A.J. Gets a Dog Door

July 8, 2015

A.J. got a dog door today.

We have two doors to the backyard, one in the dining room and one in the master bedroom. Both doors had full panes of glass, so it wasn’t possible to install a dog door in either. There was no spot for a dog door in a wall that led to the backyard. So in order to put a dog door in, we had to replace a door. This proved to be much more expensive than we ever would have imagined. The dining room door is an atrium door, meaning it has two halves to it, which would both need replacing. The bedroom door was a single door. That means replacing the bedroom door, while still expensive, will be half the price of replacing the dining room door.

The difficulty of course is that we always go in and out through the dining room door, and of course so does A.J. We would never walk into the bedroom to go outside. But we decided to replace that door and see if we could convince A.J. that that’s his door now. We already know he’ll use a dog door, he’s used one at other people’s houses, so that wasn’t a concern. The only concern was whether or not he’d go into the bedroom to use the door, or continue to stand at the dining room door and wait for us to open it.

So, the door was delivered and installed today. I went outside through the new door, leaving A.J. inside. The door flap is transparent, so he could see me in the backyard. I called to him, and he came running right out the dog door. I went back in, leaving him out. I called again. The flap isn’t as transparent from the other side, so I had to move the flap aside and show him it worked that way too, and he came running right in.

Next I went out the dining room door, again leaving A.J. inside. He banged on the blinds of the dining room door (which is how he always asked to go out) until Greg got up and called to him and started walking towards the bedroom. He didn’t get very far before A.J. came running and went out his dog door.

Since then, A.J. does what we suspected he’d do: He asks to go out the dining room door, then comes running in through his dog door when he wants back in. Hopefully he’ll eventually start to go out his door, but day one he hasn’t gotten there yet.

I clipped his nails today, and when I was done I gave him some treats. After he’d eaten his treats, he went to the dining room and asked to go out. I called him to the bedroom to try to get him to go out his door. Instead of heading to his dog door he started frantically sniffing around the bedroom looking for treats: he thought we were doing nosework.