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Thread: Timid Dog

  1. #1

    Default Timid Dog


    I am so proud to say that three of my five dogs are now going out on their own using the dog door. Both of the ones who I still have to help are older dogs and I guess set in their ways. One knows how to go out with no problem, but only goes when I encourage him. I have got to play the treat game in the yard more (crossing my fingers) with that one. My question is about my marker dog. He still won't go out the dog door and is scared of it. I have removed the flap and he goes out with no problem. I put a zip lock bag with some water in the bottom (covers door opening half way). He goes out that one with no problem. I have been and continue using treats to encourage every step along the way. He won't go out with two zip lock bags covering the door. I have to hold his back and then he will go out. I did get him to go in one time yesterday with me standing inside and him standing outside. We will have had the door three weeks on Friday (the 5th). How long should it take for a timid dog to learn to go out? I'm feeling impatient. Do some dogs just never learn? I do see a little progress each day, but when everybody goes out, it's like we are starting over and he has forgotten everything. He just stands near the door. (Two steps forward, three steps back) What else can I do to help this little timid shih tzu learn to use to dog door with the regular flap? He won't use my zip lock bag flap consistently yet and we are a long ways from using the regular flap. I'm not giving up yet, but I sure would like to speed up the process at this point.

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Sunny California


    Hope things are improving with your timid pup! Some dogs do take a little longer to be comfortable using the dog door, but there are a few things you can try to speed things along. I usually start the training by calling the dog with the flap all the way up, then gradually lower it. Dogs often aren't comfortable with the flap touching them, so holding it so it just grazes the dog's back gently as he goes through is helpful for getting him used to the sensation... I'd work on that for a bit, gradually taking the flap down lower and lower until you're able to just lift the corner up a bit and try to get him to go though. By lifting the corner, you can often get the dog to stick his nose through or nudge the flap a bit with his nose... when he does that, lift the flap to let him come through, then praise him like crazy and give him some treats. Once he realizes nudging/pushing the door works, he should be willing to do more of the work of pushing through the door... it may take a few sessions if he gets stressed, so take your time and try to have fun with it.

    Once he's reasonably comfortable with the exercise, finding something that REALLY makes him want to go outside or come inside can also help... sometimes all it takes is the proper motivation to get the dog fired up enough to try getting past that scary flap. A move I often use for this is mixing up something DELICIOUS in all of the dog's bowls (people food, canned dog food, whatever will get them really excited) and letting them all watch. Then I'll take the bowls outside with lots of excited happy talk... those who come out get the food right away, those who stay in don't! Most of the time that'll get a hesitant dog to think it's worth it to go through.

    Hope that helps!!
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