Pet door training guide

Buying a pet door allows your cat or dog freedom in and out of the house! Now you just have to train your pet.

Consistency and patience is key when training your dog or cat to use a pet door. Even old dogs can be taught new tricks! Here are some tips we recommend to make training as easy as possible. 

1. Keep it consistent

Whatever you end up doing to train your dog or cat to use a pet door, one thing you must have is consistency. Being consistent will help your pet learn as fast as possible. Use the same method every time to not confuse your pet.

2. Keep each session a set amount of time

We recommend that you keep each training session to 10 minutes at a time. You don't want to overwhelm your pets when training. 

3. Stay patient and calm when training

Different pets may need different amounts of time to learn how to use the pet door. Staying patient and calm while not rushing the process will greatly help your pet learn. Rushing your pet or putting it through stress during the training process may confuse your pet and prolong the process. We don't recommend that you push your pet through the pet door. It is best to first introduce them to the flap and how it works by opening and closing it. Keep the flap open and encourage them to stick their head through the flap, showing that it is safe to use. If they are having trouble with this, try standing on the outside of the pet door while the pet is inside and have them come out. Having a treat or two also helps!

4. Adapting to different flaps

With the different types of pet doors on the market, there comes different types of flaps.

  • Clear Flaps - For clear flap pet doors, your pet could possibly confuse this for a window. You can distinguish the pet door differently for your pet by showing that the flap opens, or by even putting some sort of marker like a piece of tape on the flap to help them differentiate it from a window.

  • Electronic Flaps - Electronic flaps tend to be rigid and activate via a microchip or a collar key. Some of these doors make noises too which can frighten your pet initially. Positively reinforcing this noise that the door makes can help train your pet. If this fails, you can temporarily disable the electronic component of the door to let them use it normally until they are ready.

  • Magnetized Flaps - Most pet doors that are not electronic use magnets to seal the door for energy efficiency. Sometimes these magnets make the flap harder to push open, and for training purposes we recommend you remove these magnets (if they are removable, that is dependent on the model you buy). By removing the magnets, it will give your pet an easier time when training.

Things to avoid when training

1. Knowing when to stop

Training your pet requires a right balance of time training and keeping the sessions short so you and your pet don't end up frustrated. We recommend that you approach these training sessions until you find success, give your pet some sort of reward, and then stop. Then repeat the training session at a later time until you find success and then stop again. By keeping it short and ending on a positive note (finding success), it will keep frustration and confusion low for you and your pet. 

2. Refrain from giving too many treats

Giving treats in limited fashion to encourage your pet to use the new pet door is a great way to train your pet, but by giving too many treats, your pet could lose focus and sight of what the actual task at hand is. Switch it up with positive praise or even a toy!

3. Too much emotion

Refrain from too much positive or negative emotion while training your pet. Negative feedback especially is not conducive to your pet's success in using its new pet door. By using over the top positive reinforcement, pets, especially dogs can become distracted and not focus on the training itself. 

4. Being inconsistent

Being inconsistent in training practices will confuse and frustrate your pet. Map out a plan of how you want to approach your training process, and stick to it. 

Got any questions on training? We're here to help. Call us at (888) 557-PETS or send us an email at 


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