DIY Dog Door Insulation

Several months ago, at the cost of many hundreds of dollars, we replaced an entire exterior door so we could give A.J. a dog door. The first company I talked to about replacing the door said I had to buy my own dog door. Then they’d order the door and put the dog door in, at which point we had to figure out how to transport and install an eight-foot door. I went ahead and found a dog door while we figured out what we were going to do about the transporting and installation part. With our 100-degree summers and negative-degree winters I knew we needed a door with as much insulation as possible. So I ordered a dog door with three flaps, one of which was an insulated layer. Then the door company fell through with the door.

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A.J. Helps Me Paint

Today I finally got around to painting the door that has A.J.’s dog door in it. (Yes, it’s been two months since the door was put in. What’s your point?) I taped around the door and then wandered back and forth between the patio and the garage to get paint, brushes, drop cloths, etc. A.J. was following me every step of the way, until the last trip. “Wow, he must have gotten tired of going back and forth and decided to just settle down in the backyard.” Wrong. A.J. decided to help:

AJ chews up the painters tape
A.J. decided to work on the painter’s tape while I did the painting.
Chewed up tape
So much for that roll of tape.

Battle of Wills

A.J. and I had a nice battle of wills over his dog door. I was sitting at the dining room table eating lunch. A.J. walked over to the door and nudged the blinds, his signal that he wants out. I ignored him, and he banged the blinds harder. I told him “Go use your door.” He banged the blinds even harder. I ignored him.

A.J. came over to me, I petted him for a minute, then he went back to the door.




I finally got up, but instead of opening the door I walked into the other room. He was right next to me when I pointed at his dog door and said “Use your door.” A.J. stood facing his door. He looked up at me without turning his head, giving me a sideways glance. I turned around and went back to my lunch. A.J. followed me back to the dining room.


He finally came over and laid down beside my chair. Two minutes later he got up, walked away, and I heard the flap of his dog door.

A.J. the Stealth Dog

It’s amazing how a dog that can be so noisy can be so sneaky sometimes.

This morning I was sitting at my desk working on the computer. A.J. was lying right outside the office door. There’s carpet in the office and hardwood floors in the hall outside the door, so sometimes he likes to be on the cooler surface. I didn’t notice he had gotten up, but I heard the flap from the dog door. “Oh good, he’s using his door.” A little while later I heard the flap again, letting me know A.J. had come back in. Then I heard a noise from somewhere in the house. I thought it was coming from down the hall, and I was worried that A.J. was getting into something. So I got up, walked out into the other room, looked around, and didn’t see A.J. anywhere. “That’s weird, I know I heard him come back in.” I walked back into the office – and there was A.J., right behind my chair.

A New Game

A.J. is having just a little too much fun with his dog door now: he’s invented a new game. When we come back from our evening walks he grabs a toy and bounces around playing. He’s been doing that for a long time. What’s new is that now with the dog door if he can’t get me to play with him, he runs out his door and stands in middle of the yard, toy in his mouth, staring at the house.

How can I resist that? I go out and we play with his toy.

Sneaky A.J.

We have a rule in this house: indoor toys stay in, outdoor toys stay out. I don’t want dirty, slimy toys coming in the house from outside. So when A.J. takes a toy to the door, he has to drop it before we’ll open the door to let him in or out. He knows this, and when we stand at the door with a hand on the knob, A.J. dutifully drops his toy. Unfortunately, a dog door tends to change the rules.

Today I gave A.J. a chew toy in the house. He gnawed on it for a minute, then decided he wanted to take it outside. Greg was near the door (the one without the dog door in it) so A.J. walked over, chew toy in his mouth, and stood by the door to be let out.  Greg just looked at him and said “You know the rules, buddy,” and didn’t open the door. I said “If you want to sneak things out you have to sneak them out yourself.” A.J. immediately turned, ran into the other room and out his dog door, taking the chew toy with him.

More Dog Door Training

July 13, 2015

A.J. is still asking to go outside most of the time rather than simply using his new dog door. So we did a couple of experiments yesterday to see what he was doing when we weren’t home, and it went really well. First we left for a bike ride, and I put A.J. outside to see if it would occur to him to come back in the house. We got home from our ride, and there he was in the house, greeting us at the door! So he knew to use the door as an “in” door.

In the evening we went out to dinner. This time we left A.J. in the house. But before we left, we managed to leave a couple of dog treats on the patio outside without A.J. knowing we’d done that. When we came home, A.J. was still in the house, but the treats were gone. He must have gone outside at some point and discovered them. Hurray for my smart boy, he’s using his dog door!!

New Dog Door, Day 2

July 9, 2015

We’ve continued to work on getting A.J. to use his dog door. Here’s a conversation that took place at one point today:

(A.J. is outside standing at the door waiting to be let in.)

Greg: Should I let him in?

Me: No, make him use his dog door.

Greg: But he’s staring at me.

Me: We paid a fortune for that door, he needs to remember it’s there and learn to use it.

Greg: Yeah but he’s not staring at you, he’s staring at me.

Me: He needs to get used to his door.

Greg: <Opens the door and lets him in.>

Me: Sigh.

Training Greg is much harder than training A.J.