dog going through dog door

Doggie door training

My little furry friend just got his own private entrance, a doggie door installed in my bedroom wall. It leads to a ramp I had built for him.

This type of doggie door has two magnetized flaps which I think makes it a little more challenging for a dog to learn to use. I was able to train him in one week. I think it would have been faster working with two people but I figured out how to do it on my own.

There were two parts to the training: Teaching him HOW to use the doggie door and teaching him WHY he needs to use it.

Here’s the wall entry pet door that I bought.

PetSafe wall entry pet door

PetSafe wall entry pet door

And here’s what it looks like installed with a ramp.

PetSafe wall entry pet door and custom made ramp

PetSafe wall entry pet door and custom made ramp

Training the dog how to use the doggie door and ramp

It’s tempting to want to push the dog through the pet door, but he needs to want to go through it on his own.

Koda didn’t want to have anything to do with either the pet door or the ramp so I had to make him associate it with something he loves dearly—cheese!

I put him inside his crate positioned in front of the dog door with both of the flaps taped open. Then I went outside and put a piece of cheese inside the opening. He was very hesitant to stick his head in there but the cheese was irresistible. We did this a few times to let him get used to putting his head in there.

Then I held some cheese in my hand and tried to coax him to come out by putting it just out of reach. He had to take a step to reach it.

dog putting his head through pet door to eat a treat

Koda finds a piece of cheese on the other side of the doggie door

After that I brought him outside and made a little trail of cheese on the ramp. He practiced going up and down the ramp a few times.

A trail of cheese on the ramp for pet door training

A trail of cheese on the ramp for pet door training

I limited training to five or ten minutes and we did it when he was a little hungry, a couple hours before dinner.

We did that routine for the first two days.

By the third day when he saw me take the cheese outside, he ran over to the ramp. I put the flaps down but pushed them open with my hand. When he went through them, I allowed the flaps to gently fall on his head and body so he would get used to the feeling and the sounds it made.

Each time I would open the flaps a little less so that he could still see me and the cheese but was encouraged to push through with his head.

Eventually I put both the flaps down and called to him while holding the cheese up to the flaps. He tried pushing them open with his paw, still reluctant to use his head. I had to help him a little but he was doing more of the work on his own.

Training the dog why he needs to use the doggie door

By the fourth day when he would signal that he wanted to go outside, I would say the phrase I always use for that, “Let’s go outside” and led him to the doggie door instead of the back door. When we got there I pushed the flaps open and he went outside.

That evening when I was getting ready for bed he actually walked over to the doggie door. I pushed the flaps open and he went right outside. That’s when I knew he understood what it was for.

Putting all the training together

By the seventh day, he would go out through the doggie door, with some assistance from me, but he wouldn’t come back in that way.

It just so happened that day a guest came over when he was outside and he wanted to come in and see her. He was crying at the back door for five to ten minutes when all of a sudden he came bursting through the doggie door all on his own! He had figured it out. I was so proud and praised him!

And from that moment on he’s been going in and out of the door without any help from me.

dog using wall entry pet door

You can see by his curly tail that Koda is happy with his new doggie door

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