A large portion of the last several days has been spent around the new doggy door. With an Arctic front coming in, we finally got the door purchased and installed. It seemed like a better idea than leaving the back door open all the time for the dogs’ convenience.
I had serious doubts that the dogs would ever figure it out…at least not before the raccoons and possums did.
I’m still not sure.
First, we made youngest daughter go back and forth through the doggy door as the dogs watched. Barret the dog and Matilda appeared to find this slightly entertaining, but unaware of what it could possibly have to do with them. Abbey and Speedy just wandered off. We discontinued that effort once we concluded that youngest daughter had mastered the usage of the doggy door and the dogs had made no progress. Not helpful.
Next, we tried the hot dog method of dog training. One of us was outside with the hot dogs. One of us was inside with more hot dogs. We kept shoving the dogs through the door and rewarding them when they made it through. That pretty much ended up in a big fight when two dogs figured out there was a hot dog on the other side of the door and tried to both go through at once. This would be Barret and Matilda. Abbey and Speedy had once again wandered off. Not helpful.
Next we decided to just focus on getting Barret to go through the door. He is the Alpha dog in the pack and we thought that if he figured it out, the rest of the pack would follow. While we were distracted with working with Barret, Matilda stole the rest of the hot dogs. Really not helpful. Without hot dogs, all of the dogs lost interest in the experience and wandered off.
It might bear mentioning that the dogs have historically gone in and out through the sliding glass door in the dining room. The new doggy door is down the hall in the laundry room. This is not optimal, but was the cheapest option.
It is now Sunday. At this point, the dogs will go to the closed sliding glass door and wait to be let out. If you happen to see them, you can go into the laundry room and call them. If they decide to come, you can push open the flap of the doggy door and they will go out. This is only slightly helpful.
When they are ready to come in, they go to the sliding glass door and bark. You then have to go to the laundry room and open the door and call them. You have to close the door really quickly and bend down and push open the flap so they can come in. This is just plain annoying.
Speedy will only go out if all of the dogs go with him. He’s really excited about being part of the family. Since he is old, however, sometimes he forgets that he was gathering up all of the dogs with the intent of going outside. This results in a lot of non-housebroken behavior. Once again, not helpful.
I’m a bit discouraged about our progress so far, but am attempting to remain optimistic.
Optimism is helpful.