How to Train Your Pet to Use Their Pet Door

Posted by Jon Mortensen on Dec 9th 2017

Pets are considered family by most dog and cat owners. And just like family, we want to make sure that they get the happiness they deserve. One of the ways we can keep our pets happy is by providing your dog and/or cat with the freedom they need to go in and out of the house. This leads to many pet owners installing their own dog door, cat hole or other choice of pet door.

We should mention to those who have yet to consider a pet door installation, that there are pet doors for every size dog and cat and for any application. You can find the pet door your looking for at that include Pet Doors for Doors, Wall Dog Doors, Pet Doors for Screens, Sliding Glass Dog Door, Pet Doors for Glass/Window, Electronic/Automatic Pet Doors and excellent dog door solutions for larger breeds like Great Danes.

However, at first, not all pets will find it easy to use them. To help aid you in training your pet to use their new door and enjoy the freedom that awaits them, in this article we share some of the ways to train your pet to use their door.

Before the actual training, you will want to first consider the following:

  • Make sure you got the right size pet door. Not only will this ensure success with the training, it will also provide your pet the ease to learn. Failing to do this may cause your pet to get discouraged from using it forever. Just imagine them being stuck in the door. This will leave them feeling uncomfortable and with a bad experience and impression of pet doors. You have to properly read the product description and make sure that it is fit for your pet's breed.
  • Before beginning the training, you may want to make sure to flap the pet door up on the wall. This is to make sure that your pet won't get surprised and shocked by the impact whenever they go through it during the earlier parts of the training. Then as your pet gets more and more used to it, you can gradually hold the flap up less and less.
  • Be aware of the following adjustments:
    1. Magnet Adjustments – Some flaps come with magnets. For your still-learning pets, this may come off as harder to push through. Again, this will discourage them from learning how to use their pet doors. To adjust this magnetic hold, you can try taping down the threshold (that is if your pet door comes with a movable threshold). Another trick is to remove the magnet directly. If you can't do this, then try putting some painters tape over it.
    2. Flap Adjustments – You can either remove the tap or simply tape/fold it up. Furthermore, some flaps can be hard to distinguish between a pet door and a window for your pets. You can try putting a piece of masking tape across the flap.
    3. Electronic Doors – Electronic pet doors usually make a sound that may scare your pets off. They are usually sensitive when it comes to encountering something for the first time. To remedy this, you can turn off or uninstall the electric device that makes a noise then, as they get used to the door, try gradually putting it back.Keep in mind to prepare treats. This will help motivate your pet during the training.

Once prepared, use the following tips to guide you through the training:

  • Begin by introducing to the concept of the "human" door. This will provide your pet the initial knowledge of what a door is for and how to use it.
  • You must be able to identify whether your dog prefers inside or outside. Knowing this may help your pet to be more motivated to go through the door since they have a goal. You must be ready to step either inside or outside, depending on your pet's choice, to call your pet through the door.
  • Don't try to exhaust your pet from too much training. Learn to limit the training to no more than 10 minutes. You can always start the next day again. Forcing your pet to train and get it right immediately may cause them to be fearful of it.
  • Be patient. Expect that your pet may not get it the first time. However, you mustn't let this frustrate you. Never shove or push them through the door against their will. You will only scare them and cause them much stress.


Call From the Other Side

  • Once you identify which side your pet prefers, you can now adjust accordingly and start coaxing them to cross the door.
  • Make sure to use hand gestures while doing this.
  • If your dog successfully passed through the door, don't forget to reward them with treats and verbal praises.
  • You mustn't stop here, however. You still have to go to the other side to aid them to go inside and outside accordingly.
  • Also, remember not to exhaust them by giving them breaks.
  • After you successfully trained your pet to pass through whether in or out, you can now start adjusting the flap down until they get used to it without you calling them.

Treat Them

  • Motivate your dog by showing a treat from the other side.
  • You must consider choosing your pet's most favorite one for more willingness.
  • The same with the first method identify where your pet is most comfortable to start—from the inside or out.
  • Start calling your pet from the other side with the treat visible to them.
  • You mustn't give in and hand them the treat even if they didn't get it. Your pet must be able to go all the way through the door.
  • After doing this successfully, give the treat then proceed to the other side.

Physical Guidance

  • If your pet doesn't get easily panicked, then this is the method for them
  • Carefully pick your pet up and push them through the door.
  • Remember to be gentle and give verbal encouragement along the way and after.
  • Give your pet some treats to encourage them.
  • Continue to the other side if your dog feels comfortable with this method.