Are doggie doors OK?

Fori is not pleasedOctober 12, 2009

Dog newbie here--we're still contemplating getting a dog and trying to work through the issues we're going to run into ahead of time.

We do intend to crate train and I'm reading how people train their dogs to let them know when they need to be let out. Is there any reason to not let a (house and yard trained) dog have dog-door access to a safe, fenced backyard? We are thinking of allowing the dog full backyard access but limiting house access to the rooms we spend a lot of time in (but not kitchen, bedrooms, garage).

We have pretty good weather year round, if that matters.

Y'all have given great advice already and I appreciate your thoughts on doggie doors! Thanks!

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Doggie doors are great! I had one in my old house, and it was nice for all concerned that the dogs could go out whenever they wanted.

The negatives:

1. Depending on the dog, they can drag in mud and other interesting things like dead critters.

2. Other animals can get in your house. I only experienced that one time, and it was another dog, but I've heard of wild critters wondering in.

3. You can open yourself up to intruders. You'd be surprised how small of an opening someone can get through. this is probably rare, but not unheard of.

Overall, the benefits outweigh the negatives to me. The biggest one was dirt/mud, but mine opened up into the vinyl floored kitchen at the time, so cleanup was simple, and I had the kitchen gated so they couldn't get to the rest of the house.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 8:20PM
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Fori is not pleased

Thanks, Weed. We've had cats in the past so we're rather familiar with 1 and 2. (Except the animals in 1 weren't always dead...)

The raccoon was fun though--once we figured out it wasn't the cat making a mess in the kitchen, we started locking it at night which I guess isn't a bad idea. We sure felt stupid that we had to catch the raccoon in the act of trashing the place to realize it wasn't the cat, but in our defense, the cat WAS 25 lbs of malice. (I sure do miss him.)

And number 3, well, I suspect our home isn't too secure anyway and having a dog would probably be more of a deterrent than a doggie door would be an attractant, maybe.

Good points to think about!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 8:33PM
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they're wonderful!!!

just make sure you get the proper size. **sigh**


    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 9:32PM
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I say it would depend on the breed, the dog and where you live. Personally I would not get a doggie door. My dog is an english bulldog and I live in Florida...she also happens to love laying in the sun...not good combinations. I also like to know when and what my dog is doing...this is a health concern and I'm paranoid but sometimes you find out your dog is sick by its bowel movements or lack thereof. She also gets cleaned every time she goes out...she is spoiled and is all over my furniture. Another concern for me is poisonous snakes and toads that we have in Florida. If I don't see what happens immediately my baby could die. In General I don't like the idea of an animal being outside unattended...but I'm a way over protective mommy. Many of my concerns have to do with breed and location as you can see, and they may not apply to you. But it is something to think about. My dog also likes to put things in her mouth, so I like to be there to make sure she learns not to do that.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 12:38AM
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Fori is not pleased

O, Nina, that poor lil dog! =)

And thanks Trini, for that aspect of doggiedoor freedom. We'd have to be sure the yard was safe (it's been mostly kidproofed so we're halfway there) and that the animal was capable of being out without getting into trouble, so it probably wouldn't happen until we'd had the dog for a while and knew its inclinations. Like no unattended outdoor time for nearly bald dogs that like to sunbathe! Our yard isn't big enough that we'd miss a bowel movement. And we don't have any wild creatures of significance here. (We no longer live where we have raccoons, skunks, and groundhogs visiting.)

But I didn't really think of things like sunburns and dirt. Could a dog possibly be dirtier than kids? Yeah, probably. :)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 12:46PM
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One other thing to consider is how the doggy door might affect your neighbors. If your intention is to let the dog run in and out to the backyard with no supervision (while you're not home or similar situations), and the dog is also the type to sit out there and bark his head off at falling leaves/cats running by/squirrels...well, that's not very fun for the neighbors.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 1:00PM
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trinigemini dog does not get dirty from being outside :-) I clean her after she pees and poops. because she is a bulldog she has to stoop low to pee and sometimes a little pee gets on her privates :-)I prefer to clean her so the pee smell does not enter my house or stay on my dog. I also clean her after she poops. Sometimes....not very often, but sometimes when she poops her behind gets a little dirty, so we again clean her every time to avoid poop in the house. This makes for a much less smelly dog and house.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 1:10PM
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Fori is not pleased

No, no barking nonstop. We won't let a barker go out when nobody is home (but there usually is someone home). Kinda hoping we don't end up with a barker, but if we do, we will deal with it in a way that doesn't annoy our (good) neighbors. (I don't suppose you can teach a dog to bark just one one end of the yard can you? Just kidding....)

Ah I see, Trini. Just like a little kid!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 1:16PM
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Fori just like a kid :-) I keep babywipes by the doors and she knows that before she goes inside she has to be cleaned :-) It makes a huge difference in my opinion as my carpets and furniture do not smell of pee and poop. Not sure if other breeds have the same problem...but I would imagine that pee would stick to fur on any dog not to mention poop.

As for the barking....I have trained my dog not to bark...all the dogs in the neighborhood can be barking like crazy and my dog knows its not allowed. She is allowed to bark when she needs to go out...but there is no general barking allowed in my house :-) A simple No when she started barking at inappropriate times and she has learned. Which is a good thing because my neighbor has four dogs next door who are always making noise....I would hate having to put up with it from my dog too.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 1:24PM
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They don't have to hold it or have accidents while I'm gone. It's given me freedom. I lock it at night or they would run in and out all night playing. Or something else could walk in (opposum).

I've learned to keep the kitchen counter and sink clear at all times so items (coffee pot) do not go outside. I've learned to keep the bathroom door closed when I'm gone (9 rolls of TP).

In Oklahoma the north wind is wicked in the winter, blows the door open but there was no other place to put the dog door.

The pros outweigh the cons.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 3:57PM
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Fori is not pleased

Your dog took the coffee pot outside?

Teehee. Sorry!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 6:53PM
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I love the doggie door. I've lived in four different houses with doggie doors with five different dogs and I will always have a doggie door. But that's part of our life style (with a friendly nod to trini who has a different life style than mine).

The pros and cons mentioned above are all the same. But here are a couple of particular examples (both pro and con) to give you something to think about.

- the neighbors had a dog that was not fenced (we live in the country). He decided our home was a much better place to be than his. Didn't take him long to figure out the doggie door. Several torn up shoes, destroyed packages, stolen turkeys (actually not our turkey but a neighbor's) later, he became our dog.

- we taught one of our dogs to get our slippers. cute trick. And after she brought one, we'd send her back for the other. In that home, the doggie door came into the laundry room and we closed the door from the laundry room to the rest of the house. One day I forgot to close that door. I came home and EVERY shoe I owned was in the back yard (obviously I also forgot to close my closet door). And it had rained.

- That same neighbor dog (that later became our dog) brought a deer leg into the garage.

- I have a huge garden and when I harvest, I often put veggies on the counter in the garage. One of our pups considers the garage counters fair game even though she won't touch anything on a kitchen counter. I've lost numerous tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, and mostly apples to this dog.

- I feel our dogs have more freedom with a doggie door. They can ask to go out at any time (although we do teach them that night is for sleep) and they can putter around and do whatever they want (and yes, I know, some people will object to that "whatever") even if it is not a convenient time for us to either take them for a walk or go outside with them.

- I live in a VERY cold climate (North Dakota). When one of my dogs needs out in the middle of the night in winter, I am very happy that I can take them into the garage and open the doggie door rather than going outside with them. Forty below zero makes a doggie door believer.

It's really all about convenience versus comfort with not knowing exactly what your dogs are doing. Our dogs stay outside in a fenced yard during the day so letting them out with a doggie door is really no different. On the other hand, if you do want to know what your dog is doing at all times, maybe it isn't for you.

And for what it's worth, our dogs took the cappacinno maker off the counter (it broke).

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 8:27PM
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My first dog took a rack of cooked barbecue ribs out through her doggie door. We had left them on the counter in case any of the guys in the band practicing in the garage wanted them. When I went to put them away, I assumed they had been eaten, but after practice, DH told me no one had come into the house, nor had they eaten the ribs. That's when we noticed the grease smear on the floor. It led to the doggie door. Doggie herself was the size of a pumpkin. None of the bones were ever found, so we figured she ate them, bones and all. I would have bet she was nowhere tall enough to take anything off the counter.

There are times when I don't want the dogs to be able to run in and out: When they are muddy, when they are wet, when they have stolen something like a box of kleenex, when it is skunk season, when the neighbor's tree is dropping apples in my backyard, when they have caught a 'possum and have it in their mouths, when neighbors are outside and the dogs want to participate by adding their voices...

I had the medium sized doggie door, and the neighbor kid could get inside through it. He was eleven.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 12:45AM
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I've hear of these, don't have one. They only let in a pet that has a special chip/device on its collar. Keeps unwanted animals out, and thief's from coming in through it because it's locked.

Here is a link that might be useful: electronic doggie door

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 11:19AM
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My first dog door was the electronic sensor. My old dog was afraid of the "click" and would never use it. A couple of hundred dollars and these new dogs tore it up. Roxy chewed Bo's sensor on his collar. Bo would charge in and knock the frame off sending batteries flying. Maybe when these dogs settle down a bit and get older I would try it again. It would be worth it keeping the north wind out.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2009 at 11:59AM
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Fori is not pleased

Thanks all. I think I'll plan on one but not go through with it until the dog seems ready, and if he's never ready, so be it.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 7:19PM
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Fori I think that's a good attitude to have...dogs have such different personalities. My old girl would have been fine with a dog door in the winter (I live in Florida) but in the summer it would have had to have been locked....she was a major sun baby too.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 8:38PM
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I literally have tears coming from my eyes laughing at your pumpkin dog description! And the reasons why you don't want your dog running in and out! Hysterical! When I see my little Bella running toward the dog door and hear that plupppplupp of the door, I know she's stolen something. Today, I added a large tablecloth to her kennel, thinking she would like a little extra padding underneath her other blankets. She never goes into her kennel during the day, but an hour later, I looked and the tablecloth was gone! She evidently thought to herself, "What in the world is this and why is it in MY space?" She had dragged it out the dog door, into the yard. And she and my other Aussie also like adding their voices to the neighbors' voices. :)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2009 at 11:35PM
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I couldnt survive without a doggie door and I'd be constantly letting the dogs and cat in and out which is what I was doing before we installed it. my pets are housetrained and they know where the door is and go outside when they need to go to the toilet but my yard is completely fenced so they cant get out and roam. At night our cat stays indoors so the dogs will head out towards the back door and wait for me to let them out at night.

I live in a very hot climate so having the doggy door also means I can keep all the doors shut when the air conditioner is on and not let the cool air out and the dogs can still come and go on their own. Basically it's just a huge convenience for me because my dogs spend a lot of time indoors and sometimes they just want to go out and look around too but I dont feel like Im a porter at a hotel all day long anymore. :)

    Bookmark   October 16, 2009 at 2:39PM
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The doggy door is absolutely the best home improvement we ever made. I have 3 large dogs, and they are constantly in and out -- and I don't have to get up to let them in and out.

Here's a tip: Since mine is very near a wall, and the floor is tiled, we chose to go up the walls 2 tiles high (24") just in that small area right by the doggydoor. It is easy to windex off if a muddy dog happens to slide against the wall (its been raining for 3 weeks here).

    Bookmark   October 17, 2009 at 2:30PM
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We did use this (see below) one summer. Whenever we were home and the weather was nice and the dogs wanted in and out, we propped open the screen door and put his screen up. It worked almost as described, the magnets were not heavy enough and the panels sometimes did not fall closed precisely.

It was a nice compromise. We did not have a hole in our house or door, no access point for "the artful dodger", did not gave to get up and down a dozen times on a nice afternoon, and the dogs enjoyed running in and out on those days. Back then, my work hours were afternoons and evenings, so the dogs were not really alone long enough to need a doggy door. Now, there is always a caregiver of some kind here for my DF-in-Law, so they get out several times a day. Once he passes, then we will have to figure something out.

Here is a link that might be useful: walk-through screen flaps

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 8:58PM
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nancy, i just recently got one of the walk-through screen doors. my house is a mobile home with odd-size doors so i had to do some modifying of the screen but i do like it. only problem i'm having is trying to teach the great danes that they don't have to wait for ME to get up and open it for them. my corgi has it down to a science but the big dogs just look at me with that "duh!" look. LOL

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 9:46PM
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Fori is not pleased

Thanks everyone. Great ideas here! I still have a sliding glass door (known in some parts as a "door wall") doggie door insert for my late cat that's about the size of the one tormenting Nina's poor little guy (he didn't fit through kitty doors).

Weather isn't much of an issue here but when we lived in Michigan we braved the poorly insulated cat flap (OK, small dog door). When you're trying to get a southern-bred cat to decide if he wants to go out in the snow, you realize what "pussyfooting around" really means. A little draft sure beats holding the door open for an undecided cat.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 9:54PM
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I LOVE my doggie dog. I've had it for 14 years and it enables me to venture to the "big city" for the day without having to worry about my dog being shut in the house for so long. It is installed in the bottom of a low window and opens onto a covered patio.

My dog door story: So many coincidences in this, but it's all true. My son, who lives out of town, came to visit and was out late visiting a friend. First, he had forgotten his key. Second, unknown to me, the phone was out of order as was the doorbell, which I did know about. Third, I had gone to bed and taken a sleeping pill. Since I was in that first deep sleep I did not hear him pounding on the front door or even my bedroom door which opens to the backyard. Nor did my no-so-vigilant Polish Lowland Sheepdog, who sleeps in his crate in my bedroom. Of course my son was quite alarmed when he could not raise me, so my 6' 4" 210 pound son crawled in the dog door anxious to see if I were dead or alive. Probably saved an emergency visit by the police or fire department. Other than my son, I've never had anything else enter via the dog door, except the dog.

For those who may be familiar with the PONs, they are known for stealing things, so he has taken various interesting things out and hidden them in the flower beds, like my son's jockey shorts and a 10 pound barbell. (Had to keep the barbell set in the bathtub so he couldn't get to them.)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 9:53PM
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Fori is not pleased

So I can get rid of the hidden key if I get a doggie door! Good to know! :)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 8:16PM
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Your PON must have thought, "Well, it is shaped like a doggie bone. There must be a LOT of good stuff packed in there for it to be so heavy, it is MINE!"

    Bookmark   October 20, 2009 at 10:38PM
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fori: Yeah, why bother with those hidden keys. Although if I misplace mine, I sure wouldn't want any of the neighbors watching ME try to crawl through my door dog! I'd want to be sure to have to have my cell phone with me in case I got stuck.

nancy: Hadn't thought of that, but it does look similar to a dog bone. Now explain the jockey shorts.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2009 at 9:46AM
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I have had dog doors in every home I have owned since 1982.
Even when I lived in the country, I never had a critter come in. But my yards have all been fenced.
Over the years I have had 3 back surgeries and that dog door has been such a blessing.
I once had the cat bring in a dead rat.

One of the dogs is a toy poodle. He will sit in the dog door to look out. Like he is checking the weather or something.
I have a toy fox terrier that will be 4 months on 3/11. She kept watching the other dogs going out. Two weeks ago she learned to go out and in.

When asked about someone getting in the dog door, I always tell people, if you saw a door that large and NO dog in the back yard, would you crawl through it?
One home had a medium size door. We rescued a doberman puppy. As she grew the door got bent out of shape and we had to install a larger size.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 11:29AM
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My thoughts are that most fenced yards are not escape proof. I am never 100% confident that a dog will not dig under, climb over, chew through or get into something dangerous while outdoors unsupervised.
I would say it depends upon the dog and the fence....

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 12:14PM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

I had no idea what I was missing.........nor how entertaining a doggie door could be. Thanks for all the laughs tonight!!!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 7:26PM
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I'm a bit late about those jockey shorts... How about the dog thought they were a neat hat with holes for his ears to stick through? It keeps his hair out of his eyes and makes sure his "do" does not get blown into a frizz by the wind?

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 1:21AM
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I'm a huge fan of doggie doors. We have three dogs and we'd be letting them in and out all the time. The only downside is that one of our terriers, like other dogs mentioned here, does take things outside. He used to bury things only in our granddaughter's sandbox, but now it could be anywhere in our large back yard. We've watched him when he didn't know we were looking, and he even pushes leaves over the burial site with his paw and nose so no one can tell where he's buried things.

During a routine excavation of the sandbox recently, I found several of our granddaughter's stuffed animals, my husband's mouthguard, two plastic cups, an unopened package of crackers, and an unopened container of yogurt. We still haven't found a "lost" beanie baby and a cup.

He once dragged my purse through his door when I was upstairs, and it took me hours to find everything...lipstick, car keys, phone, etc. He's a mess, but we adore him.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 10:21PM
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