15-year-old Poodle Refuses To Go Out Doggie Door, But Will Come Back In

Discussion in 'Training Challenges' started by tdillman, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. tdillman New Member

    My husband and I just moved and my 15-year-old Miniature Poodle-Maltese mix is going to be left alone for many hours through the day while we are at work. We bought her a dog door and have been training her for a month and a half to use it to go potty. She refuses to go out on her own unless we are right there by her side, but she comes in on her own without hesitation. We have used treats (meatballs, yum!) to get her to go through the door, and she does really well with that. She will even go through the door with coaxing but she will not go through it on her own. Instead, when we come home from work, she just pees in front of the door.
    We thought that maybe she just really didn't like the dog door, but we had to have SOMETHING for her. We tried to start training her on a potty patch outside so that maybe if she got used to that, she could just use that instead inside. Every time she would starting peeing or pooping outside, we would set her on the potty patch and have her finish her business there and praise her for it. We have not tried using treats with it yet, but that is our next step. The winters are really bad here so it wouldn't be good to leave her outside or in the garage. We locked her in the laundry room today with her bed, food, and the potty patch with a piece of her poop on top of it and we are hoping this will help. I just don't know what to do.
    She's my baby, and I love her, but I don't know how to get her to go through the door or use the potty patch. Thanks!
    MaryK likes this.

  2. kassidybc Experienced Member

    She may just not want to go potty outside. What makes going out the doggy door and going to the bathroom outside more rewarding than going to the bathroom inside? You have to make it more rewarding. Is she potty trained to go outside without the doggy door? Or is she not potty trained at all? How long are you gone at a time?
    MaryK and Pawbla like this.
  3. tdillman New Member

    Yes. She has been potty-trained for 15 years. We have always opened the door for her to go outside.
    My husband and I have to commute to work so sometimes, during the busy season such as now, we can be gone for almost 10 hours.
    MaryK likes this.
  4. southerngirl Honored Member

    I have no experience with dog doors, but here are some videos. Oh and until she is okay with the doggy door I would use baby gates to keep her in the kitchen were there's no carpet and put some potty pads down. Also I would leave a jar of treats just incase you see her use the dog door on her on give her a treat and lots of praise. Maybe make "Dog Door" a command. Start by using the command when your close and slowly move further away. This might help her feel comfortable using it own her own.
    Start feeding her outside so that she has to go through the dog door to eat. Try making the dog door really exciting and positive.
    When your home and she has to pee try incorporating what I mentioned above "Dog Door" command. I hope this helps. If the videos aren't helpful go to YouTube and type in Dog Door Training.
    Good Luck

    MaryK likes this.
  5. tdillman New Member

    We have actually already watched these videos and they did help. But we are at a standstill now. The problem with voice commands is that she is nearly deaf because of age. To get her attention we have to clap our hands or stomp our feet. So we mostly use hand gestures. We have a simple hand gesture of just pointing at the door in a sort of swinging motion. She seems to understand this because she will go stand next to the door, but she still won't go out, she will only come back in through the doggie door. We also praise her every time she uses it, but I'm just not sure of what more we can do.
    MaryK and jackienmutts like this.
  6. southerngirl Honored Member

    I understand the hearing loss, I have a dog around the age of your. How bout for a command do two rapid claps mean out the dog door or a clap following with a stomp. And when she knows this command have someone standing outside to get her to go potty give praise than allow back in. This way she associates the dog door with going potty. Hopefully after a bit of doing this she'll start going on her own and when she does make sure she gets a lot of praise.
    I wish I could help more but I've never had a dog door.
  7. tdillman New Member

    That sounds like a fantastic idea! We will try the clapping. I never thought of doing a different variety of claps instead of a voice command. Thank you!
    MaryK, jackienmutts and southerngirl like this.
  8. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Just saw your post and have had doggie doors for as far back as I can ever remember. Your old girl now has to get used to something hard on her face/head and it's a very foreign feeling for her. The rewards for tolerating this have to be really high at first and once she's use to it and it becomes routine, then it will be second nature, and no big deal. Quit opening the door for her and allowing her to just "go outside" and potty even if you're in a hurry (not saying you're doing this, but just if you are) and make sure that every time she goes out to potty, or goes outside for anything, she uses that doggy door. That door will be her way to get outside. Lure her out, use food, but let that door drag gently on her head once she starts out. Every time she goes out, reward her heavily - use food, praise, toys, and everything you can think of at first!! Make it a party when she goes OUT. Of course she's going to come IN, because that's self-rewarding, she gets to be in the house - you can reward that too, but the reward can be much smaller. The "going out" is the big one right now. Practice, practice, practice, til she's just going in and out almost without thought.

    That "thing" they have to push with their face and heads is very foreign, and it bothers some dogs more than others. Since your girl is a senior, it may take her a bit longer. Just be patient with her, and keep practicing. If she has a few accidents at first, just be patient with her, as I'm sure she'd rather not - she'll get used to it with time. And if you see her finally go out once by herself - throw her a huge party!!! Run outside, tell her what a wonderful girl she is!!! Doesn't matter if she's going out to potty or not, just the fact that she made the decision to use the door by herself will be party enough - she'll put it all together, she can get to potty by herself, without you opening the big door. Stick with the practice, make the rewards high for her going outside thru the door, and she'll catch on. Keep in mind, this is brand new to her. Even if she goes out a few times and you think she's finally got it, you've always opened the "big door" for her when she needs to potty, and she may 'forget' when she's home alone and have a few accidents in the house - keep her age in mind (and that as an old dog, she may awake after a long nap, forget about the doggie door, and just have to go, and not be able to wait). Give it time to become second nature to her, she's had a lot of years to practice waiting on the 'big door' opening, and now is learning something new. Forgive her if she has some accidents at first, as she may forget that she has her own door. But I bet she'll catch on in no time. Good luck.
    Ripleygirl, MaryK, kassidybc and 2 others like this.
  9. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    Jackienmutts gave you some really good advice. You can also put her meals outside for a while and get her to got out for them. Play a game of fetch or tug with her after she goes out through the door. Or play fetch through the doggie door.
    MaryK and brodys_mom like this.
  10. MaryK Honored Member

    Jackie has given you excellent advice. I was about to say the same thing, until I got to her post. Just make sure the doggy door isn't too heavy/hard on her, she's a mature lady and even younger dogs, as Jackie has said, don't like that 'thing' banging on their backs.

    I did see on a show here that the person used softer material, some form of very lightweight, flexiable plastic, instead of the usual heavier type which is standard on doggy doors. So maybe you could look at changing the door, to something lighter, because the doors can be quite heavy.

    Good advice too from Danielle to use claps.

    And as has been said already, patient is the key, she's been a good house trained girl for years now, so she wants to keep it that way:D
  11. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Sara, a moderator on this forum, has deaf dogs. She uses a little flashlight keychain instead of a clicker, I believe. This may be more effective than clapping or stomping, if her eye sight is not impaired at all.
    MaryK likes this.
  12. MaryK Honored Member

    Good one Brody's Mom!(y) I forgot Sara uses the flashlight:rolleyes: , I know it works well with her doggies.

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