Hi, I'm new to this forum. I have a yellow lab named Brax that is about 4 years old (we got him as a stray from a shelter a couple years ago). We moved to a new house a couple weeks ago, and we just got some dog doors installed. We got one in the door from the kitchen out to the garage, and the second in the door from the garage out to the side yard that we are using as a dog run. That way Brax can go out whenever he needs to go.
After a couple minutes Brax was using the dog doors just fine. He will go out by himself some of the time, or if I tell him to "go potty" he will go right out. And once he's done outside he comes back in through the external door, but he usually doesn't come back in through the door from the garage to the house unless we happen to be out in the garage and we are walking in at the same time. He will finish up and then go and sit in the garage next to the door, and just wait until we notice that he hasn't come back in and we call him and then he'll come in right away. It's like he thinks he's supposed to wait until he has permission to enter the house. (I did wonder if he was staying out in the garage to chew on his tennis balls, because he knows I don't allow the balls inside the house -- but I put the balls away and he still sits and waits just outside the door).
I'd rather he would just come right in when he's done. Any ideas on how to train him to come in on his own without us telling him he can? Any training I can think of involves talking to him, which defeats the purpose.
I suggest that just before meal time that you take Brax outside to "his" side yard by way of "peepy" doors and then perhaps go in the garage and call him to come in from there and then quickly run inside and encourage him to come in through the next one into the kitchen -- rewarding him with a bite of food after he goes through the last door for doing it.
Then repeat again right away -- i.e., both of you go out through the humans' door, you return inside and encourage Brax to return inside by way of his doors. Reward after making a successful return through both one and two. (Going through 2 doors = 1 reward.)
Slightly vary this however Brax needs to get your desired results.
But give training just before his regular meal time (usually supper?) and reward only after he makes it through the second door.
Give about 5-7 repetitions/day for 5 or so days or until you're convinced Brax has learned to go through both okay. Brax can get his regular supper after each training session.
BTW, does Brax have a defined path from outside D-door to kitchen D-door?
In the first home in which I used doggy doors with Bess, I also had a side yard that I fenced in next to the garage. I used one DD from the side yard through the garage wall. Then I "fenced" (with workbench, etc.) an L-shaped path inside the garage which went about 10 ft/3 m. along the exterior wall, then made a right angle turn for 10 ft. along the interior wall shared with the kitchen to the 2nd Doggy Door. Then I "paved" (or "carpeted") this path with a number of empty 100 lb. feed/grain bags so those would mop up any mud on her paws before she came in to the kitchen. Periodically, I'd gather all these bags up, take them to a nearby coin laundromat, and wash and dry them.
Worked very well for us.
Last edited by Bob Pr.; 05-21-2013 at 07:50 PM. Reason: tweak writing to clarify
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
Ok, I'll give it a try. Thanks.
Dog door training is easy. Even better with 2 people. Get one person either side of the door with treats. Poke the treat through the DD until he just about grabs it. Pull back while calling him & repeat until he comes completely through on your side. Give him the treat he's just earned & repeat the exercise with the person on the other side. Don't forget to give him LOTS of praise for his efforts. A squeaky toy will also add to the excitement. You want to make this a game that has rewards at the end of it.
I've had dog doors for roughly 30 years & that method has always worked for me. Some dogs "get it" quicker than others. My record is no training at all for my GSD when I adopted her. She just came into her new home & went straight out it & back in despite coming from a home where she didn't have one. My neighbours Rottie also uses mine when she comes over here. She's never had one either. In your case, it sounds like it will only take about 5-10 minutes to train him completely using the above method.
About your yard - I'm assuming it has secure fencing? By secure, I mean he can't climb or jump over it, dig under it or break through it. More importantly, are the gates padlocked AT ALL TIMES?. The last thing you want is for someone to leave the gate open either accidentally or deliberately. I don't think I need to tell you what could happen.
Thanks, we'll try it with treats. Brax will love that.
And yes, there are 6 foot fences that are locked so we should be fine -- although at our last house we only had 4 foot fences (that Brax could have easily cleared), but he never showed any interest in trying to get out of the yard.
Never say never with a lab. They delight in teaching us valuable lessons! Good luck with your training.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.