The outdoors are plentiful with dangers. Before letting your four-legged friend go outside, check whether your fencing is secure. Make sure there are no potential weak spots that could lead to an escape. If you live in a rural area, watch out for wild animals. Check for poisonous plants and chemicals as they can make your dog very sick. Clear the area of any small rocks, toys, or other debris that your dog could swallow.
Begin the training session by removing the doggy flap from the door. If it isn’t detachable, tape it into an open position. Find a friend to help you with the training, preferably a friend or a family member. The helper can keep your dog company inside while you sit outside.
One method is to call your pet’s name from outside and see how they respond. Have some dog treats in hand as a reward. Treats can do wonders for teaching your pup some proper manners.
He might run through the door, or he can be more fearful and retreat into his dog house. If he gets through the door, say “yes” and give him a treat. If he doesn’t want to go through on his own, your helper can gently push him from behind. Maybe your dog will come partway through the door. In this case, use positive reinforcement, but don’t give him the reward. It’s important to repeat this a couple of times and don’t do more dog door training that day.
Another method is the lure method. You can make a trail of dog treats leading from inside, through the doggy door, to outside. Or you can have your dog’s favorite treat attached to a toy. If your dog gets through the door, say “yes” enthusiastically and reward them. Repeat five to ten times.
On the second day, repeat one of the exercises with the flap down. Have your helper inside with the dog while you call him from outside. In the beginning, your friend may need to push the flap open before the dog goes through, but try helping as little as possible. Once he sees you, he might be less scared to get through.
While he goes through the door, have your helper slowly let the flap come down over his back. The puppy should get used to the feel and sound of the flap.
Each time they go through the door, try helping less and less until he’s going through on his own. Repeat five to ten times.
You and your helper should start adding distance from the door as the dog gets used to the flap. But make sure you continue calling him from the other side or luring him with a treat. Every time he gets through the door, say “yes” and reward him with his favorite treat. Continue practicing until your pal is using the doggy door independently.
If you want to encourage your puppy to use the pet door more often, stop him from using the regular door. Place his potty outside the doggy door to teach him that he should use the flap. Another idea is to place his food on the other side of the door to motivate him to use the doggy flap more often.
This is probably the most important dog door training tip. Remain patient with your dog. Some dogs need plenty of practice before they learn and get used to a pet flap. Don’t push them through the door roughly. The best thing you can do is remain enthusiastic and reward him every time he makes an effort. Show him love and use a cheerful tone of voice. By doing so, he’ll know that he did the right thing. If your puppy is easily scared, use a soft tone of voice to calm him down.