How to Train a Dog to Use a Dog Door

Dog using dog doors

You’ve just recently installed a brand new dog door, yet there’s one thing left to do. Train your dog to use the dog door.


I agree it can be a tough thing to do, and if you aren’t using the right approach – it might even take days.

It’s most likely that the whole situation left you wondering and looking for an answer on how to train a dog to use a dog door.

However, there is a simple solution, and with use of a few tricks – you will be able to help your dog adjust to his new dog door. Hence, it might be even easier than installing the door itself.

After some time, a dog will understand how amazing his new treat is, and your job will be done there. So let’s get to it.

How to Train a Dog to Use a Dog Door

There are two most common ways to train your dog and help him use the new dog door. There are many more, but these two simple ways will do the job well without complicating it any further.

I want you to try to think and come up with two days in your opinion that could help because it’s most likely that you already know them.

The first way would be to use train your dog using a treat and/or verbal encouragement. Another way would be simply pushing your dog through the dog door and teaching him that way.

The second way might sound funny or silly, but it’s proven to work. However, there are things to consider before choosing the right method for your dog.

Dog going through a dog door

Photo by Flickr – Clay Larsen

Train Your Dog Using Treats

Dogs love treats, and they’re widely used for many different training purposes. Therefore, it’s the most suitable way to train your dog to use a dog door.

It’s a proven method that has been used for a long time, and guess what’s the best thing about it. It’s suitable for any dog type or age, and it doesn’t require a lot of time.

The best time to train your dog to use a dog door with treats would be the time when your attention isn’t distracted and the time of a day when your dog is the most active.

The next step would be to get some treats that have a strong scent. If you have already trained your dog before using the treats method, you might even know what type of treats will work the best for your dog, and that’s a good thing.

I would recommend that the treats have a strong scent. It will help a dog to smell it from a distance. But before even going to the next step, you should close the treats in your fist, and let your dog smell your hand and even lick it so he is sure that you have the treats in your hand.

Next thing you should do is decide whether you should stand outside or inside the house. It depends on your dog, and whether he likes to go more out or inside your home. For example, if your dog loves going outside and can’t wait to go out and be active – you should definitely be standing outside for it to work.

Then when you have decided where will you stand and on which side of the door will you leave your dog, do the following. As you’re leaving your dog, stand on the opposite side of the door, just like your dog. It helps when your dog sees you leaving through the same door.

Lifting the flap up will definitely help your dog to see you, and I’d highly recommend you to do it. But make sure that the flap doesn’t hit the dog as he’s leaving. It might leave some traumatic experience and won’t help your training.

Then all you have to do is call your dog with a very happy voice. Make sure to show your dog how happy you are and how much you want him to come outside.

When your dog succeeds, make sure to reward him, and definitely repeat the process a few times – as long as the dog is comfortable.

Train Your Dog By Pushing Them Through the Door

Before using this method, decide whether or not your dog is the fit for this type of training. It can be either his personality or his build that will make this training harder.

When you’re ready to start the training, pick up your dog with both hands, and make sure that you don’t scare him.

Then, place him gently in front of the dog door and slowly push him through the dog door. Doing it slowly and gently is important. You don’t want your dog to become scared by just jamming them through the door.

Once you’ve successfully pushed your dog through the door, make sure to show them how excited you are, praise them, and even treat them as a reward.

In case your dog is showing fear or doesn’t like the flap of the dog door, make sure to stop the training. After some time, feel free to repeat the process.

Never be in a hurry when you’re training your dog, and always make sure to reward him and show him that everything is fine and that he isn’t in any kind of trouble.

As you repeat the process, the dog will become more relaxed every time, until he finally starts going through the dog door himself, without you pushing him.


In case you’re using the first method, a good thing to do is to lower the flap of a dog door every time they successfully use them. That way, dogs will get used to getting touched by the flap.

Lower the flap lower and lower until it’s fully closed.

It’s important to have patience and to give your dog as much time as he needs. Remember, you will have to do this once and never again.

So take your time, enjoy spending some time with your dog, and be nice to him.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know how it goes!


Cover photo by Flickr – paumurp