Paisley had diarrhea yesterday. I'm guessing it probably had something to do with either the two bananas Jackson fed her or the chicken feed she taste-tested. Either way she hasn't been using the dog door on her own yet and I was busy getting kids off to
school in the morning...Ick.
So as soon as the kids left we set about learning to use the dog door.
The fastest way to teach a new behavior is to capture the behavior being offered without luring, bribing or forcing the behavior. Paisley wouldn't use the dog door on her own so I knew I wouldn't be able to just capture the behavior.
There are a few different ways to encourage a dog to offer a
desired behavior so that it can be captured, reinforced and eventually put on cue.
I decided to take the easy way--I enlisted Beau as my helper.
I gave Beau and Paisley each a few treats then I put them outside. I lifted up the plastic flap and called Beau in through the door. He trotted into the house and happily gobbled the treat I offered. Paisley cautiously crept up to the door--flap still held open. She timidly poked her nose in. I praised her and offered Beau another treat. In this case a little jealousy can be a good thing! Maybe bit of a bribe...
But it worked!
The light-bulb clicked on and Paisley realized that she could get what she wanted by going through the door. She came inside and she got her treat. I reversed the process by going outside and calling the dogs out. This time she hesitantly pushed the plastic flap aside and hopped through the door. She has been using it ever since.
I will no longer be cleaning up dog poop and we can leave the dogs home for hours at a time without worrying.
I believe that dog doors are the world's best invention second only to fire and color television.