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Open for discussion: May 8

Posted by laurie on May 8, 2012

18 Responses to “Open for discussion: May 8”

  1. I was thinking about getting a doggie door put in. When I was at the Beaglefest – I saw that Laurie and Phillip had one. I want to ask those of you who have one – What are the pros and cons of having a doggie door ? I would live to have Buddy and Holly come and go as they please, when I am at work. I worry about “critters” getting in. Especially mice – when it starts to get cold outside. Do people close the door at night – or when they are gone ? I have been looking online and have seen your basic doors and your ultra fancy ones with an electric device that reads the dog’s collar and only opens for the dog. Of course – those are mucho bucks. Any advise out there for me ? I hate to go to the major expense of having one cut in to my wall – only to have to close it up again because of problems. Thanks Audrey

    • Amy~Cobalt & Onyx's mom said

      The first doggie door we put in was an electronic one. Each dog had a sensor that they wore on their collars. We thought this would eliminate the problem of non-dogs coming in. It worked great until it malfunctioned and started to close as Cobalt was going through the door. That was enough to traumatize him for life. We switched to just a regular doggie door. Our house is configured so that we actually cut a hole in the brick wall in the dining room, because otherwise you have to go through the whole house to get to the garage to go out. We haven’t had problems with any other critters coming in. Ours has a cover on it, and we put the cover on it at night, when we aren’t home (so the beags can’t escape into the yard or beyond), and when it is cold (because it’s kind of drafty). They like being able to come and go as they please. Onyx views it as a window to the world, and often stretches out in front of it and just watches the outside. The only downside really, is that 1) Cobalt won’t go in and out on his own due to the previous terrifying experience, so when he wants to go out, we have to get up and let him out, and 2) when Onyx has been digging- she comes in and tracks mud through the dining room and living room if I don’t catch her. But those are really dog issues, not door issues. 🙂

    • Libby and Emily's mom said

      I got one for Libby and Emily when I moved to my new house this fall. I can not imagine my life without one anymore! My girls love to be able to go in and out when they want and it is so nice to not have to walk them on a cold rainy night. I close the door when I go away for an extended period of time and the girls are not home. At first I was worried about critters; but squirels have even learned that it is safer to stay out of the yard than to put up with two bugelling beagles!

    • Susan in DE said

      We have one that has the double flaps so it provides a bit of an “air lock” to keep out the draft in the winter time. It’s not closed at night because Josie isn’t truly housebroken, and occasionally needs to relieve herself in the middle of the night. Sometimes I will be awakened at 1 am because she’s hooting at wildlife, then I just go flash the flashlight at her and she comes in (since she’s partially deaf … and the neighbors don’t want to hear me yelling at that hour).

      I think you have to be sure they aren’t going to be outside barking their fool heads off all day long, or won’t manage an escape if they’re left to their own devices for several hours. We’ve been very fortunate that Josie and Jordan aren’t like that, and we can trust them with free run of the house and yard while we’re away.

      • Susan in DE said

        PS – We definitely close the door if we’re out of town with the dogs, just to be safe.

  2. I have one and love it! I don’t know what I would do without it! I had it installed when I couldn’t get up to let them out all the time. Jake has to have access to water and outside all the time due to his cushings disease and I love the fact that he can come and go whenever he needs it. Lily loves it too because then she can stalk the squirrels and birds that have the misfortune of coming into the yard. I have not had any problems with other critters coming in but with Lily on patrol, nothing comes close to the house unless they have a death wish. Here in Texas it doesn’t get too cold, but there is a definite draft to consider if you live in a part of the country that has actual winters. My two track a fair amount of mud and dirt in the house as well, but I put a bath mat on the floor leading into the living room and that has helped clean their paws. Mine is not “permanantley” installed and I think next spring new sliding doors are in my future and I will buy them with doggie doors in mind if not already installed. Just make sure your gate/fence is 100% beagle proof. I have made adjustments to my gate (adding an additional lock) just to give me peace of mind when I sleep and am at work that the gate won’t accidentaly swing open or someone else won’t open it up not knowing there is a dog in the yard (but I am freaky about being afraid someone is going to come in and take my beagles or mess with them when I’m not around).

    The best part of coming home is seeing Jake outside “sunbathing” before the heat of the summer kicks in. I hope he is making up for the 7 years he spent with me in an apartment and only being able to go out after I got home from work.

  3. laurie said

    Critters have never been a concern and we’ve had a doggy door for 17 years. If you have escape artists, though, you have to prepare. Remember, the beagles have a lot of free time to figure stuff out. After many escapes, we eventually had to put an invisible fence around the outer perimeter of the regular fence so Spenser couldn’t get close enough to dig/climb. Fortunately this has not been an issue with Stan and Sherman. Keeping it open all the time does run the risk of nighttime barking, something to consider if your neighbors are close. But the benefits of not having to let them out (and back in) and knowing that they don’t have to ‘hold it’ all day far outweighs any negatives for us.

  4. Gunner and Bailey's mom Anne said

    The dog door is a total blessing for us. Bailey used to sit by the door at 3am for me to let her out, needless to say, I didn’t always magically wake up to know she was waiting for me. After trying all sorts of bells and losing a lot of sleep, the dog door was put in! The only critters that have made it in where the ‘presents’ brought in to us. I keep mine crated during the day so I don’t have to worry about Gunner howling all day long or trying to escape either. It’s been really worth it for all the comings and goings of two active dogs for sure.

  5. Nancy J said

    We have the same style of pet door as Susan in DE. I think it’s PetSafe brand, Rough Weather style. It does help keep out the cold and drafts. Ours is in a combination door. When we are home, the pups are able to go out at will (we have a fenced-in yard). We lock the inside door at night and when we are at work. Not worried so much about 4-legged critters as much as 2-legged ones getting in. I don’t think either one of us would be comfortable letting the hounds have the run of the yard and house while we are at work. That’s just us, I guess. There are many petdoor options out there–I’m sure you’ll find one that works for you. The pups love it; would not be without one.

    • Susan in DE said

      A two legged (except for a small child) couldn’t fit through our dog door. We had a slightly larger one as part of the glass door insert panel before we opted to have the hole cut in the wall, and that was almost big enough, but not quite.

      Once I was accidentally locked out of the house and desperately had to use the facilities. It briefly crossed my mind to try to fit through that slightly bigger dog door, but the thought of the fire company having to extract me (and probably having a wet lower half by the time they arrived) made me reconsider. Fortunately, I found a spare key in the nick of time.

      • Nancy J said

        We had to get the extra large size door because of the Doberman. It’s big enough that a child or small person can get through.

      • Sue ~ Barney & Jodi's Mom said

        I was pet sitting for a friend of mine, forgot her key at home. So…..I was able to get my top half thru the doggie door far enough to be able to reach up and unlock the door from the inside.

  6. Cathy, Gomez & Lily said

    We have a doggie door too – it’s one of those for the sliding glass doors so it’s not really installed. I find it essential, especially since my three don’t seem to understand how to alert us verbally when they need something (except food of course). So Lily and Gomez just come and go as they wish and I’m hoping Mr. Peabody will get to that point eventually (sigh). Downsides for me are the draftiness; the little vinyl flap is getting kind of loose (after 20 years!) and the door is on the weather side of the house, so we get plenty of wind and stuff blowing in. Also, that vinyl flap does have to be cleaned pretty frequently with all the beagle yuk that they scrape off on it. Yet another reason why the flap is . . . flappy.

    I also strongly recommend putting a big, absorbent washable rug in front of the door. My Gomez hates the rain, and has been known to poke his beagly head out the doggy door and consider that far enough outside and empties his bladder right there.

    I’m going to look for one with double flaps like Susan has!

    • Susan in DE said

      Our original dog door was the kind you currently have, Cathy. We also got tired of not being able to use the sliding door part, because it really doesn’t lock and you end up securing it with two or three broom handles — way too much trouble to undo them all then put them back.

      Had to laugh out loud about the door being “flappy” because of the dirt and grease from the grubby beagle heads. I’ve found that if you remove it from the frame and just let it soak in a dishpan of hot water and dish soap for 30 minutes, it scrubs off pretty easily after that. Of course, with only one flap, you have to wait for good weather to do it. With two flaps, I can clean one at a time in pretty much any weather.

  7. Thank you all for your comments and advise. Now that I have two dogs, it will make it easier to have a doggie door. They never seem to want to come back in at the same time. Buddy loves to hang out in the yard and Holly is more of a home body- during the day – . If I get a double flap door – it may solve some problems. Holly is the hunter and I made the mistake of leaving my bedroom window open one warm night recently. She usually just sleeps with us all night, but on that night – she sat up all night on the little table in front of the window – or as we call it -the perch. She sat in front of the window screen – enjoying the night air and barking at every noise and movement- unti I got up and closed the window. So if I get a doggie door – I will have to close it at night – or she will probably be outside all night – hunting. Buddy will be outside all day – sunning himself.

    I laughed out loud at work at the comment about Mr. Gomez sticking his head out of the door and considering it far enough out – when it is raining. I have this fear that Buddy will do the same thing- he hates the rain !

    All of your comments really helped – thank you again so much. Audrey

    • Harper said

      I didn’t have time to reply earlier … We bought our current house because of the doggie door… Whisky Girl wasn’t 100% housebroken… She’d have accidents at night when we were sleeping. It was a medium sized door – we had to get the extra large (big enough for most two legged critters) for the GS puppy and JD with his bad knees was having some trouble scootching thru. We only have one flap, and even here in CA it can get cold. I might have to look at the double flap for next winter. The doggie door goes right into their bedroom, so we can close them out of the house during the day but they still have their room for shelter and all of the backyard. No critters (yet knocking on wood) except the mouse, rat, gopher and birds that Tang Kitty has brought in… Tho we are in a subdivision, there are still a few critters roaming around…. We leave the doggie door open 24/7, because when we’re not home the dogs stand guard (of course we do have two big dogs besides the Basset). And we can lock the door into the dogs room should we EVER go on vacation (what exactly IS a vacation?). Lastly Tang is an indoor outdoor kitty and he uses the doggie door so no kitty litter box!

      • Harper said

        Postscript… The dogs room has vinyl flooring and the rest of the house has wood floors so most of the mud, dirt, drool etc is easy cleanup.
        I even decorated the dogs room with all dog and cat motifs….
        And yes, the door flap gets pretty smootch-shie with dog goop but easy to clean….

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