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Dog Door Training Tips That Actually Work!

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Since we adopted Wolfgang last November, we could not get him to use the dog door. I've tried lifting up the flap, coaxing him through with treats, having Truman go in and out to set a visual example. Absolutely no luck. He's scared to death of the flap touching his back. For the last six months, Sterling and I have been his "doormen." Recently, though, I got a new position with work that's further from home (meaning no more mid-day potty breaks). I finally put my foot down this week and made a concerted effort to teach him the dog door.


I found this awesome article with step-by-step instructions on getting timid dogs to learn the dog door. So helpful!!


For the first two days, I removed the flaps and left the door wide open. He immediately started using it. After meals, he'd started letting himself out without any prompting. I started seeing him going out on his own to play with toys and lay in the grass.


On the third day, I tacked up a tea towel that covers the hole halfway. At first, he was totally uncomfortable. I had to hold the towel up for him to go out. Then, coming in, he stood outside for 30 minutes without even making an attempt. Then finally... he did it!


We're going to continue moving slow, gradually lowering the towel, then replacing it with a cardboard flap. Then *hopefully* he'll be able to master the scary rubber flap. But for the first time in many months, I'm encouraged that he's not a total lost cause. :lol For anyone else who has problems getting their grey to use the doggie door, I definitely recommend this article.




(And just because I know the rules, here's a picture of our Whoopie Pie. Truman has persistently been trying to teach him "tug." He's finally getting it!)

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I did it the same way for scary dogs. No flap, then a towel. CeeCee took seven weeks, with four other dogs running in and out. After five weeks she would come in but not go out. One day I came home and found het outside. She was using the door, but not with me watching!

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My dog door is a Magnadoor, so the flap is hard plastic, not a flexible flap. My first grey wouldn't go out or in unless I bungee-corded the door open at all times (loved air-conditioning the outdoors during hot Florida summers!), but Sheba took to it right away. She had been muzzled in the early rescue days so her nose didn't push on the door, only the muzzle, so she got used to the plastic flap. It hitting her back didn't seem to faze her even in the beginning.


In hindsight, when I had the door installed, I should have raised it up some because she has to squat a bit to get through. Could be more difficult as she ages (she's 8 now).

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Guest xengab

We did this by accident. Our dog door kit was missing the dry wall screws.. SOOO we'd the hole in the wall, with the plastic lip for the door in it and we had to dash up to the hardware store. Dog was INSIDE when we left, and outside when we came home.. Then we had issues with the flaps themselves not fitting in right, so we had a towel over the opening for a day. (flaps had been bent). So once we got it all sorted out he was ok with the flaps and that was that..LOL

So much nicer for them when they can potty outside and come in when needed.

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Bacon. Bacon taught our Airedale to use a dog door. The greys picked it up pretty quickly. The dale flat out refused to use it. All three dogs were in the backyard one day and I was cooking bacon. Next thing I knew, I looked down and Jackson was standing next to me. Busted. After that I stopped letting him in and out the regular door and made him use the dog door.

Tessie, PK's Cat Island 12/9/13
Gabby the Airedale 7/1/18
Forever missing Grace (RT's Grace, 18156/23B), Fenway (not registered, def a greyhound), and Jackson (airedale terrier, honorary greyhound)

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Guest Shermanator

My only other item to point out was when was his last vet visit? Is he sore anywhere? Our sweet Echo STOPPED using the dog door after 3 years. She'd walk up to it, place her head on the flap like she was going out, and then back up.

Turns out her leg was hurting her. And because she was hurting, she'd struggle on the tile floor. We got her checked out, and placed rubber backed rugs on the floor. Problem solved!

Good luck!

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