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Hello!

 

I just recently put in a dog door, since I can work long hours, sometimes unexpectedly, and feel it is unfair to make the dogs wait to relieve themselves on my schedule. The rat terrier has learned to use it to the point where she has actually gone out on her own. Katie-the-greyhound, on the other hand, will use it if I hold the flaps open for her, but doesn't seem to like the feel of the flaps brushing her as she goes through them. I am currently working on reinforcing her for using the door, and doing "touch" at it, to get the idea that she can in fact push it open, and feel that with time she will eventually get the idea, especially if Pixie keeps using the door. Katie is a much less confident dog, so I figured it would take her longer.

 

So... any tips on helping her get used to this? And what's the longest time that it has taken your dog to master this?

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My blog about helping Katie learn to be a more normal dog: http://katies-journey-philospher77.blogspot.com/

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I put my dogs on a leash and pulled them through while coaxing with treats...they also hated the flaps. If the weather is nice, I push the dog through and wait for them to come back through on their own. If they REALLY have to go, trust me, they will go through it...or all of mine and fosters have. I've had a foster show up on a Sunday and I had to go to work on Monday...the foster used it no problem even after acting like they wouldn't go through the evil flaps. Some dogs are more persnickety than others...and some literally are hoping you will baby them to get more treats/rewards out of it but they really can/will use the dog door.

 

I should add, what size is your door? Mine is the largest one they make, a St. Bernard could fit through. If a door is too small, that could cause them not to want to go through.

 

Good luck, with some patience she should pick up on it soon enough. Plus at the farms they essentially have dog doors from their kennel to their runs...so don't let them fool you about the flaps.

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Marble, Noah, Eden, Raya (red heeler), Cooper & Trooper (naughty kittens)

Missing my bridge angels: Pop, Zelda, Mousey & Carmel

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All of my dogs have gone through it with no problem, with two exceptions. I had a foster that never learned to use it in the 2-3 weeks she was at my house, but her adopters told me later that she eventually learned. I will say, this dog was not the sharpest tool in the shed. If she had been a human, she would have been the blonde in all those blonde jokes :lol

 

Conner also does not like the dog door, but I always felt he would use it if he really had too, and I recently got conformation of that. He and Sallie were playing in the house and she grabbed a toy and ran outside through the dog door, and he went right out after her with no hesitation! Stinker still wants me to be his doorman the rest of the time, and of course, I comply :rolleyes:

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Treats and coaxing. Hold flap up and only let it touch their back once they are almost through. I found it easier to take them out and work on going in. If you and the other dog come in, they are more motivated to join you. Taking other dogs in and doing something fun inside where the outside dog could see (mine can see inside the house through adjacent large window) worked well. Treat a lot for just putting nose through to get the treat. My 5 all learned pretty quickly, probably 3-5 days for the slowest. Now it is a thundering herd constantly going in and out, which has its own problems.

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Try taping the flap up about 3/4 of the way where she can see you then go out in the yard. Then when the terrier comes out proceed to have a fun filled slightly noisy party involving treats and toys. After she gets that down you can trying lowering the flap and repeat. I know some people have had luck taping up the flap and then taping a lighter colored old towel covering 1/2 way down so they get used to something brushing on their backs. Mine is an X-Large now because my bridge kid Buddy was just too big for the Large (10.5 X 15.5) one I'd had for more than 10 years.

I thought a month was the longest it took one to learn, but highly think I was wrong. I kept paying someone to let them out when I was at work because of the holdout. One day I came home from the grocery store and all three bounded in from the back yard. I have no idea how long the one I thought wouldn't use the dog door had been using it when I wasn't there. :)

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I had a dog who took five months to come in, and another month to go out. This was with four other greyhounds who used it several times a day. She would chase them to the door, and put the brakes on. She wasn't peeing in the house, so I let her go at her own pace. Can you take the flap off for a day? Or tape it open?

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I had some trouble persuading a couple of dogs in my former house, where the dog door let out immediately onto steps instead of a flat space. A combination of motivational treats and holding the door partially open helped to make it a positive experience. Make sure Katie has a successful trial -- at whatever level -- every day. I read one suggestion that you tape the flap out of the way and tape something that just barely touches them -- fabric or plastic strips -- to get them used to it.

 

Almost all dogs will learn sooner or later. Although my dear Bazzy refused to go out the door onto those steps at the old house when I was home. No problem coming back in, or going out on his own when I wasn't there to provide concierge service.

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Ellen, with brindles Milo and Jeter, and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, and Nutmeg

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The door is 23 X11, and she will go through it with just a little "gathering of courage" (come up, circle away, come back and go through), for which she is currently getting treats. It's the pushing and the brushing of the plastic that is getting to her right now. And it doesn't help matters that little Pixie has no problems with the door, especially when treats are involved! That makes it a bit hard to get Katie out, since Pix will hog the limelight as much as she can in that situation.

 

But yep, I figure with time, she will get used to it. And Pixie was the one with the issues when the day goes late, so I am hopeful that this will all eventually work out.

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My blog about helping Katie learn to be a more normal dog: http://katies-journey-philospher77.blogspot.com/

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Guest k9soul

There are often two things that have taken some time for my dogs to get used to with their dog door. One is learning to push it open themselves, and two is getting used to the flap running along their back as they go through. I have now had six dogs learn to use my dog door. I have never had a dog in here yet that never got willing to use it with some time and patience. It probably took my timid (RB) golden retriever the longest. I think it took my newest boy, Cole, about 2-3 weeks to fully use it on his own.

 

What I generally do is first of all simply let them in and out each time through the dog door while I hold the flap up. They always go in and out that way, get them used to doing that for about a week or so so that they simply get used to that being how they go in and out but without any pressure to "use" the dog door or deal with the flap.

 

When they seem comfortable with that, I move to "stage two." For me this is helping them go out by holding up the flap as usual, but starting to encourage them to come in by holding the flap part way and letting it brush their back a bit as they come in. I usually am employing some treats too by this time to encourage. As they seem to show comfort with that step, I begin holding the flap partway up and encouraging them to push it a bit to come in. I always work with coming back in first rather than going out because mine are always much more eager to come back inside and more willing to push a bit to do so. I eventually reach a point then where I just lift a corner of the flap and they push the rest of the way through. I then use high value treats and work on trying to get them to do the same thing to come outside with me starting the flap and them pushing the rest of the way through. Once you reach this point, you're getting pretty close.

 

At this point I start really heavily encouraging, calling, coaxing, bribing, etc etc for them to push and come in on their own. At first they get excited and may partly push it and then it goes closed again or may paw at the door. Any of this I reward and then if they can't quite do it, I hold the corner and let them push in again. I just keep doing this. Every single dog at some point finally goes for it, they push and come in. At this point, I usually get a dog who will now come in on their own but won't go out on their own.

 

So I just continue working on going out then. I keep up with the same methods of coaxing/encouraging, treating for coming out, often having to open it a little with my hand to start it and then they come on out. And eventually, by sheer repetition, and especially since they are coming in on their own, they finally just do it. Once they do it on their own, that's usually it. They got it, they need no more help.

 

With my very very timid golden, he had setbacks sometimes where he'd get nervous again and I would have to back up and work with him a bit again. But eventually he had no more setbacks and used the door easily. This is a dog that shied at mailboxes as we went past, freaked out about rocking chairs moving near him, and was nervous to go outside on windy days because of tree branches overhead blowing around. Yet he did finally get completely comfortable using the dog door.

 

So that's how it has gone for me. Whew, a bit of an essay but now with having gone through this with so many dogs, this has become my tried and true method. I think the biggest thing is getting it established in their mind that this is the way to go in and out now. Once that really becomes their routine, they get more confident about it. Cole still actually used his foot to kick the door open and then quickly shoved his head in open gap and then came in the rest of the way. But I've noticed now it's all so old hat to him he just pushes with his nose the same as the others.

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