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Install a Doggie Door

September 30 2010

Once again, you’ve been held up by work. And your dog hasn’t been outside all day. By the time you get home, you and your dog are anxious, quivering wrecks. Is there a better way?

Yes, you can create a portal in your back door to a small fenced patio or yard, so the dog can let herself out. You’ll be doing your dog and yourself a tremendous favor.

Dogs have many jobs besides “doing their business.” When they can’t go outside, they fret just like you do when you can’t get important tasks completed.

Who else is there to patrol the perimeter? Who else can chase squirrels and cats so well? Dogs have bones to hide, naps to take, butterflies to watch, and mail carriers to annoy.  

Doggie doors are easy to install, and come in the right size for your dog. Choose the size of your doggie door according to largest pet you own.  Generally, small doors will accommodate dogs up to about 10 lbs.  Medium size doors are for dogs up to about 40 lbs.  Large doors meet the needs of dogs up to about 100 lbs.  For the really big dogs, there are extra large doggie doors.

Most doggie doors can be installed in almost any wood door.  When that is not an option, a wall unit can be installed into an exterior wall.  There are also patio door panels with a flexible flap that can installed adjacent to the patio door opening.  You can even purchase a kit that will allow a pet to exit through the bottom of a window.  For upscale designs, you can even get a custom French door where one of the lower panels is a virtually undetectable exit panel.

The doors work by allowing a heavy magnetized flap to swing open as the dog passes under it or through it.  Magnets on the bottom of the flap quietly and safely meet the metal rim of the door.  In some designs, a doorway will part open in two halves. Check that the door is chew proof or that you can purchase replacement parts for damaged doors or trim.

If you are concerned that security might be an issue from unwanted furry visitors like opossums or skunks coming into your home, you can purchase an electronic access door.  An electronic key is attached to your dog’s collar which signals the door to open for your dog only. 

Cats can also be trained to use a doggie door, but it is not recommended for declawed cats to leave the safety of the home unless your property is well protected from predators and traffic.

Your dog will catch on quickly. Just make a game of going in and out of the doggie door. Your dog will prefer to follow you, so you may have to go outside and call your dog. When he pushes the doggie door and comes through it, praise lavishly and tell him to go do his business.

The next time you have to work late, you’ll have some peace of mind, knowing your dog will be just fine.