Pls Educate Me on Doggie Doors

juliet3May 5, 2011

We have the "invisible fence" around our property so our dog cannot wander. It would be great if he could also come and go out of our backdoor without having to bark to get us to open the door. I looked at some dog doors online. I saw some that were $350+ not including installation. That is too expensive. However, I want to buy a dog door that will be safe, and not let in critters. We also want to be able to lock it for the times we aren't home and don't want our dog to go outside. Our dog weighs about 45 lbs. Can anyone let me know good brands, or what to look out for, or what not to get? TIA.

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Doggie doors vary greatly depending on what you buy. You can get a do it yourself kit, just go out, get the kit, cut the door yourself install the doggie door frame and use a piece of plywood to block the door when you want to restrict access....obviously this is the handymans paradise cheap but my friends used it they had three dogs who roamed the decks around my friends house, due to the black bear population the dogs were not allowed off the deck so this worked great - it took an afternoon to install. ...If you think about the initial outcost for the doggie door vs how much energy it will save you, $350 is a great deal. The best doggie door to get is one with the remote on the dogs collar, so it will open when he shows up and self lock when he is not near the door, keeping raccoons and other critters out. Ultimately it is up to you.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 10:25PM
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I have experience with two types of doors. One is a Hale door and the other was purchased at a pet store. Sorry can't remember the name of the pet store brand.

The Hale door is not cheap but it has to be one of the best brands out there. We did our own installation and except for cutting the hole in the wall the doors were very easy to install. Plus, the customer service is excellent!
For our install we went thru the wall and our dog door had two flexible flaps that sealed well against the worst weather. The flaps closed tightly due to the design using magnets and brush-type weather strips.

The other brand we tried had a solid plastic door and I found it noisy and dangerous. Dangerous because one day my dog decided to back up when she was half way out the door and her panic state led to a crumpled frame and one scared dog.
Last year I helped DS install a similar style for his dogs and found it to be one of the most difficult to install. I think we spent 40 minutes just trying to get one bolt from the interior frame to connect to the exterior. There was nothing to guide the bolt so there was a lot of time spent on trial and error!

You may want to check out some of the brands that have electronic locking doors if you're worried about unwanted animals entering. The dog will have to wear a collar with a device on it that unlocks the dog door.
I think you will be limited to using a solid type door if you want it to lock so you should go to some pet stores and see if they have any samples on display so you can check how well they seal and how noisy they are each time the dog goes in and out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hale

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 10:58PM
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I'm not a huge fan of doggie doors and am even less enamoured of invisible fencing. I really wouldn't recommend a doggie door combined with invisible fencing.

Dogs should be supervised outdoors when they are contained with an invisible fence. If the dog is letting itself out, you have no way to supervise. What happens if one of those critters you don't want in the house is in the yard? What if it's not a squirrel or raccoon, but a bigger critter intent on harming your 45 lb dog? Or the dog surprises the mailman, delivery person or meter reader?

I always suggest a real, physical fence (invisible fence is an excellent back=up fence for jumpers and diggers) and a door that is open and shut by the owner. YMMV

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 11:30PM
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Even though I agree with forthedogs - so much can be avoided if dogs were supervised every time they went out, but I also recognized not everyone can have the same relationship with their dog. At least this dog owner is letting the dog inside which is why I did not mention my feelings or beliefs regarding the invisible fencing - which is a huge pet peeve for me but sometimes it is better to provide information than to lecture.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 2:12AM
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i've said it many times and i'll say it again...invisible fencing is wonderful but DOGS MUST BE TRAINED TO IT! a dog that is properly TRAINED with invisible fence is the key.

now, about doggy doors...i had one for my corgis and i loved it! however, i now have 3 great danes. i have not yet invested in a doggy door big enough for them but that is in my plans some day.

i think the most important thing is to get one that is the proper size. obviously, my corgi door isn't gonna work for the big dogs! LOL

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 7:17AM
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HHHHHHHAAAAAHAHAHAHAH great biggest beef with invisible fencing is that other dogs can get in and attack your dog. I know a couple of you know this story but it had such an impact on the dog and it family that I want to let people know what can happen.
Our neighbors dog was an Aussie, highly trained to the invisible fencing, it worked like a charm. One day the dog was hanging out in the back yard minding its own business when a pack of dogs came into the yard. The dogs were chased off by the Aussie who ended up running through the invisble fence mark while in pursuit, finally having run off the other dogs the Aussie was going back home - now without a focus of chasing intruders the dog felt the invisible fencing zap more and could not get back home apparently it tried for hours.
6pm comes by and the owners return from a day at work only to find their dog quivering and dehydrated on the outside of the fence. They took it to the vet, hydrated it and brought it home.
Next day, routine as usual only the Aussie refused to go outside at all. He had been so traumatized by not being able to get back home having been zapped in his quest to get home who knows how many times. That Aussie, a once vibrant and healthy dog has continued to refuse to go outside on his own, his owners are also traumatized. Point being, invisible fencing does not protect your animal fomr other animals, raccooons, skunks, other dogs, people all have access to your property and your outdoor dog who has little recourse but to interact with these intruders. As far as doggie doors go, here in our community we have had all sorts of critters use them, raccoons, possoms, skunks, cats, other dogs, one house even had a bobcat in it!!
Not good for anyone. Im a hands on person and believe the positive behavioral training gotten by proper daily leash walks is invaluable. But like I wrote before not everyone has the type of property or neighborhood for leash walking. It boils down to different strokes for different folks for wahtever reason.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 12:49PM
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mazer, i totally agree with you. only one time has any of my 3 danes blew through the fence and it was bentley in hot pursuit of a deer. i am always either outside with them or watching them out the window. i saw him do it. as soon as he realized what had happened, he sat down and waited for me. i went out, took the collar off of him, walked him across the boundary, put the collar back on and called it swell. that is the only time it's ever happened, it was months ago. my situation is a little unique in that i live at the "far end" of the farm and the lane dead ends at my house. it's 1/4 mile to get to the road and another mile to get to the highway. my dogs have 7 acres to romp on so they have plenty of room for zoomies. my brother-in-law has 2 aussies that never come up here. we are so isolated that stray dogs are not a problem.

in all the years of using the doggy door for the corgis, not one time did we have an intruder come in, thankfully! i can't imagine a **gasp** skunk getting IN the house! eww!!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 1:16PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I had a doggie door at my previous house which worked like a charm. However my yard was fenced with 6 ft chain link. No strange dogs could enter and my collie and sheltie could not escape. My cats however could fit through the gate posts and wander as they pleased.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 3:28PM
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When you're shopping for doggie doors, be sure to consider the energy costs of cheap dog doors. Because you don't want to waste your expensive heat and cooling, you'll want to get a double flap pet door like the one mentioned by annz above.

The safety factor with flexible vinyl as shown in the photo by ninapearl is also important. The pet door must be 'user friendly' so your dog is comfortable going out and coming back in.

A high quality dog door will also seal securely to keep wind, dust and insects out of your home.

Also check out the warranty of the dog door, there's only one that offers a five year warranty that includes the flaps.

You definitely want a pet door with a strong security cover and positive pin lock on the frame. I had one with a spring lock on the cover that would scratch my wall if I let go of the lock when I slid the cover to open or close it.

Cost is certainly a consideration in all the things we buy, but remember that you're putting a hole in your wall or door, so get a dog door with the same insulation value as your windows.

We've had some of the electronic doors open when the dog lies in the vicinity of the door--even if he didn't want to go out--leaving the pet door open to the elements and insects.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 2:41PM
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I'd never use a dog door with an invisable fence, it's an accident waiting to happen.
An alternative would be to install dog doors that go directly to a kennel area, so when you're not there they can still be safe, and the kennel area will also help keep out other critters.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 10:09PM
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We love our dog door. It's a lifesaver here.

I have 3 large dogs who are in and out allllll day long. Our back yard is privacy fenced however. I've never had another critter come in, and we do have rabbits and the occasional opossum.

At first we had sliding doors and had one of those panel units that fits into a slider. It worked great! When we remodeled the den, we installed french doors. That meant we had to go in-wall. I love the Hale pet doors, but for the "in-wall" (we have brick exterior), its very expensive.

As an alternative, we framed in the opening, and then used 2 Petsafe brand single doors - 1 on the interior, and 1 on the exterior.

The single door has a vinyl door with magnets at the bottom. Either can be closed off with it's included metal cover that can just slide into place.

This way, we still have a double-flap system for insulation, but much less cost. I can't tell you how much those dogs are in and out those doors every day. In fact, just this year, I bought a replacement flap for one that was giving in to overuse. It had lasted about 5 years and the replacement was cheap enough on

Here's a pic.. notice since it is near a wall that has suede paint (harder to clean than usual), I tiled part way up the wall with the same floor tile -- I can just windex that off. Ignore the cloud of dirt on the flap, that can be windexed off too. haha

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 5:24AM
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