Doggie Doors? Your experiences/opinions?

We finally got around to giving purpose to the exterior door in the kitchen by adding a small stairway and deck to allow access from the kitchen into our fenced-in backyard. This means not having to let our 3 B's out down through the basement into the backyard since we became B owners 3 years ago. I've talked with my wife about adding a doggie door to the exterior kitchen door as a convenience for both humans and the B's.

However, she's expressed concerns about how a doggie door might condition our B's to not retain the learning of "holding it" over an extended period of time. She also pointed out that an "unlocked" doggie door would not be a good idea if no one was home.

I personally like the idea of the B's having the freedom to come and go as they please, just as people generally can use the bathroom when they want/need to. I also think the access would actually improve upon the sporadic housebreaking accidents/revenge dumps that one or both of our male B's experience. I do understand the concern about access to the yard when no one's home.

We need to hear what other B owners have experienced in using doggie doors…for both better or worse.

TIA!

I am trying to convince dh to put a doggie door in our sliding glass door into the back yard. I don't see how it will decondition the dogs – I mean, they know to "ask" to be let out when they have to go, and if no one opens the door they have to hold it. I don't see why that would change.

As to the "unlocked" door problem. Don't most pet doors lock? I know the small ones we've had the past have always locked. I am assuming that the larger door I want will also lock.

I have always had doggy door, in fact we have two…. and would not ever be without it. I have never had to close mind unless we were having work done in the yard and didn't have the B's in their crates

We have a doggie door and they love it..
They use it when we are gone…and the sun is on the deck, they go out and enjoy..
Its also nice, when they are feeling "ill" in the night, they will run outside so as not to mess inside.
IMO, everyone should have one!
We have never had a basenji try to escape from the fenced backyard..
why would they, when there are so many good thing in the house. LOl!

Thanks for all the responses…seems all are in favor of doggie doors...wonder if it'll be enough to convince DW of the idea. I'll show her your feedback after she finishes sewing up our daughter's halloween costume tonight.

Ours love the doors. We had one in the last house and made sure we could install one in the new one.

As far as securtiy, there are doors big enough for Basenjis that no person can fit through and even if it was big enough, I would think a dog door is proof that there is a dog in a house and unless they are targeting you specifically (in which case nothing would help), criminals will avoid a house with a dog pretty much every time.

I don't have a problem with the doors and have thought about getting them. But I don't think I could leave them go in and out when we're not home, but that's just me.
A friend of ours does and recently she came home to skunk sprayed Basenjis and all that brings with it.

Everyones situation is different I suppose.

We always locked ours at night. Well, we didn't originally, but after a stray cat decided that our house was a great place to get in out of the cold, we started locking up at night.

That crazy cat came into our house every night for several nights running; our cat didn't appreciate it AT ALL! You can imagine the noises we'd wake up to – squalling cats, crazy dogs! LOL
It was a wacky looking cat, too, Big and really scruffy with one torn ear. We always wondered what happened to him after we locked him out.

My fear at our current house would be raccoons. They're pretty brave here.

@LeeL:

Ours love the doors. We had one in the last house and made sure we could install one in the new one.

As far as securtiy, there are doors big enough for Basenjis that no person can fit through and even if it was big enough, I would think a dog door is proof that there is a dog in a house and unless they are targeting you specifically (in which case nothing would help), criminals will avoid a house with a dog pretty much every time.

Hi LeeL, aren't you my fellow Tivocommunity forum basenji loving colleague?

Glad to see more evidence of successful use of a doggie door. I can see how my OP implied that my DW's concern about an unlocked doggie door would lead one to think the concern was related to possible human tresspassing. My apologies for the confusion, but the actual concern was whether or not it was safe for the B's to be allowed to go outside while no one's home. Certain possible unpleasant scenerios come to mind:

  • What would stop someone from trying to steal our dogs? Our B's are quite the friendly type…not one iota of watchdog in any of them. I would add that the chances of this happening are probably lower in my rural area than in a city, but still a slight risk no matter where one lives.

  • What if severe weather came through and a tree limb dropped onto the fence, thereby compromising the enclosure? Our B's are not "escapists" by nature, but they wouldn't blink at all about roaming the neighborhood if given an obvious opportunity to do so.

If these two main concerns could be resolved, it sure would overcome some hesitancy towards the idea of a doggie door.

Do any of you doggie-door users "lock" the door at any time, and if so, for what reaons?

@Basenji_Boy:

I don't have a problem with the doors and have thought about getting them. But I don't think I could leave them go in and out when we're not home, but that's just me.
A friend of ours does and recently she came home to skunk sprayed Basenjis and all that brings with it.

Everyones situation is different I suppose.

Yeah, I understand what you mean. Our two B's and a foster got skunk-sprayed in our backyard last December, and 4 months had to pass by before they stopped smelling like one. Nasty experience!

@JazzysMom:

That crazy cat came into our house every night for several nights running; our cat didn't appreciate it AT ALL! You can imagine the noises we'd wake up to – squalling cats, crazy dogs! LOL
It was a wacky looking cat, too, Big and really scruffy with one torn ear. We always wondered what happened to him after we locked him out.

My fear at our current house would be raccoons. They're pretty brave here.

Good thing it was only a cat. Some time ago I posted a news story I found where a pit bull got through someone's doggie door and attacked a lady and her dog in her bedroom!

Yikes!

I would love to have one (a doggy door)-but I would have to change my screen door-and then there is the mud factor. When mine come in they sit by the door to have their feet wiped if it's wet or muddy.

@JazzysMom:

We always locked ours at night. Well, we didn't originally, but after a stray cat decided that our house was a great place to get in out of the cold, we started locking up at night.

That crazy cat came into our house every night for several nights running; our cat didn't appreciate it AT ALL! You can imagine the noises we'd wake up to – squalling cats, crazy dogs! LOL
It was a wacky looking cat, too, Big and really scruffy with one torn ear. We always wondered what happened to him after we locked him out.

My fear at our current house would be raccoons. They're pretty brave here.

That must've been something! We have racoons, skunks, foxes, and feral cats in our area, so this is another concern. We also have 4 cats that remain in the basement in a safe area during the day, but come out during the night since our B's are crated at night. They would probably want to become outdoor kitties, so for both of these reasons, we'd lock the doggie-door at night.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,294013,00.html

Here's the link to the news story…...please be careful with those doors and what can come in them.

My vet was telling me about one of her clients that had a female dog in heat. Came home and found an unknown male dog in the house (thru the doggie door) and then shortly thereafter had an unplanned pregnancy to deal with. 😃

I can just picture coming home to the latest squirrel or rabbit that the b's drug inside throught the door and left there to suprise us. We have way to much going on the the backyard to put in a doggie door.

@renaultf1:

My vet was telling me about one of her clients that had a female dog in heat. Came home and found an unknown male dog in the house (thru the doggie door) and then shortly thereafter had an unplanned pregnancy to deal with. 😃

Well that is just common sense that if you have a bitch in season that you would make sure the doggy door is closed off…. pretty dump if you ask me...

As far as critters, we had coons come in the "cat" door that was upstairs in the master bedroom when our cat was alive.... but we have never had a critter come in the doggy doors that are downstairs in the 16 years we had Basenjis and doggy doors.....

Of course anything can happen... but it is not the normal... at least certainly never has been for us. Again, I would not be without a doggy door....

And in addition….. about the coons... if you leave food out for your dogs/cats chances are you will get invaders... but of course I never recommend free feeding, so that was never a problem... except for the cat..ggg

@navyman:

Hi LeeL, aren't you my fellow Tivocommunity forum basenji loving colleague?

Glad to see more evidence of successful use of a doggie door. I can see how my OP implied that my DW's concern about an unlocked doggie door would lead one to think the concern was related to possible human tresspassing. My apologies for the confusion, but the actual concern was whether or not it was safe for the B's to be allowed to go outside while no one's home. Certain possible unpleasant scenerios come to mind:

  • What would stop someone from trying to steal our dogs? Our B's are quite the friendly type…not one iota of watchdog in any of them. I would add that the chances of this happening are probably lower in my rural area than in a city, but still a slight risk no matter where one lives.

  • What if severe weather came through and a tree limb dropped onto the fence, thereby compromising the enclosure? Our B's are not "escapists" by nature, but they wouldn't blink at all about roaming the neighborhood if given an obvious opportunity to do so.

If these two main concerns could be resolved, it sure would overcome some hesitancy towards the idea of a doggie door.

Do any of you doggie-door users "lock" the door at any time, and if so, for what reaons?

Yep, those are the main reasons that I don't leave mine out when no one is home. Just about a year ago, we had some strong winds (not even a storm) and a tree blew down a panel of our fence. Our dogs probably would have been long gone if they had been out. And we had one dig out (never, ever had dug before) last spring..again, I think she was bored, and decided to try it out…not good if someone isn't there to check frequently.

Again, I am not against doggy doors, it just isn't something I am comfortable with. There are also other reasons that we have that "normal" people don't have (ie lots of bitches that don't get along; revolving different packs out in the yard, etc); so we maintain A LOT of control over who goes out when.

@Quercus:

Yep, those are the main reasons that I don't leave mine out when no one is home. Just about a year ago, we had some strong winds (not even a storm) and a tree blew down a panel of our fence. Our dogs probably would have been long gone if they had been out. And we had one dig out (never, ever had dug before) last spring..again, I think she was bored, and decided to try it out…not good if someone isn't there to check frequently.

Again, I am not against doggy doors, it just isn't something I am comfortable with. There are also other reasons that we have that "normal" people don't have (ie lots of bitches that don't get along; revolving different packs out in the yard, etc); so we maintain A LOT of control over who goes out when.

Thanks to everyone so far for all of your responses. The initial responses were overwhelmingly in favor of using doggie doors in some fashion…now I'm seeing responses coming in that point out other issues that need to be considered.

Quercus' points make a lot of sense to me. Where there's no oversight/control of our B's location/status due to no one being home, doggie doors present a degree of risk no matter the location. Of course that risk level varies depending on one's own unique circumstances (i.e, breeder, city or rural, when owner(s) is/are home, proximity to high-traffic areas, wild creature infestation levels, etc)

I see that it's ultimately a 'case-by-case' judgement to decide whether or not to use doggie-doors. If an owner is in favor of using one, the times and situations for it to be used and/or locked need to then be configured for one's own unique home, B's, and schedule characteristics.

My insane fantasy would be to have an internet camera with a sweeping view of the backyard so I could monitor the presence of the B's outside, along with remote/time-controlled doggie door capabilities. A perimeter detection system could be used to detect if any of the B's compromise the perimeter and thus trigger a secondary fence to materialize from the ground. Too bad I would need Bill Gate's kind of money to put something like that in action.

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