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Pet door

1052 Views 7 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  DaySleepers
My dog 2 1/2 female chihuahua has just leant to walk through a pet door but only when I lift the door open or the door is lifted by the tape. It’s been 3 weeks so I’d like to take a next step and I want her to open the door herself.
She’s not food/toy motivated so I don’t know how to train her from here.

One day, I left home for 3 hours without her. I got home found her outside soaking wet shaking. (It’s winter here and was pouring rain!) I checked a home security camera and saw she ran outside to look for me as soon as I left. Then she didn’t know how to get back in so she was by the pet door looking inside from there for the whole time I was out.
I tried it 2 days later and left her home alone n spied on her through the camera - she got out through her door but just doesn't go back in. She looked she was scared n didn’t know what to do.
So yes she knows how to get outside but doesn’t know how to get back inside.
Now, every time she needs/wants to go outside, I still open her door. (She goes out through her door by herself only when she is alone at home) Leave her outside until she comes back to her door and waits for me to open. So I don’t see the point of the pet door.
How do I train her?
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You say she's not food motivated, but have you tried some really high value goodies? Boiled chicken cut up into tiny (fingernail sized) pieces, for example? Tiny bites of cheese or low-sodium hot dog? Obviously at her size you need to be mindful of calories, but if you can find a treat she's willing to work for, it'll be a lot easier to work through this.

If you find a treat that motivates her, you can try luring her through the door, but I'd also consider target training her to touch your finger or an object with her nose, like shown in this video:

Once she has a nose touch down, you can work on teaching her to touch something like a sticky note that you can transfer onto the dog door, and encourage her to touch it with more and more pressure until she's going through both directions on her own. Definitely lock or block access to the doggy door while you're gone until she can't get trapped outside - I'm super glad nothing really bad happened the last time, but that's scary to think about!
Yes of course I’ve tried many yummy treats just like you mentioned… but if she doesn’t like to try the trick, she won’t do it even if there’s her most fav treat in front of her nose. She simply steps back and walks away.
I have trained her with the clicker like the video you attached. Not the same training but she does know when she hears the clicking noise she gets some yummy treat and praise.
But when she sees the treat through the door, she stares at it for a few seconds. And if she can reach the treats, she will eat it, but if she figures the treat is a little bit far - then she walks away! First two weeks, she could get her treats through her door using the clicker before dinner, everyday for 2 weeks (no door). As if we were playing a game. That’s how we started the training. She can jump in n out now but it’s only when her door is already open. When her door is closed, she stays other side of the door forever! Now I’m stuck.
I don’t want to lock the door as she knows she could actually open the door with her head but if she hits her head n couldn’t open it, the training we have done so far could be ruined. I leave a box or plant in front of her door when I go out for 1-2 hours but I can’t leave her home alone when I go to work. She doesn’t do her business indoor n I don’t want her to hold it all day.
I take her to my work everyday anyway but when it’s too cold and wet, I leave her home and keep an eye on her through the camera.
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