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Training your pet


Most pets are wary of anything new and will be hesitant or even afraid of your new pet door. We've found the best way to get started is to securely prop open the door to get the pet used to going in and out.  Some models make it easy to temporally remove the door, while others will require a stick or tape to hold the door open. Make sure the pet can't knock the door shut as this will usually scare the pet and may slow the training!

Before feeding time, place the pet on the other side of the pet door, and then go around and call your pet to the food through the door.  Usually they will hop through.  You might restrict the amount of food to a small portion, and then repeat the process 2 or 3 times.  Calling your pet (if they listen) through the opening can also work.  You should do it on both sides so they get used to going in and out.

You may be tempted to hold the pet door open while calling the pet to come through.  If you do this, be very careful to hold the door in the direction the pet will normally push the door.  If you push it away from you (which is easier for you), as the pet comes through you may release it and trap the poor pet's tail!  As the pet pulls harder to get out, the door will be pulled tighter on the tail. Needless to say, your pet will not be a happy camper.

With some comfort on the pet's part, you can lower or attach the door. Repeat the process above calling your pet or bribing them with a little food.  If your door has an electronic lock, we suggest not using it for a few days until they get comfortable using the door without locking. The electronic unlock will make some additional noise that can scare the pet, so it's best to introduce that once they are fully acclimated to the door.

Most pets will get the hang of it in a few days. This assumes the pet is used to being outdoors. A pet raised indoors may need some time to get used to the big outdoors, so be patient.  If you have more than one pet – often once the first pet gets the hang of it, the others will learn and follow along.

For cats that use a litter box, you may want to keep it for a few days while they first get used to going in and out of the door.  At some point you will move the litter box close to the pet door for a day, and then move it outside the pet door for a day. At this point they should be comfortable using the outdoors without the need for litter.

Key training tips

  • Avoid pushing your pet through the door
  • Avoid holding the door towards where the pet is coming (to avoid catching the tail if released)
  • If the door is braced open, be sure the pet can't knock it loose
  • Have patience and give your pet plenty of time to get the hang of it
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