How to Teach a Shih Tzu to Use a Dog Door

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As a Shih Tzu owner, you may be wondering if it’s possible to train your furry companion to use a pet door. The good news is that it’s definitely possible, but it may require some patience and persistence on your part. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of training a Shih Tzu to use a pet door, and answer some common questions that owners might have.


What is a pet door and how does it work?

A pet door, also called a doggie door, is a small opening in a door or wall that allows pets to come and go as they please. They’re particularly useful for pet owners who want to give their pets access to the outdoors without having to manually open and close the door. Pet doors typically have a flap that the pet can push through to enter or exit the house, and some models even have electronic locks that only allow certain pets to use the door.


Can Shih Tzus use a pet door?

Yes, Shih Tzus can be trained to use a pet door. However, because of their small size, it may take longer for them to get the hang of it than it would for a larger breed. Additionally, some Shih Tzus may be more hesitant or fearful of new things, which can make training more challenging.


How can I train my Shih Tzu to use a pet door?

Training your Shih Tzu to use a pet door will require some patience and consistency. Here are some steps you can follow to help your furry friend get comfortable with their new door:

– Start by propping the door open with a treat or toy. Encourage your Shih Tzu to walk through the opening by placing treats or toys on the other side.
– Once your Shih Tzu is comfortable walking through the propped-open door, gradually lower the flap until it’s fully closed. Encourage your Shih Tzu to push through the flap with treats or toys.
– If your Shih Tzu is hesitant to push through the flap, you may need to physically guide them through it at first. Gently lift the flap and guide your Shih Tzu through until they get the hang of it.
– Once your Shih Tzu is comfortable using the door with the flap closed, you can start teaching them to use it on their own. Encourage them to approach the door and push through the flap by placing treats or toys on the other side.
– If your Shih Tzu is still hesitant to use the door on their own, try leaving it propped open when you’re home so that they can come and go as they please. This will help build their confidence and comfort level.
– Be patient and positive throughout the training process. Reward your Shih Tzu with treats and praise when they successfully use the door, and avoid getting frustrated or angry if they struggle.


Can I use a pet door for both indoor and outdoor access?

Yes, many pet doors can be used for both indoor and outdoor access. However, it’s important to consider the potential risks and benefits before installing a pet door. Outdoor access can pose safety risks, such as exposure to other animals, traffic, and extreme weather conditions. On the other hand, indoor access can help prevent accidents and injuries while you’re away from home.


What size pet door should I use for my Shih Tzu?

When choosing a pet door, it’s important to select the appropriate size based on your pet’s weight and height. Shih Tzus typically range in weight from 9-16 pounds, so a small to medium-sized pet door should suffice. However, it’s always a good idea to measure your pet’s height and width to ensure a proper fit.


Are electronic pet doors safe for Shih Tzus?

Electronic pet doors, which use a collar key or microchip to control access, can be a safe and secure option for Shih Tzus. However, it’s important to ensure that the door is set up correctly and that your pet’s collar key or microchip is properly programmed. Additionally, be sure to supervise your pet’s use of the door initially to ensure they’re comfortable and confident with the new setup.



In conclusion, training your Shih Tzu to use a pet door may take some time and patience, but it’s definitely possible. By following the steps outlined above and remaining positive and consistent, you can help your furry companion enjoy the freedom and convenience that a pet door can provide. Remember to always prioritize your pet’s safety and comfort when making decisions about their access to the outdoors.

Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Owner of the cutest shih tzu on earth

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