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Thread: Won't use dog door at home. But will use it at other peoples places.

  1. #1

    Default Won't use dog door at home. But will use it at other peoples places.

    Hi everyone,

    I recently adopted a 4 year old long haired chiuahua.

    Bob is a lovely, quite little boy who was previously owned by an elderly couple, until rwcently the furdad has taken ill and been placed in geriateic care. At which point he asked his step daughter to give Bob the green dream. Fortunately for Bob the daughter is our land lady and we were asked if we would like him.

    Adopting a dog brings with it many challenges as I was aware of to begin with.
    He has been trained moderately to sit, come, lie down, go wee we and use a dog door.The last of which has brought me undone in the last week.

    We have only had Bob a week so I wonder if I am expecting too much of the little guy. We have been taking him everywhere we can when we're no working and walking him if not once but twice a day. He hasn't been socialized with many dogs and as such, exhibts your typical old person dog behaviours when it comes to meeting other dogs. He snaps and snarls at larger dogs (short man syndrome) and merely tolerates dogs of his own size.
    He exhibits a fair amount of fear when we allow our ferrets out to play without sending him downstairs. I would too. They are the Emperor and Empress of tje house.
    When we walk him he constantly looks over his shoulder.
    I really think that these behaviors are something that's happening because he has had a lot going on over the last 3 weeks. He was left in the elderly couples apartment for 4 days. People fed him but he was mostly on his own. He then was sick with diarhea and stopped eating which he was taken to the vet for and given antibiotics. Which he has 2 days left of. He is doing well in all respects as he didn't eat much over the first couple of days and when he did he wouldn't eat out of a bowl. He is now eating and drinking and eating out of his bowl.
    Now he had a dog door at his old home. Which he used. We have also taken him to a family members place who have 4 dogs and he used a dog door there. He used the dog door at the daughters house. But 2 days ago I put a dog door in and he refuses to use it, even when shown treats and called encouragingly he exhibits fear and apprehension about going through it. I have only managed to get him to come in once through it and he flatly refuses to go out of it without being basically forces through it. What gets me is that this is a dog who has frequently used a dog door throughout his life, who doesnt show any fear of going in or out of of one when he is at other peoples places yet he will not use this one.

    If anyone has any suggestions I would be very grateful for any advice as I have tried all the positive reinforcement I can think of and he is still not reaponding.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Welcome AdHe

    Yes, your new dog is still adapting to life with you. I'd give him a couple of months, given he's a bit older. Some dogs adapt faster than others but older little dogs tend to be slower learners than younger farm dogs...

    I think you might be doing something known as "lumping" with the dog door which is - yes asking too much too fast.

    With the other dog doors - did he see another dog using the dog door? Because that usually helps.

    Otherwise all you can do is work with patience and reward him for checking out the dog door. Also be careful it hasn't bitten his tail or caught his fur - some of the newer dog doors will do this. Maybe pegging it open or leaving the door off for a bit while you're home would help?

    I wouldn't force him through it or try to force him to do anything else that freaks him out. When a dog is completely freaked out or super excited - they're not able to learn anything. So if you want to him to learn to be better behaved around other dogs - you need to work on the edge of where he can still pay attention to you and reward his attention with praise and pats. (I tried using treats for rewarding attention on me, but my dog worked out if she was rude to other dogs and then paid attention to me - she could get treats - this is called "back chaining" - some dogs are better at this than others).

    Do keep us updated on his progress.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    I believe this is all a little too much for your fella.
    Any chance you can borrow those dog door savvy fur friends, to come around to your place, and demo for your dog, that your dog door is safe too! Other than that, wait a while. Take the flap off temporarily if you can? for one of our pups, its was the flappy bit smacking her butt that put her off.

    Ive taken on other people's dogs. And it really take a 3-6 months for the dogs to settle and show you their true personality. Everything is scary right now, so fear aggression going on perhaps?
    Either way, stop it, redirect the dogs onto something else and praise for being redirected.
    thankyou for giving him a nice soft place to land.

  4. #4


    Thanks Hyacinth and bernie!

    We had a feeling it might be all too much at the moment. We have a large house and he has moved from an one bedroom apartment. We have tied the flap up so as to eliminate that fear. We also had a bit of a doggie date at our place with some friends dogs this weekend just gone. We showed them the door and all 3 of them went in and out of it. Yay!

    So we are still taking it slow with the door. Though now he is starting to defacate around the house as he doesn't yet know how to tell us that he wanta to go out and he isn't using the door very consistently. I got up this morning and he got up with me. I took 5 minutes to brush my teeth before I let him out to go toilet. But he'd already urinated on the frame. My partner got up this morning after I'd left for work and it looks like he left a dog parcel in the kitchen between when I left and when she got up. But there is the possibility that it could have been ferret poo. I now know that I have to let him out first thing when I get up otherwise he will go inside. I haven't been able to tell him no because I didn't catch him in the act.

    What strategies wiuld you suggest for me in the this situation?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Ooh you definitely need one of those big red signs on your bathroom door that says
    "bang head here"

    also known as handler (owner) error.

    Definitey not the dog's fault. For the first month at least - you have to be supervigilant about toilet training even if he was toilet trained where he lived before.

    You can train a dog to ring a bell at the door. I couldn't be stuffed doing that so I've trained mine to sit at the door if she wants to go out, by training her to sit at the door before we go out (I still send her out first so she can't trip me up blasting past - but she's bigger than your dog).

    So if I see her go sit at the back door - I open it for her. I've also trained her to bark at the back door if I'm not paying attention. Ie I train her to bark on cue (all it took was dinner really - she barks a lot when there's food around - easy thing to "capture"). so we get to the back door and she has to sit, and sometimes bark and then I let her out...

    But meanwhile - you need to treat your new family member like a puppy... take him out as soon as he wakes up, and after play and after eating, and when you get home (mine gets no greeting from me until we've been out the back and she's pottied - so that's quite a routine now). I don't have a dog door (can you tell).

    And you're right - you can't really tell a dog off unless he's in the middle of doing what you don't want. And then scooping him up mid act in a towel to reduce mess and carrying him outside as fast as you can - is better than yelling at him or telling him a "firm no" (my dog has no idea what that means which does upset my brother and my mum). She knows a few other "you're not going to get a treat for that" phrases tho. Like "What?" and "oops" and "What do you think you're doing?" and erm "OI!" which is more of an interrupter than a signal of impending punishment. Tho it can end up with her being put on lead.

    So google all the stuff for house training puppies and do the same - the more consistent you can be about getting him outside and praising him when he goes where you want, and even treating that, and also using a word for "go potty" or "mr rabbit" or "shitnapiss" etc. And then "Good Dog" when he goes where you want. If you accidentally use that phrase with a human when they do what you want - you said "good job"... right?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Western Sydney


    You can't expect too much just yet...rescues or new dogs take up to 6 mths or more to bond and settle in and you need the patience of a saint for some dogs but it all works out in the end.

    As for the dog door...I can't help you as I've never had one (don't think they make them for large dogs )...I'm the doorman at our place...mine are in and out all day.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

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