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Dog Door Training

Dog Door Training

Finally, you have your new dog door installed! However, your dog will not instantly know what it is, nor how to use it. You’re going to have to teach him how (as with all training) and be prepared for it to take some time. Many dogs learn to use dog doors within a very short time. But others, especially timid or anxious dogs, might take weeks of patient coaching before they will be confident enough to use their doors. Be patient, don’t rush it, and above all don’t force your dog because, if you do, you may make him so afraid of the door that he will never use it.

There are basically two approaches to teaching your dog to use his new door.

Dog isn’t afraid of the door method:
The traditional method of training a dog to use a dog door is really just a matter of showing the dog the door, then putting yourself on one side of the door, your dog on the other, and enticing him to go through it by calling him or holding a treat. Of course, when he does come through, reward him with the treat, and spend a few minutes petting and playing with him before repeating the exercise. Many dogs will catch on in just a few minutes. Others will take a day or two. For the slower learners, try coaxing him from both inside and outside. If he’s seems very confused, try propping the door open at first, then lower it when he seems to understand what it’s for. Keep the whole exercise positive, be sure not to push your dog through the door or otherwise turn it into an unpleasant experience, and eventually he’ll get the idea.

Dog is afraid of the door method:
The above method may not work for some dogs, who are just too timid or anxious about the whole idea. If your dog is one of these, it may seem at first as though he will never catch on. Training the timid or anxious dog does take a lot more time and a lot more patience, but if you stick to it, don’t rush him, and above all don’t frighten or scold him, even this dog can eventually learn to use his door.

– Begin by removing the door’s cover or flap altogether, or use heavy tape to keep the door completely open. Entice your dog through the door by using treats, affection, whatever works. When he does, reward him and play with him for several minutes before trying again or he might think it was a bad thing to come in.
– After your dog will come in and out easily as above (and that may take several days), try covering the top part of the opening with a plastic bag or old towel. Entice him through as before. Gradually lower the covering until your dog becomes accustomed to the feeling of it dragging across his back and will go in and out easily
– Replace the towel with a piece of plastic or cardboard, and repeat step 2.
– Reattach or untape the original flap and coax the dog through as in the beginning. If necessary, tape a corner of the flap up, or only lower the flap part of the way so the dog can see the opening. Take your time with these steps and, if necessary backtrack to a previous step. With time and patience on your part, eventually even the shyest dog should be able to use the door with ease.

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