"Step-Over" is the height of the bottom of the pet door above the ground. In other words, it is the height that the pet must "step over" to use the pet door. (The term "rise" was coined by Patio Pacific in the 1990's and, at the time, it seemed a good choice. We now think "step-over" conveys the meaning more clearly to our customers).
This dimension is extremely important!
The top of the flap is ideally placed at least as tall as the pet at the withers (top of the shoulder). Usually, you'll need to add step-over height to get the flap up high enough. For example: Your dog is 22" at the withers and you buy a pet door with a 15" flap. You'd need a 7" step-over to get the top of the flap up high enough. If you had purchased a 19" flap, then you'd only need a 3" step-over.
Generally, the shorter the step-over the better. As dogs age or become arthritic, it becomes more difficult to manage a higher step-over.
When installing a pet door in a door or wall, you can choose the step-over dimension. However, for most patio panels the step-over is fixed. The exceptions are the Quick Panel III™ and the Thermo Panel IIIe™ which have a patented user-adjustable step-over.
This is one of the biggest advances in the panel pet door since they were invented in the 1970's!
Here's the explanation
Rise is a term invented by Patio Pacific many years ago and generally adopted by the industry.
It refers to the height of the flap above the base of the pet door.
We at Patio Pacific now think that "step-over" more accurately conveys the meaning to the consumer.
'"Step-Over" is very important to the comfort of your pet. A higher step-over gets the flap up higher for a taller dog which avoids him having to stoop to get through.
On the other hand, a lower step-over is less to 'step over'.
In the past, a consumer that wanted a different step-over for any reason had to buy another patio pet door. If you misjudged and got a door with too tall a step-over you were in trouble. Likewise, if you replaced a short pet with a tall pet or vice-versa, you had a problem.
The adjustable step-over concept greatly increases your flexibility with the pet door. By simply removing the bottom flap assembly and cross pieces with a Phillips head screwdriver, you can rearrange the order of the cross pieces to get the step-over higher or lower.
This patented feature is only available on pet doors manufactured by Patio Pacific Inc and its licensees.
These parts were removed from the panel at top with the Phillips head screwdriver shown.