them on the other side of the dog door. Reward any attempt to come toward or through the door with lots of verbal encouragement, but don’t let him have the treat until he makes it the whole way through. When he comes all the way through, pet him, praise him and let him have some treats! Then, leaving him where he is, go to the other side of the door, lift the flap and repeat the same exercise. Do a few repetitions going each way then take a break. This training can be stressful and exciting for him, so you should do short sessions to avoid burning him out – especially if he is young.

After he has had a break, repeat the exercise. If he’s coming through with no hesitation, repeat the exercise holding the flap up only halfway. He may be troubled by feeling the flap touching him, so you’ll need to use lots of verbal encouragement to convince him that’s no big deal. Continue to go crazy with the praise and play after he comes through.

Once he’s going through with the flap halfway up, continue doing short sessions with him, gradually lifting the flap up less and less, until you’re to the point where he’s pushing through the door on his own.

Once he knows that he can come through the door, try to get him to do it without you calling him and offering him treats. You can do this by leaving him on one side of the door and scattering some treats on the ground on the other side of the door or you can do something fun on the other side of the door… play with the kids or with your other dog or run around the yard hooting and hollering like you’re having a great time. If your dog comes out on his own, you’ll know he’s getting the idea. Repeat this for a few sessions, and you’ll soon find that he is using his dog door on his own.

Method 3 – Putting your dog Through the Door Good if your dog is a small to medium sized dog who isn’t fearful

This is a straightforward, easy method that’s only appropriate for dogs who aren’t sensitive or fearful about the dog door. Just pick your dog up and gently push him through the door. Praise him enthusiastically when he is through so he knows you are pleased. Repeat this a few times over several brief sessions. If he doesn’t seem troubled or stressed by being pushed through, continue your training by holding him around his ribcage with his face about an inch away from the dog door flap. Most likely, if you’ve sufficiently practiced pushing him through, he’ll push his way through the flap. When he does, fuss over him and tell him what a good dog he is!

Once he’s pushing his way through when you hold him near the door, try going to the other side of the door to call him through. When he comes through, praise him, play with him or give him some treats. After practicing this step for several sessions, you should find that Fido’s comfortably using the dog door without needing any encouragement from you.

If your dog Knows How To Go Through the Dog Door, but Doesn’t Want To!

Once your dog learns that the dog door gives him the freedom to go in and out at will, he’ll probably just love it and start using it appropriately. In rare cases, you might find you have a dog who doesn’t want to go outside on his own and won’t use the door even once he knows how. Needing to go to the toilet won’t be reason enough for him to leave you or go out of the house on his own. If you find that to be the case, you’ll need to find a way to make going out through the dog door appealing to him.

For most dogs with this problem, putting their water bowl outside is an easy fix. If you do this, he will start going out when he wants a drink, and, over time, he’ll start sniffing around, hanging out and realizing it’s not so bad out there! During the initial phase of this training, your dog’s only water bowl should be the one outside. Of course, you need to make sure he is getting sufficient water, so remember to take him out periodically to get water until you know you can count on him to take himself outside every time he needs a drink.

If the water isn’t an interesting enough lure to get him outside, feeding him outside can be helpful. Let him watch you prepare his food, then leave him inside and take his food just outside the dog door. Put it down and come back inside. If this is going to work, you should find that he goes outside on his own within 30 minutes. If he doesn’t, time to move on to Plan C!

The next thing you’ll try if he doesn’t want to use his doggy door is playing hide and go seek with some treats out in the yard. Get some yummy, strongly scented treats and show them to him. Try to get him worked up and excited to get the treats. Then have someone hold him or tie him back while you “hide” the treats in the grass or landscaping (the first few days you can just let him see where the treats are hidden). Once the treats are “hidden”, take your dog back into the house and leave him inside while you go out in the yard and wait for him to come out. If you wait too long, you can go back and tease him and call him through the door. In either case, once he comes out run around the yard with him and act like you are looking for treats too! Make it lots of fun. In a couple of days he should be coming out without any tempting and you can stop helping him to hunt. He should get very good at finding the treats using just his nose.

Once he is really into the game, set it up without him watching you hide the treats by leaving him inside the house with the dog door closed or in a crate. Before you go out to hide the treats, show him that you have the treats and tell him that you are going out to hide them by getting excited and calling him as you go. Once the treats are hidden, come back in the house and let him out of his crate or open the dog door. Stay in the house and let him decide on his own that he wants to go hunting.

 

More about our pet door installations

The four main types of pet door installations that Affordable Pet Doors Melbourne do are as follows:

 

Pet door installation into timber doors.

For pet door installation into timber doors the brand that we use for this is the Pig In Mud brand (also known as the Ideal brand in the USA). After using several different brands we have found that this brand is one of the sturdiest, and is built with it’s own inner frame. Some other brands require an inner frame to be built, which sometimes may not be as strong, once installed, as a pet door that is manufactured with the frame as part of the overall pet door.

The first of the three Pig In Mud sizes that we stock is “Medium”. The Pig In Mud company labels the size of this pet door a “medium” but the size is generally suitable for smaller dogs such as a Chihuahua, Maltese Terrier or Shih Tzu.

The next size up that we stock is what the brand calls the “Extra Large” size, and is generally suitable for medium sized dogs such as a Staffie, Kelpy or a normal sized Labrador.

The largest size up that we stock is the Pig In Mud “Super Large” size and this size is recommended for very large dogs such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds or a larger Labrador that has had too many desserts!

 

Pet door installation into security doors.

For pet door installation into security doors we use the Petway brand and also the Pig In Mud brand. There are two main differences with these brands. The Petway brand is made from thermo plastic and the sizing tends to be a little bit wider; while the Pig In Mud brand is made from aluminium alloy and the sizing is a little thinner – more rectangular than the Petway brand. Because the Pig In Mud brand is made from aluminium alloy the pricing on this is a little bit more expensive. However, we have found that both brands are very sturdy and able to withstand the heat of the Australian summers. Both brands have a range of sizes for all different dogs (and cats!).

 

Pet doors that align into both timber and security doors.

Having pet doors that align through both your timber and security doors is a great option that many people choose. This is allows you to have both doors closed during winter, while your pet still has access to outside. During summer, you can of course open the timber door and your pet can just pass through pet door installed in the security door. The two brands that we use are the Petway and Pig In Mud brands, and they come in a variety of different sizes.

 

Cat doors installed into timber doors.

We also install cat doors into timber doors. The main difference between a “cat door” and a general “pet door” is that the pet doors all have a lock out slide, whereas a cat door has a 4 way locking lever at the bottom instead. The lever allows the following locks: Door Open, Door Locked, In Only, Out Only. The brand that we stock – Pig In Mud- comes in two sizes – Regular or Large. If you have both cats and dogs, we recommend getting a general pet door, as cats can use these aswell.

 

 

 

The benefits of aligned pet doors in your timber and security doors.

 

Increase your security by installing an aligned pet door package.

 

Many people aren’t aware that it is possible to have both a pet door in their timber door and also a pet door in their

The Petway aligned pet doors installed.
The Petway aligned pet doors installed.

security door which aligns: making it possible for the pet to go through both the timber and security doors to get outside.  Affordable Pet Doors offers a range of aligned pet door packages from two different brands; giving our customers quite a few options to choose from.

If you have both a timber and security door together and only have a
pet door in one , it means that you would either  need to leave one door open permanently – giving you a lesser level of security; or you would need to constantly let your pet out – which can be annoying.  The benefit of the aligned pet doors is that it alleviates these problems.

The two brands that we offer are Petway – the less expensive of the two; Petway pet doors are made from UV-stabilised plastic and as such are tough and can survive the heat of Australian summers.

The other option is the Pig In Mud pet doors – the Pig In Mud pet door for timber doors is made from a UV-stabilised plastic that is also very sturdy, and the Pig In Mud pet door for the security door is made from aluminium alloy.

There is a small difference in price, but both brands are sturdy and last a long time.

When installing the pet doors we ensure that they are aligned correctly. This means that the flaps from either pet door can easily swing back and forth – allowing your pet perfect access to get in and out.

Alternatively, if you have both a timber and security door, and there is already only one pet door in either the timber or the security door, it means that the other door must stay open – decreasing the overall level of security.  Affordable Pet Doors can  offer a solution to this by having another pet door put in for you that will align with the original pet door.

To discuss options for aligned pet doors or just for further information on any of our products please call Sean on 0401288846 or send an enquiry.

 

Reasons your pet isn’t using their pet door

A pet door is a great solution for active pets and their owners who aren’t always home.  While there are many benefits to having a pet door, sometimes your pets won’t take to them for a variety of reasons.  Here are some of the most common reasons:

 

The Pet Door Has Been Installed Too High Or Too Low

This is usually more of a problem for dogs. Generally when a pet door is installed, it should be at least 5cm above the dog’s shoulder height.  If it is not, some dogs will crouch down to go through.  Whereas other dogs just won’t go through at all.  The solution is to have the door reinstalled higher.

Conversely, if the door has been installed too high, the dog may not be able to get through the door, or may feel that they don’t have the ability to get through.  The solution is to have the door reinstalled lower.

 

The Pet Door Is Too Small

Sometimes due to miscalculation, the pet door is too small for your pet.  Or sometimes the pet has grown larger than expected.  The result may be that your pet is not able to fit through the door, or is too big to feel comfortable using it.

 

Your Pet Is Afraid Of The Pet Door

Some animals can be very fearful of the unfamiliar.  A new pet door an be intimidating for some pets, causing them to shy away and avoid it.  You can help alleviate it this by encouraging them gently to use the pet door.  Initially, it is handy to hold the flap up if they are shy at first.  Never push the animal through the pet door as this may make them  more frightened.  For dogs, snacks and treats are always a good enticement.  For further information see our page on teaching your dog to use a dog door.   Most of the advice is relevant for cats too!

 

Improper Training

Pets that have not been properly trained to use a pet door may be unaware of how to use it or  just shy.  Some short training sessions of about 10-15 minutes a day should help them. When training them to go through the pet door it may help to initially hold the flap up. Most importantly, don’t push your pet through or this may make them more scared.  Also, for dogs especially, snacks and treats are a great enticement.  Once again, the information  on our teaching your dog to use a dog door page is helpful.

 

Good luck with your efforts!

 

dog-sticking-its-head-out-of-the-small-pet-door-e1372946809100

The benefits of having a pet door

Pet doors have many benefits for both the home owner and also the pet.  Here are some good reasons to have Affordable Pet Doors Melbourne install a pet door for you:

Comfort for your cat or dog, and fewer accidents.   Having a pet door installed means that your pets won’t create a mess inside your house.  It also means that they won’t be uncomfortable having to hold on before being let out.

Convenience for the home owner.  Having a pet door installed means you no longer have to play doorman and constantly let your pets in or out. iIt also means you won’t be woken in the middle of the night by your pets wanting to go outside.

Exercise.  Many pets don’t get the required amount of exercise that they need.  Access to a yard means that they can play and run outside, keeping them healthy and happy.

Great mental stimulation.  Access to a yard or play area means that your pet’s mind is kept stimulated by their outside environment.

Helps with boredom related behaviour.  Bored or stressed pets will sometimes display behavioural problems by chewing on couches or eating into other soft furnishings, aswell as trying to get into cupboards and things that are locked away.

 

 

Adopting a dog from an animal shelter

The RSPCA and animal shelters always have lots of  dogs that need to be adopted out.  As such, there is a great chance to find an pet that suits yours and your family’s lifestyle.  Generally, about 25% of animal shelter dogs are purebred.  The rest make up a selection  of unique, one-of-a-kind mixed breeds; many of these dogs have previously lived with families and have the social skills needed to be a wonderful part of the household.

Shelters have lovable dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages. Your chances of finding a wonderful companion who matches your lifestyle and family are excellent! About 25% of shelter dogs are purebred. The rest make up the best selection anywhere of unique, one-of-a-kind mixed breeds, many of whom have already lived with families and have the basic social skills they need to become an enjoyable part of your household.

Why Adopt a Dog from the RSPCA or an animal shelter?

You Can Help Save Lives

One of the most heartwarming things about adopting a dog from the RSPCA or an animal shelter is that you’re saving their life and giving them a wonderful new home.  Dogs that are adopted out from animal shelters are especially  appreciative of the new lease of life that you’re giving them, which creates a wonderful bond with you and the dog.  Of course, your adoption fees benefit many other animals and assist the shelter to stay open.

Shelter Dogs Make Wonderful Pets

Unfortunately, many dogs end up in animal shelters for lots of different reasons.  Some are victims of a death in the family, illness, or a move to a move to a new location that doesn’t include them.  Some other dogs are at the animal shelter because older people have gone into retirement homes and can’t take them with them.  As such, many shelter dogs are healthy, affectionate animals.  However, any dog will most likely need some training or retraining to learn how to fit into the new household.  Most shelters evaluate a dog’s behaviour when they arrive, and this information can help you assess what type of training your new dog needs.  Thanks to the efforts of the volunteers and staff at many animal shelters, many of the dogs are given housetraining and basic obedience training before they’re adopted out.

Another advantage of adopting a shelter dog is that the fees are relatively low.   The adoption fee is generally much lower than buying a pet from the pet store, and even more so if buying off a breeder.  Usually the adoption fee includes a physical examination and vaccinations, and some animal shelters also microchip the dog aswell, so if they get lost they can find their way back to their new home.

What to consider before adopting:

Adopting a dog is a responsibility, and as such there are a few factors to consider:

A stable home.  Factors such as whether you own your own home or whether you are renting are important.  If you own your own home, it means that you can provide your dog with a stable environment.  If you are renting, you maybe lucky to be in a situation where you have been renting the same property for a long time; this would provide a great environment for your new dog.  If you rent but tend to move a lot, this may not be as ideal for an animal as it may be hard to find the next rental property which will allow them to be there.

Time.  Do you have enough time to look after your new pet?  Some people are wonderful at adopting a dog into their lifestyle and making time for them to take them on walks, groom them, etc.  For other people, they have a busy social life and as such don’t have as much time for their pets.

Finances.  Do you have enough money to look after your pet?   Overall, pet food is not an overly expensive thing to buy.  Vet bills can cost a  bit more though.

Type of dog.  Before adopting a dog, it is good to identify your needs.  Do you want a dog that goes everywhere with you – or are you looking for a dog that is at home more?  If you have children it maybe important to identify the breeds that are particularly good with children. How big is your backyard – if it is small then it may not be suited to a large dog.  Are you after an active dog or do you have a quieter lifestyle and want a quieter dog? Do you want a dog that loves to go for lots of walks?  Puppies are gorgeous, but housetraining them can be a lot of hard work. Most adult dogs only need basic obedience training and a house-training refresher.  It can also be a good idea to prepare a list of questions for the shelter – such as: What is the dog’s medical history?  What is their behaviour like?

Going to the shelter.

During your shelter visit:

Initially, walk through the entire kennel area at least once to see which dogs appeal to you.  Stand about a metre away from the dogs that you like to see how they respond to you, and how they interact with people. Then spend a few minutes with the dogs that you’ve picked through their kennel doors.  It is  good to look for signs of friendliness such as tail wagging and wiggling. At this stage it is good to just spend some quiet time with the dog. If you have a young family or an active lifestyle, friendlier dogs that approach you are preferable to a dog that stays back in the kennel.  If you like a dog but it stays towards the back of the kennel, it could be important to ascertain if it is just shy or if it is  a more fearful dog that may bite or snap.  A friendlier but shy dog maybe ideal for children, but some fearful dogs may require a lot of work to adapt to their new home, and would not be ideal around children.   These type of dogs may be  more suited to a single person or couple that are aware of the extra conditions and work involved.  To ascertain this, it could be a good idea for the adults to coax the dog first, and then see how they relate to the children later on during the shelter visit.   As mentioned before, also ask the staff  questions from your list;  information on the dog’s background which will give you more of an indication, and also about the dog’s personality.

Next, for the dogs that you think may be right for you and your family- take them for a walk.  Don’t worry if they are running or straining on the leash,  they have probably been cooped up for a long time so this is to be expected.  As long as you are able to control the dog is the most important thing. This is a good opportunity to see they are outside and what their demeanour is like. Are they friendly or aggressive?  Is the dog eager to meet people or are they more shy? If they constantly bark they may not have been socialized with other dogs when they were young – this could mean quite a bit of training, and they may never properly adapt at all.

Next, play with the dog and see how they respond. Games like fetch and chase are good. Once you stop playing it can be a good idea to see how long it takes them to wind down.  If it takes more than a couple of minutes you may have a dog that is very active and needs constant stimulation.

If you have children, ensure that the dog plays well with the children. If the dog ignores, flinches or is aggressive towards children then  this is definitely not the dog for your family.  Sometimes children will spend more time with the dog than you will – and it’s important that the dog loves your children just as much as they will love the dog!  The dog should be especially child friendly and enjoy lots of attention, especially lots of heavy patting and touching that children are inclined to do.   Also, a dog that is possessive when eating or playing with toys is not a good choice for a family with children.

Making a choice.

If you are not sure which dog you want, it may be helpful to come back again and see the dog again.  If the shelter allows a 24 hour hold, take advantage of it.  If you go back, taking somebody else with you that can help you with your decision or offer a second opinion.

It is a good idea to use your head aswell as your heart; looking at the different aspects and issues  that have been covered in this article.

Good luck with your hunt for a wonderful new companion!

A cat flap means no more sleepless nights!

We all love our pets, including our cats,  but it can  be an inconvenience to have to get up and let them outside.  This is even more true if you have  to get up in the middle of the night and let them out – it can interrupt sleep patterns and leave us very tired the following day.  However, if you have a cat flap installed, your cats can go outside to the toilet without you having to be doorman – allowing you to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep.

There are several other benefits to having a cat flap installed:

It means that your cats have less accidents inside that you have to clean up.

It allows the cat to go outside when you’re not home and get some exercise.

Playing outside also mentally stimulates your cat – ensuring a healthier and happier cat!

If you have any questions about cat flaps or would like to make a booking – please contact us here at Affordable Pet Doors Melbourne on 0401 288 846.

 

Pet Doors for Older Dogs

As dogs and cats get older, like humans they aren’t as sprightly as they used to be, and they can unfortunately suffer from different ailments which may require a change of pet door.   Some dogs have had arthritis so we’ve put in a new pet door at a very low level to make it easy for the dog to get through.  Some have never had a pet door, but as they’ve got older they need to go out more – often in the middle of the night.

Here are some factors that may help when having a pet door installed for an older animal (or one that is getting older):

Preferably the flap should not be too heavy, as the animal may not have as much strength when they get older to go through the door.

A transparent flap is ideal – this allows the pet  to see outside and where they are going to.

Location – ideally there should not be more than about 12cm that the animal has to step up to; if there are big steps near the back door then a solution  may be putting some small blocks or steps in to provide easier access.

And as previously mentioned – ensuring the pet door is not installed too high off the ground.  To protect the structure of the door, generally the minimum a door can be installed at is around 7 or 8 cm from the bottom of the door.

These are just a few suggestions to consider and if you have any questions please feel free to call or email us about the best option for your senior pet!

Summer is here! Time for a pet door into your security door?

Many people have a pet door in their timber back door, but leave the adjoining security door ajar so that their pets can get in and out.  Once summer comes this may become a problem, as they now want the timber door open, but having the security door ajar lets the flies in.

It is then a good time to look at also having a pet door put into the security door. The two main brands on the Australian market – Petway and Pig In Mud – and both are sturdy.  The frame for the Petway brand is made of UV resistant thermoplastic, while the frame for Pig In Mud is made from a tempered aluminium alloy (and therefore is a bit more expensive).

Unlike some other brands, both brands have transparent flaps, which allows your pets see where they are going out to.  This is particularly helpful for older animals whose sight may not be as good as when they were younger.  Both brands also have  flaps that provide a good seal from flies and insects getting in during the hot weather.  What an ideal solution!

Petway Small Security Door
Petway Small Pet Door for Security Door