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My GSD is still quite young (12 weeks). He's now potty trained, crate trained, and can sleep through the night sometimes. (HOORAY!)

I'm thinking about the future and when to get a doggie door. I would like for him to be able to roam outside and stretch his legs as well as be able to enjoy his crate when he's home. What age do you think is appropriate?
 

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My foxy fits through a regular cat door and learned by following the cats example (ie chasing them). I'd start young so that he learns through play and not when he's older and perhaps a bit more wary of new things - unless there's a reason why your pup shouldn't have unlimited access to the backyard.
 

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Mine have a dog door as well, into a secure dog run. Normally it has a clip on the gate, but it's gone missing, however there is a padlock I'm going to put on tomorrow instead anyway. So someone wanting to get at the dogs would have to cut the fence or break the lock, or come into the house.

Kilt started using the dog door right away, and hasn't had an issue with it at all. She likes to be outside.

But, they don't have free access to the whole house AND the dog door to the outside. Because they'd track mud, snow, rain, etc. all over the house and anything not nailed down would be dragged out the dog door and destroyed. In the house they're fine, but if they have the chance, apparently in their minds (well ok it's one dog but still...) it's perfectly 'legal' to carry anything outside and shred it. She can be in the house all day and not touch a thing, then grab it and scoot outside and destroy it. So, they are in the pen and can go in and out, or usually one at a time come hang in the house, do some training or whatever.

The only concern with a dog having free access to the outside is safety, both from animals and people (so no way for dogs etc. to get to him, or people opening a gate), as well as him not being a bother to anyone (you don't want him outside at 2 am barking at the moon and waking up people all the time).
 

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In the house they're fine, but if they have the chance, apparently in their minds (well ok it's one dog but still...) it's perfectly 'legal' to carry anything outside and shred it.
C'mon now, how long did you spend teaching the dog that outside is totally different from inside? ;)
 

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C'mon now, how long did you spend teaching the dog that outside is totally different from inside? ;)
They know, though, don't they?

If I give my boy a bone and say outside, he knows, and he's off so quickly incase I change my mind and want the bone back. Yes, I do find treasure under my pillow (yay) but he knows the difference. Doesn't surprise me in the least that once the goodies are in the dogs domain that a different standard applies.
 

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My GSD is still quite young (12 weeks). He's now potty trained, crate trained, and can sleep through the night sometimes. (HOORAY!)

I'm thinking about the future and when to get a doggie door. I would like for him to be able to roam outside and stretch his legs as well as be able to enjoy his crate when he's home. What age do you think is appropriate?
It depends...
but in my case..the doggie door should only give access to a secured area and not the entire yard.
Free roam of the house and limited access to the backyard in our absence.
 

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Padlock any gates. people will steal dogs, a utility worker can get the wrong address and go in the back, then leave the gate open, kids can go in, etc. Padlock it.
As long as neighbors aren't the type to poison the dog, or feed him stuff he shouldn't have, and you have no poisonous plants, no rocks to eat, no way for him to dig out, then a doggie door can be fine. As he gets older, be aware that GSD's can jump pretty well, so you need a high fence, if he is going to be out when unattended.
 
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