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!



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