Q&A: My dog won’t use the doggy door when I’m home

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Question submitted by Sherri H.
I have a girl and a boy Shih Tzu. I have a dog door for them to go out in the backyard. The dog door is on my screen door. My girl dog loves it. My boy dog won’t go out the door if I’m home. I have to let him out the screen door and I have to stay and watch him. He’ll come back in the dog door on his own because I’m inside. Additionally, he’ll only go wee wee out there. I found when I’m not home he goes in and out the door. What should I do?
Terry’s answer

When I first read your question, I thought maybe something scary happened to your boy that he has associated with the dog door, but since he is using it when you’re not home, that’s probably not the case. I would encourage him to go through the door by putting his food bowl outside just outside the door. When he goes outside to eat, don’t follow him. When you go outside any other time, I would not let him follow you out the door, but go out by yourself and then while outside, encourage him to come out the dog door.  I think just breaking the habit of you letting him out the door will help. Good luck.

Terry Meeks is a dog trainer, APDT Member an CGC Evaluator in Pinellas County, Florida.  Find Four on the Floor Dog Training at FourontheFloor-Dogtraining.com and on Facebook.

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