Four Steps to Train Your Anxious Dog to Use a Magnetic Dog DoorAuthor: Bonnie Weinhold
A dog door can be hinged or spring operated or, more commonly, a "flap" which is installed into a door or wall to allow your dog to come and go at will without needing a person to open the door. Flaps hang from the top of the opening and flap when the dog passes through. Many pet owners find dog doors to be convenient and it reduces unwanted behavior from your dog such as scratching on doors or walls or relieving itself in the house.
Most dogs learn to use the dog door minutes after installing it. Using bits of meat or several toys for bait and the lesson is quick and easy, but some dogs find the whole experience frightening. The issues seem to be that the dog feels "trapped" inside when the flap is on top of him and the popping noise the magnets make when the magnetic dog door snaps closed. Luckily, there are steps you can take to train your dog to overcome these fears and begin to enjoy the freedom of coming and going at will.
Training should be spread out over several days and, if your dog is extremely anxious, a week or more may be needed. Don't expect this to happen overnight. Training will require leaving the dog door open or partially open so it is best to do it during a mild time of year or over several nice days.
° First, completely remove the flap covering from the insert. If the flap cannot be removed, tape the flap up and completely out of the way, using heavy packing or duct tape. Make sure it is 100% open and the dog can see outside. By using treats, or toys, bait your dog through the opening until he passes through it with no problems. If it is still too scary, try sitting on the opposite side of the door from your dog and using a high quality stinky treat like cheese or meat, coax your dog to just put his head through; or set the food inside the door opening and the dog outside and wait for the dog to get the courage to come through. When he does come through, praise him profusely and play with him for 5 to 15 minutes before trying the training step again. If you put the dog back out immediately, he may think coming in was a bad thing.
°With the flap still out of the way and the dog freely coming and going through the unobstructed opening, hang an old hand or dish towel that covers ¼ or ½ of the dog door opening. With the opening now partially obstructed, work with your dog by entering and exiting through it. Gradually move the towel down the opening until it covers more and more of the door. When your dog is successfully passing through the dog door as it is completely covered with the towel you are ready to move on.
°Replace the towel with a covering that is a little firmer and more like the doors actual flap. Ideally, your dog's experience when passing through this door will be identical to the experience of passing through the dog door minus the popping and snapping noises. Whether using plastic or flimsy cardboard, cut it to size so that it can swing back and forth through the door. Attach the covering so that it covers ¼ or ½ of the dog door opening. Once again, gradually lower the covering and when your dog is freely passing through the silent door covering, you are ready for the final step.
°Reattach or untape the dog door flap and coax your dog through. If you still have a problem, tape the bottom half or just a corner of the flap up so it shows daylight. Your dog has used the method successfully so he should readily pass through. After a day or two, your dog should be ready to use the dog door in the normal way so it is safe to untape it.
Dog doors are designed to be safe for all pets with panels that are made of soft vinyl. Some offer a more selective access to dogs using a magnet or triggering device which is mounted on the dog's collar and activates a mechanism that unlatches the door panel when the dog comes within a certain range. A fully automatic dog door is available allowing access for your dog while keeping strays or other unwanted animals out.
Hopefully, these steps will give a sense of security and freedom to your dog and extend a feeling of confidence knowing he will no longer have to fear being left outside or stuck inside.
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Electromagnetic Dog Door Enhances Pet's FreedomAuthor: Wilford Sannhill
The principle of the electromagnetic dog door is that a small transmitter device, which is worn on the pet's collar, unlocks the door to allow passage. Without the transmitter, the door remains unresponsive. This type of door is especially useful for households that have experienced trouble with neighbor's pets or wildlife coming into the house. It can also be used when one pet must remain confined to the house while another is allowed to come and go, or for added security in homes with a small child.
The door is wind-proof, so it won't blow open. It won't allow cold air to leak into the home as conventional flap doors can do. For those concerned that a burglar might try to enter the house through the dog door, an electromagnetic door protects against that risk.
The electromagnetic dog door is more expensive than the conventional manual flap, but it has many benefits. In addition to those already mentioned, this type of door is easier for disabled pets to use. In contrast to an electrically operated automatic pet door, the magnetic type will work even when the power goes out, which may be a consideration for some.
When the pet approaches the door, the magnet on the collar causes a magnet in the door to release the locking mechanism, so the pet can pass through. After a preset amount of time, the locking mechanism falls back into place. There is no unusual sound or movement to disturb pets.
The collar key for most brands of electromagnetic door is a small unit that dangles from the collar like a tag. At least one manufacturer has a key that slides onto the collar to allow for more precise positioning. The keys are sized for cats, small dogs, and large dogs. The door typically comes with two keys, and additional keys can be purchased separately. It is a good idea to keep spare keys on hand in case the pet loses one.
There is a learning curve for the pet who must position himself in the right position for the transmitter to signal the door to unlock. Most customers reported that their dogs figured it out quickly. The positioning of the transmitter on the collar presented a problem for some types of dogs, like dachshunds, for whom the combination of long nose and short legs blocked the magnet from the door.
Many of the doors have a four way lock that can be customized to allow either full in and out freedom, one-way freedom (either in only or out only), or completely locked. The setting can be changed as needed. For example, a dog can be prevented from letting itself out, but allowed to come back in on its own.
An electromagnetic dog door is a good choice for those who desire more security for the home while still allowing a pet to come and go as it pleases. They can accommodate multiple pets. They cost more than conventional flap doors, but it is worth while for homes that need the extra functionality, such as when wildlife or neighboring animals need to be kept out.