Top 3 Reasons Why Your Pet Isn’t Using Your Pet Door

Dog looking out dog doorA pet door can be the perfect solution for busy pet owners and active pets. When pets are able to let themselves out, a range of issues are solved. The result is more independence for both the pet and the owner. Some of the benefits of pet doors include:

• No longer having to schedule and plan around letting the pet out
• No more sudden wake-ups in the middle of the night
• Fewer messes to clean up in the home
• More freedom and more exercise for pets

While all those benefits sound great, some pets take to pet doors much more easily than others. Pet door problems and lack of use can happen for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common:

Your Pet is Afraid of It

Some animals simply fear the unfamiliar, even if it ultimately improves their quality of life. A new pet door can be confusing to your pets and cause them to shy away or avoid it. If they aren’t used to going outdoors without you, they may hesitate to do so on their own. You can minimize the fear response by praising them whenever they go near the door. Use lots of positive reinforcement, and avoid making using the pet door a stressful experience. Check out our post on training your pet to use a pet door for tips, advice and recommendations.

The Door Is Too Small

If you miscalculate the ideal pet door size for your pet, the result may be a door your pet cannot fit through or one that is just too snug for your pet to feel comfortable using. When buying a pet door, make sure to accurately measure your pet’s width and height, and then buy a door that’s a bit larger in each direction. Allow your pets some breathing room; if the fit is too snug, they’re more likely to be hesitant about using it. See our tips on measuring your pet in order to get the correct sizing for your pet door. In the end getting the right size door will save you money and time.

Improper Training

Training your dog to use a pet door with a treatPets that have never been properly trained to use a pet door may develop negative associations that result in pet door problems. The ideal way to train your pet to use a pet door involves these basic steps and ideas:

  • Go outside and encourage the pet to come through the door and join you.
  • Use positive reinforcement; give your pets a treat and lots of attention when they use the door successfully.
  • Use short training sessions of 10 to 15 minutes per day; don’t overwhelm them.
  • If they resist using the door, prop the door flap open during training or remove it completely at first to show your pet the outside or what is on the other side of the door.
  • If you will be installing multiple pet doors, buy and install the same type of door in all locations to promote consistency. This will help your pet recognize all your pet doors and not have to differentiate.

A pet door can bring enjoyment and independence to both you and your pet. Avoid pet door problems by following the basic tips provided above and visit for more information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on “Top 3 Reasons Why Your Pet Isn’t Using Your Pet Door

  1. Cole

    My dog struggled learning to use a dog door. I tried partially opening the flap and using a lot of treats every time he got near but nothing seemed to work. While I never tried completely removing the flap (which sounds like a good idea) the issue resolved itself when our friend came over with their dog who was trained using a dog door and demonstrated for my puppy how to properly use it. All my dog needed was an example and now, the problem doesn’t come up anymore.