Putting in a dog door so your pet can come and go as he needs or desires is a great step in making him comfortable and happy as part of your household, but taking the time to train your dog to go through a dog door is a very important step in the process.
For some dogs, it is a breeze to train your dog to go through a dog door. They catch on instantly, and are thrilled to have the freedom to use the door at will. It is not so easy for others. The door is a little scary and makes some strange noises, which may cause your dog to turn the other way and run or slink off, rather than going through it. Remember to use lots of positive encouragement and not to be too pushy, as you do not want to scare him even more.
If there are two of you available to train your pooch, try having one of you on the outside with a treat or a favorite toy. The other one holds the door open to show the dog that he can outside to get the treat. Then the person, who is on the outside, calls to him in a positive, playful voice, encouraging him to use the door. Once your dog does this once or twice, try standing outside and calling him with the door closed that he will have to open it on his own. It may take a while for your dog to reach the point where he is going through on his own; this is normal.
A great idea for helping your dog learn to use his door is to invite a friend whose dog already knows how to use a doggy door. This dog can actually help train your dog to go through a dog door simply by setting an example.
Do not worry if your dog does not catch on right away; the process often takes a few days up to a week or so. It is worth the struggle, however, when your dog is able to go out whenever he needs to and doesn’t have to “ask” to go out. Taking the time to train our dog to go through a dog door will cut back on accidents in the home and will lead to happier, healthier pup, who gets more exercise and more fresh air from his new found freedom.