8.15.2013

Embracing the "Dog People" Way of Life & Installing a Doggy Door

Hey, hey, it's Cason here! I like to jump on the blog every once in awhile to say hello and give my perspective on being the husband of a blogging wife.
Today I wanted to give a little insight on how two "not-so-dog-people" do a complete 360 to embracing the "dog people" way of life. It's hard believe that we have completely fallen for our little Zaylee so much that we are willing to change our homes structure for her.
If you have a dog yourself, you know that potty training is quite the feat. Initially we trained Zaylee to use a bell by the back door so when she rang it, we would come running to let her out for a 'trip to the yard to do her 'th'ang'. While totally genius at first, because Zaylee never scratched the door or barked, we figured out a bit later that there were a couple of problems with this approach for OUR dog.
1- You have to hear the bell, or there will be an accident.
2- If Zaylee needs attention, she knows that ringing the bell will bring someone running, even if she doesn't really have to go out to the yard for a bathroom break.
installing a doggy door, thehouseofsmiths, dog people, doggy bell, puppy potty training

Soooo... after a couple of months of that I finally broke down and purchased a doggy door. Shelley definitely wasn't happy with cutting a huge hole in our door at first, but then finally agreed with the structure change because it meant that she would no longer have to keep running upstairs from her office to constantly answer the ringing of Zaylee and her bell; real bathroom break needed or not.
All that said, here are a couple of things that I learned about installing our doggy door. I'm not really going to go into exactly how to do it step-by-step, as the instructions for the door I purchased were pretty good, but more touch on points/mistakes/discoveries that I made along the way, you can learn from. ha!

1 - Research what type of door makes sense for you. The one we went with was for extreme weather, we have HOT summers and COLD winters here in Utah. We didn't want to have to worry about the door affecting the inside temperature of our home. The big difference with this door was it had a middle insulation flap that the other doors didn't. We found ours at Petsmart.
installing a doggy door, thehouseofsmiths, zaylee, Pet Door, extreme weather pet door, PetSafe

2 - Understand that it is an investment. You would think that a simple plastic case with some flaps on it would be fairly inexpensive, but we found that this wasn't the case. Even the "cheapy doors" were pretty pricey! So, save up for the right door for your situation, and know that you're going to have to probably dish out about $45 - $100 for a good quality doggy door.
how to install a doggy door - dog people - thehouseofsmiths

3 - FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS! I'm male, so sometimes a seemingly simple project means just looking at the pictures is enough...ehhhm... not for this project. I forgot to install weather stripping, which was not an easy thing to go back and reinstall after the fact.
Along these same lines, if the instructions say take the door off the hinges... DO IT! I thought I would save myself some time by leaving our door on it's hinges, but in reality, it probably took me three times longer than it should have and made the project much harder.
What? I'm just being honest. You live, you learn, and then you blog about it, right?
how to install a doggy door - dog people - thehouseofsmiths, dog people

4 - Use a metal jigsaw blade. If you are installing a doggy door on a metal exterior door, know that it is easier when you use the right tools for the material you're working on. I had to stop halfway through the job of sawing our door with the wrong blade, to go get a metal blade with very small teeth. Once I had the correct blade it made for a much nicer cut and eliminated fewer shards of metal coming at me while trying to work. Less flying shards = Better.
PS: Wear protective eye gear. You WILL need it.

5 - Placement is key. Make sure you pay attention to the minimum placement requirements for your specific doggy door. Shelley wanted to make sure our doggy door was as inconspicuous as possible, so we placed it as close to the hinges as we could, hoping that our kitchen table would hide it a bit more. It looks fine, but it's still a doggy door... no way around that. Sorry babe.
how to install a doggy door - dog people - thehouseofsmiths, dog people

Uhh, so maybe definitely these aren't the most "pinnable", well-lit photos, but Shelley's been so busy that she put me in charge of posting, so like I tell my kids... "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit."
how to install a doggy door - dog people - thehouseofsmiths, dog people

6 - Patience. Training Zaylee to walk through a door, after ringing a bell for a few months wasn't an easy feat and it's still a work in progress. She's enjoying the treats that she gets for walking in and out of the door, and slowly but surely is understanding that when she rings the bell we are not opening the door, but making her walk through her doggy door instead.
doggy door, thehouseofsmiths, zaylee, installing a doggy door, dog people
awww yeahhhh, check out those picture edge fading skills! You can pin this one.
;)

So does anyone fall into the same boat as us? Once upon a time "never-thought-we'd-be-pet-people" turned into "completely-obsessed-with-their-pet-people" ???
How have you had to change up things in YOUR homes to accommodate furry new friends? Have both you AND your significant other been on board with the changes right away?

32 comments:

  1. I investigated installing a permanent doggie door through the wall as we have a slider type patio door. We ended up going with a glass insert panel that fits in the track of the slider. Being very paranoid and safety conscious, we did not install that panel permanently either (with screws and locks that are provided). Instead, we insert it when we are home and remove it when we have to leave the house. We cut a plastic pipe the necessary length to prevent the patio door from sliding away from the doggie panel for a tight fit. I had to buy some foam and cut a piece to fill in the space from the doggie panel to the side of the slider since there was gap and I HATE flies sneaking into the house. I NEVER thought I would go to so much trouble for a dog, but our Cavalier King Charles is just one of the family and you do what the family needs, right? It took our little guy, named Buddy (3 years old) 2 and a half days to figure out that it was okay to go out and in without permission. We love the door and THE DOG!

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  2. I've always been obsessed with pets, but not always the care that went into them. (I was young!) My bf and I recently got a storm door with a dog door in it for his mothers dogs. She doesn't want a dog door in her ACTUAL door, which is usually open all summer long. We got a storm door with a dog door already in it, but it was too small for her obese, untrained and unexercised dog. We knew it would be too small, but no other storm door would fit a dog door except the one with a dog door already in it. So, we ended up paying well over $300 for her fat dog. He is going to die of a heart attack, I'm sure, but she is just too lazy to exercise herself, much less her dog... Sorry for the long comment!

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  3. I've been a pet person my entire life...dogs, cats, fish, birds, frogs, lizards, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, goats, and even geese at one point when I was little. I love my dogs but have never done a doggy door but then again, my favorite dog was 150 lbs so a regular door WAS a doggy door! My current dogs (the giant 150-pounder died of cancer) are 100 and 40 lbs so again, it's just up to me. However, after having a tiny chihuahua, I know bigger dogs can hold themselves a lot longer. Zaylee has to be one of the cutest pups, enjoy her and good luck with the potty training!

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  4. I never thought I would be a pet person (though as a kid I did always want a cat) and now that we got two I completely love them! There was a lot of effort in raising them since we rescued them at 2 weeks old but I think it made me love them more. We keep their litter box in the basement and the door frequently sticks so they can't paw it open, it's annoying to open it for them. We are considering an opening in the door for them to get down there on their own without leaving the door slightly ajar.

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  5. My daughter had asked for a dog forever and for her 16th birthday she did not want a car she wanted a puppy. My husband was so against this but because she was making amazing grades at school I relented. We had Bailey. A little yorkie. We had a small room off the kitchen where Bailey was to stay. He was not allowed in the main part of the house. This did not last long. Our daughter went off to college and we now were taking care of Bailey. My sweet husband took him on his morning and evening walks and he slept in our bed with us. Over the years we had installed a doggie door, put a ramp in the pool because one day he did fall into the pool and struggled to get out, bought a special car seat for him so he could enjoy car rides. My daughter has been able to have Bailey with her since her junior year in college. They live in another state but fly home several times a year together. Once I flew to Pittsburgh to look after Bailey because my daughter had to go out of town for a week. I think Bailey has become our second child!

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  6. That is a great idea! We have dogs (okay, a lot of dogs) and a doggy door would be awesome, except both of our doors to the backyard are glass. I know it's backwards thinking, but being as we're dog-people, we're saving for a new door that we can put a doggy door in the bottom half. Thanks for sharing, and we're definitely going to get the insulated version, too, we're in the South and our summers are unbearable.

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  7. I can completely understand your turning into "completely-obsessed-with-their-pet" people when your pet is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel!! I have three, and they are the sweetest, friendliest and most loving dogs I've encountered. My bet is that you'll end up with more than one -- we Cavalier owners usually do!

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  8. I love that you used the word pinnable! My husband is convinced Pinterest is from the Devil since his honey do list keeps growing :-)

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  9. nice work! it actually looks beautiful and I'm sure over time Zaylee will enjoy the idea of being able to go out at will.

    super extra awesome bonus: I got to see a corner of your lovely kitchen that I don't believe I've seen yet :-) and it's beautiful! can I get a heck yes on those planked walls? delish.

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  10. I love doggie and kitty doors. Only had one dog that refused to go through it. But he was a rather strange and very fearful dog. He would sit out in pouring rain before he set foot through the door. Your dog is young and he will learn.

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  11. Awesome post Cason! We have an old doggie door that my dog doesn't use, but the kids do in our garage. I had no idea that they had an extreme weather version. I might have to replace ours with one instead of replacing the whole door ;-D.

    I've been a dog person all my life, so I am not surprised how quickly a new dog can change your lives. Love me some wet noses and warm furry wiggles.

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  12. Looks great... seriously, I wouldn't have noticed it. :) She's such a cute pup. I have a cat...so I don't have to worry about a kitty-door!! ;)

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  13. I think that is so sweet that you adapted your home for your pooch, nicely done!
    Kate

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  14. I had a dog door in my Iowa house on the landing to the basement; but here I have a storm door which protects my 80 year old wood kitchen door. I assume you don't have a storm door, right? Or did you used to have one and got rid of it to install this door?

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  15. We have this same doggie door! It is worth its weight in gold! (and then some because it doesn't really weigh that much...)

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  16. You can use contact paper on both sides to change out neat designs on your doggy door flap. It keeps the plastic clean and from getting scratched up.

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  17. We're in the same boat, except we have a larger dog. Ours is a 9 month old Aussie that still has 3 months of growing to do. Big dog. He rings the bell consistently when he needs to go out. But we also live in Vegas, and we have TONS of desert lizards hanging around which he loves to chase. So the bell can be an annoyance. Trying to decide if the sliding glass doggy door is something I want to invest in.

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  18. My husband and I are both confirmed dog people, NOT of the feline folk at all. We have four furbabies that are our children. They pretty much dictate our lives and we wouldn't have it any other way. They dictate décor choices, such as a leather sofa for ease of cleaning, baskets and bins for leads, collars and other supplies, dog beds, crates and many, many other things. I hope your pet brings your family as much joy as ours bring us!

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  19. We put a dog door in. Our back door is a huge sliding glass door so that wasn't an option for us. Watching a big, giant (our door is an XL) gaping hole go into your wall almost gave me a panic attack. BUT I love not having to get up every half our and let my dogs out. It's been awesome!

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  20. Good to "see" you, Cason! My husband will claim that I'm more of a dog person than he is, however what was "mine" when we rescued our girl soon became "ours" and every time I catch him playing with her or spoiling her, I can't help but smile. Pets definitely quickly capture your heart and become a part of the family. The door looks great!

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  21. Zaylee is so adorable. I wish we could put in a pet door on our glass sliding door, but me thinks it's probably not going to work.

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  22. We too once lived by the bell. Became the MOST annoying sound (almost ruined Christmas for me, lol). Taz also became 'aware' that bell ringing could bring him attention.

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  23. I would love to have a doggy door for our little Boogie Baby.
    BUT.. I live in Alabama. There are lots of critters around here that are unwanted in our house.
    I imagine Boogie going out for a tinkle and inviting all the scallawags back to her crib.

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  24. The way our back door is situated with our fence we couldn't put our EXTRA LARGE (We have a GIANT Lab, 105 pounds, and skinny. He is just so tall!) doggy door in the actual door. We ended up getting one that went straight through the wall. The things we do for our pets!

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  25. "Hey Cason,
    You have done an amazing job I really appreciate it. It sounds great and I like it and definitely try this for my home. Thanks "

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  26. we installed (my husband) installed a doggie door in our 1970's version sliding glass door & its been the most amazing, can't live without it, addition to our home! ( I will admit, it shrunk the opening to the door so moving chairs out to the deck or carrying in laundry baskets heaping w/laundry is now tricky & I dread the day we have to replace an appliance, but I still wouldn't do without it!) similar to this http://store.petsafe.net/freedom-patio-panel-96

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  27. We have a one year old Golden Retriever who we taught to ring a bell on the door into the garage (it hangs on the bottom of a basket from the door handle) since we don't let her go through the slider (that way she and the previous dog never learned to scratch the glass door). Glad you could go with the doggy door, but we don't have a wood door to the outside and we would need one big enough that a person could go through it anyways.

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