How Do You Train A Dog To Use A Doggie Door? (Easy Steps & Complete Guide)

Training your dog to use a doggie door takes time and patience, and it’s best to train your dog how to use a doggie door as early as you can. 

There are numerous methods shown to help ease your dog into using the doggie door when they need to go to the bathroom, as well as some reasons why your dog might be reluctant to use the doggie door. 

Use Treats As An Incentive

One of the easiest ways to help train your dog to use the doggie door is by rewarding them with treats when they successfully walk in and out of the door. Many dogs are food-motivated, and they’ll have fun hearing that they are a good dog before munching on their treat. 

Go Slow 

First, you can offer your dog a treat as a reward when they push their head through the door. Next, you can reward them when they start slowly getting more comfortable using the door. 

Continue rewarding them with treats as they progress every few days. This will help them get acclimated to using the doggy door at the pace that works best for them. 

Keep The Door Off Or Opened At The Beginning

You obviously don’t want to leave a big gap open in your door at all times. However, when you are at the beginning of your doggie door training, removing the door or making sure it’s propped open at all times during training is a good place to start. 

Your dog will be able to clearly see you through the opening, as well as see the yard they can go roam around in. Gently encourage them to slowly walk in and out of the door. Be sure to reward them when they are successful. 

Have Someone Help You 

Training a dog can be a difficult task, so you might want to recruit some help. Have one person sit on one side of the doggie door, and the other on the opposite side of the door. Make sure this person is someone that your dog trusts. 

One person should gently guide the door to use the doggie door, and when the dog does so, the other person should congratulate them. Repeat the process until your dog gets acclimated to the door. 

Be sure to call them by name and use something to prop open the doggie door so that your pup can see you clearly and know you’re on the other end. 

Make The Door Easy To Push Open 

Doggie doors can be heavy, and they may also be magnetized in order to keep them closed when not in use. You might have to slightly alter your doggie door to make it as light and easy to push through as possible before your dog gets used to using it. 

This might include replacing the door with a lighter material at first, or removing the magnets or closing mechanisms on the door so your pup can practice walking in and out of the door with ease. 

Be Sure To Encourage Them

You’ve seen how your dog’s tail flaps wildly when you tell them they are good, they are cute, or happily chat with them. You want to ensure that while you’re training them to use the doggie door, you use positive language and an excited tone when they do good. 

Tell them “yes; you can do it; you’re doing so well; you’re a good boy/girl” when you’re in the process of training them so they are excited about using the door properly. 

Don’t Forget To Train Them To Come Back Inside

It will get easier and easier to encourage your dog to use the doggie door to go outside, where they can roam and play and enjoy the sunshine. It could be a little more difficult to convince them to want to come back inside. 

The training methods don’t need to change. However, once they are comfortable using the door, you want to ensure you train them to come back inside after you see them go to the bathroom. 

Consider sticking with a consistent command so they know that it’s time to come inside after going potty, and a different command when they need to come in after leisure time. 

Do Not Force Them

You should not try and push your dog in and out of the doggie door, especially if you notice they are apprehensive. This will only lead your dog to be scared of the door. It could also cause your dog to become fearful of you if you are not kind to them during this process. 

Patience is vital to training your dog in any facet of life, including using a doggie door. 

Why Should I Opt For A Doggie Door?

Having a doggie door installed can make potty training your dog a lot easier. You will not have to get up at all hours of the day in order to take your dog outside once they get used to the doggie door. 

Your dog will also enjoy being able to run outside at their leisure, either to run around and burn some energy, or to go to the bathroom as they please. You should still be keeping an eye on them, even if from indoors, as much as you can until you know they are completely secure in the yard on their own. 

Are Doggie Doors Safe?

Doggie doors can be safe when they are fitted to your door properly, are made with durable materials, and are equipped with some type of locking mechanism that you can engage when you are not home. 

Why Might My Dog Avoid A Doggie Door?

If your dog is one that doesn’t like to be without you, you might notice they get anxious using a doggie door when they cannot see you on the other end. 

If your dog is small, they might also be afraid of what might possibly be waiting for them outside. If you live in an area that is prone to predators, or isn’t super secure in terms of a sturdy fence, you might want to create barriers so other creatures cannot get inside your backyard.