Training your dog to use a newly installed JGM pet door can be a challenging process. Whether you need to train a puppy to use one of our custom dog doors or train an older dog with an extra-large dog door, many of the same training methods can be utilized, provided your dog is not overly shy or fearful. However, even the most timid dog can be trained to use a dog door with patience and time.
There are several key points to consider before starting your dog’s pet door training. After installing your dog door in Phoenix home, keep that door open when you are home so that your pup gets used to going in and out of that doorway, even when the “human” door is closed. In addition, avoid letting the door flap hit your dog at the start of the pet door training, as the unexpected motion could deter them from using the door in the future. Once they get used to the doggie door, you can install the flap.
At least one of these training methods will work for any model of pet door, including pet flaps installed in French doors or sliding glass doors, high-security dog doors, wall dog doors, and patio dog doors.
Lure him with treats
Pet owners know sometimes the best way to coax a dog to do something is to reward them with their favorite treat. Whether your dog prefers biscuits, jerky treats, training treats, peanut butter, or any other snack, chances are they’rewilling to do a lot to be rewarded. Choose a strongly scented treat your dog will be eager to eat. In preparation for your training session, make sure your dog can see that you have the treats and let them sniff your hand to make sure they get excited.
The next step in the training process is to determine whether your dog would prefer going indoors or outdoors. If he prefers to stay inside, place him outside so that he can come inside and vice versa. While lifting the flap, wave the treat so that he can see it and call their name. Using the words “doggie door” or “outside” can be helpful to train with verbal cues.
Any attempt he makes to sniff the door or place a paw, nose or foot through the door should be met with lots of verbal praise and encouragement, but no treats. The goal is to make your dog excited enough to go through the dog door and encourage them to be confident enough to do it by themselves. As soon as they go completely through the door, reward them with treats, play time, pets, and lots of enthusiastic, verbal praise.
It is then time to switch sides. Repeat the same process while holding the flap up so that your dog passes through the dog door going the opposite direction. Continue to practice this exercise several times before taking a break to play or relax. It is important not to train for too long, otherwise your dog may become disinterested or, even worse, regress in their training.
Once your pooch is comfortable with the dog door, lower the flap gradually and let it touch him. It is natural for your dog to feel awkward or apprehensive about this new sensation. Make sure they regain their confidence with lots of verbal praise and constant encouragement. Repeat this exercise with adequate breaks in between sessions while lowering the flap a little more each time until your pooch is pushing through the dog door flap on their own!
Calling him through the door
It may not be necessary to use a treat to train some dogs. If your dog responds consistently to their name, you can repeat the above process by simply calling them through the dog door instead of waving a treat. We always recommend that you reward them with a treat, playtime and verbal praise once they make it all the way through the dog door successfully.
Put him through the door
This method of training only works with puppies and adult dogs that are NOT afraid of the dog door. The dog door installation team at JGM Pet Doors in Phoenix urges dog owners to NEVER force their pet through custom dog doors if they are visibly showing signs of distress or fear. These signs include cowering, flattened ears, bared teeth, tucked tail, shaking, and whimpering. Small-to-medium sized dogs that are comfortable being around the door can be placed through while being verbally praised to keep them calm.
After assisting your dog with getting through the dog door, give them the opportunity to try it on their own. Provide a treat, play time or excited verbal praise if your dog succeeds. Repeat this process going through the other side of the dog door until they are comfortable enough to go in and out both ways. Once again, if at any point your dog seems stressed or scared, try the other two methods described above or seek out the help of a professional dog trainer.
It is important to remember that no two dogs are the same and that you may have to try several different methods of training before you find one that works for your companion. Take frequent breaks and remember that patience is required when teaching your dog a new task.
For more information about the wide variety of dog doors and installation services that JGM Pet Doors provides throughout the Greater Phoenix Valley, contact us today!