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Electronic dog doors

Automatic or Electronic dog doors are doors that open with the aid of a “key” consisting of a small sensor or transmitter located on your dog’s collar, or activated by you with a remote control unit or sometimes a small keyfob. Some of these look like traditional flap-style doors, with the difference that only the proper key (remote) can open the door. Others are high-tech sliding affairs that glide up and down when activated or, as noted above, entire patio doors that can open and close automatically. Most can be turned off or locked if you don’t want your dog to use them. In addition, you usually have the choice of hard-wiring them, or plugging them into a household outlet with an extension cord.

Although these doors may be called motorized or electric, in reality all doors that operate by means of a remote “key” on your dog’s collar, or a handheld remote control unit or
keyfob operated by you are electronic. However, when reading product descriptions, an “electronic” door usually refers to one which unlocks a flap that the pet may then push open and pass, while “automatic” means a door that swings or slides open of itself when the dog approaches.

Electronic Dog Door Activation
The type of activation used, whether light (infrared), sound (ultrasonic), or magnetic might be important if you have other remotely controlled devices such as wireless fencing or electronic training collars. In that case, finding a dog door that uses the same type of sensor would be most convenient, as it might be possible to use one key for two or more systems.

Bi-directional and Uni-directional
Something else to keep in mind is that electronic doors may be either bi-directional or uni-directional. A bi-directional door is one that allows the pet to go in and out at will, while a uni-directional door is one that allows any dog to exit the door, but only the one wearing the key may enter. However, be aware that not all uni-directional doors will necessarily keep out unwanted animals or vermin. The reason is that most of these doors are held shut by small locking tabs that prevent the door from being pushed in. But animals with claws, such as roaming tomcats, or skunks or raccoons, can get a hold of the flap, lift it outward, and then climb in. The sliding type of automatic door is really the only type that effectively keeps out unwanted furry guests.

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