Your pet is one step closer to freedom! Now, they just need to learn how to use their new door…
With time and patience, you can definitely teach an old dog new tricks. Below, are some tips on making training a breeze. We also will include some common mistakes to avoid. Feel free to comment with any additional concerns and we would be glad to help!
Starting the Process
1. Consistency is key
This goes hand in hand with the saying “practice makes perfect.” Training your pet does take time, but this counts as practice for them. Sticking to the same methods and doors will give your pet a better chance of learning fast. If you plan on having different types of pet doors in the house, choose one to use during the training exercises.
2. Keep it cool, calm, and collected
Every pet learns differently, and in the event your pet needs some extra time with their door, stay patient. Trying to rush the process can confuse your pet, and stall the process. It is best to refrain from pushing or shoving your pet through the door. First, introduce them to the flap. You can push it open and close to show them how it works. Try to keep it open and encourage them to peer their head through so they know it is safe. If your pet is having trouble getting comfortable with their door, position yourself outside so they can come to you. Treats are also a great way to entice a walk through
3. Set a time limit
It is a good idea to set a time limit for training. We recommend it be 10 minutes at a time. The harder time your pet has might indicate more training sessions throughout the week or day.
4. Make sure the Flap is the Correct Size
There might be nothing more awkward than getting stuck in somewhere you don’t fit. Before installing your item, make sure your pet will be able to fit through that opening. If they get stuck mid-way, they definitely cannot train to use it!
5. Adapt to the different Flaps
There are so many different model doors. Each door has their own flap that can be clear, heavily magnetized, or electronic. We have provided additional tips and tricks to get your pet comfortable with different flap types:
Clear Flaps: Your pet might confuse this with a window. You can place a piece of masking tape on the flap to remind your pet they can go through it.
Magnetized flaps: Energy efficient flaps can come with side or bottom magnets, or both. This can cause the flap to increase in weight, making it harder to push. If you can, remove a magnet to let your pet get the hang of it. Otherwise, help push it open the first few times.
Electronic Flaps: When activated by a chip or collar key, a clicking noise will unlock the flap. If this noise frightens your pet, it is best to positively reinforce the sound. You can encourage and praise your pet for going through despite the noise. You can also turn off the electronic device until they fully understand how to pass through.
Common Actions to Avoid
Some repeated actions happen during training. We mentioned giving treats and praises, but there is a time and a place for that. Overdoing some training methods can give you the opposite results.
1. Too Many Treats
This type of encouragement can take away your pet’s motivation to train. Treats should be a surprise reward. Starting off with them is fine, but work to move away from them. Instead, try rewarding with toys.
2. Emotional Overload
Whether it’s positive or negative, too much emotion can confuse and frustrate your pet. Negative feedback can cause your pet to associate the pet door with fear. Too much positive feedback can be distracting to learn. Your pet might get overly excited or hyper. Your pet has a better chance of staying focused and learning fast if their coach presents themselves as a calm authority. Gentle praise and affection has a higher effect on learning capabilities.
3. Stay on Track
This refers to staying on track with time and your participation efforts. Consistent sessions are important, if you set aside 10 minutes a day, make that an everyday finish time. Working for different times every day can easily frustrate your pet and cause a loss of focus. In addition, you want to make sure you are not getting frustrated easily. Continue until there is a success, follow it with appraisal, then time-out the session.
These training tips and tricks apply to both cats and dogs! It takes two to train, stick with your pet until the end, and it will be worth it.