Recently we have purchased a dog door to allow our dog to go in and out of his own accord - however, although he will go out of the door to investigate noises he will not come back inside until someone comes out and “allows” him in; I’m not sure how to train him to know that going in and out of the door on his own is okay.

He can use the doggy door no problem, the issue is he will sit outside and wait for permission to go back in. We have only had this door for a few days - I have shown him how to use the door and rewarded him for coming through both ways, however when I put his bowl with food inside (after showing him I was doing so) then walked away whilst he was outside, he showed interest of coming in but seemed afraid to do so without getting permission.

Any advice would be appreciated, I am afraid that he will go outside on a cold night while we are asleep and think he is stuck outside (cannot lock this doggy door due to shape of door).

2 Answers 2


Your concernes about the cold nights are understandable. Maybe you could use other things for blocking the door. E.g. a box.

Make a game out of this doggy door. Throw a ball outside and your dog has to bring it back. Always reward him when coming in. Try to throw the ball as soon as possible again, so that there is some speed in this game and your dog can be so into it that he forgets the door.

Even if you think that he is asking for permission, it could also be that he knows how to come in but is a little bit afraid of using the door. When he goes out, outside it is bright and he can see if there is something behind the door. When he comes in, it is darker, he sees not so well first and there is less space.

Always be calm, friendly and rewarding. Have patience. He will learn it.

  • 1
    +1 for making it a game. You might also secure the door open for the first few times throwing the ball to make it easier.
    – Jeff
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 14:34

I would suggest poking your head through the door with a treat and calling him to come in. Them move back away from the door but keep calling him/her to come in for the treat.... Of course once in, give the dog the treat and praise him. Do this a couple times in a row for him/her to get use to it...

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