How can I train a dog to use a dog door?

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Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night to take your dog out? Wouldn’t it just be nice if you could come home from work dog tired (pun intended!) and not have to rush to get the dog out?

Well, unfortunately, dogs can’t take themselves out for a walk, but a doggie door can answer a lot of your needs, because once you teach your dog to use it, you’ll never have to get up to open the door again.

You’ll both have a lot of fun with the training and if you turn it into a game and your dog will catch on quickly.

Here are some easy instructions on teaching your dog to use her own door:

• Pull the flap of your doggie door all the way up vertically and tape it flat to the wall or door. This will leave the opening free and clear and look like a big hole in the door to your dog. The objective is to leave the doggy door open so she can come and go at will. By the way, this principle also applies to create-training your dog; many people hold on to the crate and leave the door ajar so the adult dog can come and go as she pleases.

• Put your dog inside the house, but you go into your backyard or outdoor area. Then call your dog; you may need to use an enticement, such as a treat or some favorite toy, at first to get her to figure it out. Once she does, though, praise lavishly.

• Keep repeating this process until the dog is comfortable going in and out and you are confident that she has mastered this part.

• Now that you’re sure she understands it, remove the tape and lower the flap back into place over the doggie door. Then go back outside and call your dog again. You may have to push the doggie door flap a few times to show the dog that it moves. When the dog comes out, give her a treat and praise lavishly.

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