Article by Bonnie Weinhold
A dog door can be hinged or spring operated or, more commonly, a “flap” which is installed into a door or wall to allow your dog to come and go at will without needing a person to open the door. Flaps hang from the top of the opening and flap when the dog passes through. Many pet owners find dog doors to be convenient and it reduces unwanted behavior from your dog such as scratching on doors or walls or relieving itself in the house.
Most dogs learn to use the dog door minutes after installing it. Using bits of meat or several toys for bait and the lesson is quick and easy, but some dogs find the whole experience frightening. The issues seem to be that the dog feels “trapped” inside when the flap is on top of him and the popping noise the magnets make when snapping closed. Luckily, there are steps you can take to train your dog to overcome these fears and begin to enjoy the freedom of coming and going at will.
Training should be spread out over several days and, if your dog is extremely anxious, a week or more may be needed. Don’t expect this to happen overnight. Training will require leaving the dog door open or partially open so it is best to do it during a mild time of year or over several nice days.