Puppies just don't. . .? (Part 2)

Friday, May 9, 2008

When we brought Ninja home, DH and I had a discussion about providing him with a dog door. Even at 8 weeks old, he had been using the dog door at the breeder's house. Using is perhaps the wrong word. Yes, he did go in and out of it. Mostly he just flopped down half way in and half way out of it, generally making a nuisance of himself because his litter mates had to climb over him to get in or out. Plus, being half way in and hallway out left the door open, much to the breeder's annoyance because this let out the cool air-conditioned air in heart of the Summer.

My plan was to have DH cut a hole in the wall by the sliding glass door and install the dog door. The hole is easily patched if we ever decide to move. DH didn't like this idea, mainly because it involves cutting a hole in the wall (well, duh. The dog isn't Cris Angel). Since he would be the one actually installing the door if we did it this way, I decided to listen. For once. . .

He suggested we get a dog door that fits into the existing sliding glass door. The only problem with this is that we have a 7 foot tall sliding glass door, and the dog door that fits in there is quite expensive. I got on Craig's List and got very lucky to find a used one relatively inexpensively. I had to partially disassemble it because it was too long to fit in my car in one piece.

As soon as I got it home I installed it in the sliding door (a two minute job). I was really excited that my puppy would have all this freedom and I wouldn't have to open the door when he needed to go out. There was just one problem. Ninja refused to go through it. He seemed to be afraid of it. It doesn't surprise me. The flap snaps shut as the dog goes through it, and the SNAP! is pretty loud. Even now it sometimes wakes me up in my room all the way upstairs if Ninja goes out in the night. Did you know you have to train your dog to use a dog door? Along with walking on a leash I assumed he would just rush right through it!

DD and I spent hours trying to coax him through it. One of us would sit outside and the other inside with treats and call him. He wouldn't go through it unless we held it open for him. Even bacon and chicken didn't do the trick. Finally I taped it open in desperation. This was in October. OK for the day, but it wasn't going to work at night. Plus I was afraid something might invite itself in from the outside. Like maybe a rat????

Ninja would go through it when it was taped open. So the routine became I'd tape open the door during the day, and as it got chilly at night I'd close it. After about three days I had had enough of this. Plus the tape kept coming loose. I'm surprised it didn't flop down and hit him as he scampered through. So when the tape gave out I ignored it. Ninja whined. I pretended not to hear. Ninja chuffed at the door and barked a little. I ignored him. So he gave up and went through. And that was that. Hours of begging, coaxing, an cajoling boiled down to me refusing to baby the puppy. He decided he needed to go out and out he went.

Now we are slightly sorry, especially when he gets bored and starts taking stuff that isn't his to his "lair." Stuff like remote controls- especially nice in the rain. Stuff like my shoes, the kids' stuffed animals, mail off of the dining room table. I have no doubt this would be shredded in the house if he didn't have dog door. It just wouldn't make my back yard look like a treasure hunt. . .


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