Training a Dog to Use a Pet Door

Thursday 7th July 2022

Pet doors are perfect for allowing active pets to come and go on their own terms. They provide freedom for both you and your pet and minimize the chance of accidents in the home.

While using a pet door is easy for some pets, for others it can take some time. This training guide walks you through how to teach your pet to use a new pet door.

Step #1: Familiarization

Once you install a new dog door or cat door, familiarize your pet with it. You can sit next to the pet door and encourage your pet to join you with a treat or their favorite toy. When they come over, make sure to give them treats and pets.

Step #2: Practice

Once your pet is familiar with the pet door, it’s time to have them practice. Start by heading outside then stand near the pet door and call to your pet. Give them lots of verbal praise if they come through. You can also use treats and toys during this process to encourage your pet through the door.

Step #3: Troubleshooting

If steps one and two are not enough, you may need to move a little slower. More timid pets may still be uncomfortable with the feeling of walking through the pet door. Here’s what you can do in this scenario:

  1. Prop the pet door flap open or have another person hold the flap open.
  2. Go outside with your pet’s favorite treat or toy on hand and call them through.
  3. Once they successfully come through the opening, start lowering the flap down bit by bit each time. This will help them get used to the feel of the flap on their back.
  4. Lower the flap down a few inches after each successful time your pet comes through the opening until they can navigate the closed flap on their own.

Some pets prefer a lighter flap that doesn’t feel as weighty on their back. The Dragon Pet Door is a great option with a lightweight flap that is comfortable for pets of all sizes to use.

Step #4: Repeat the Process

Positive reinforcement is key when training your pet to use a pet door. Repeat the steps above in short intervals until your pet can confidently use the pet door on their own.

Short training sessions a few times a day will be much more effective than longer training sessions. Two 10-minute training sessions per day should do the trick.

Choosing the right size pet door is essential when purchasing a pet door. A pet door that fits your pet comfortably will make the training process a breeze.