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I have 2 8yo GSDs since puppies. I guess I have always been fortunate because they have always been super easy to train. House breaking was under 2 weeks. Heeling came naturally. Not smelling or taking food off of raised surfaces, no time. All the little things that make living with them like hand command to tell them that it is not time to beg for attention... none of it was hard. Somehow they even know when to head to the garage for a vet visit.

I work from home and normally the dogs are outside during the work day. I am adding on a sunroom which is locked off from the rest of the house that I have decided to give them access to (once finished) via a dog door. They have plenty of shelter outside but I think this will make it nicer for them when the weather is hot, cold, or rainy. They aren't getting any younger.

So, as expected, my male GSD leaned it in one try. 4 days later he figured out he could come and go when the metal flap was removed. I literally knocked on the flap 1 time and the rest was history.

My female on the other hand forgets. She isn't scared. She goes through it when she sees him doing it without any problems. When I give her the voice command to exit she goes and looks at the doorknob. If he pokes his head back through to see what is going on, she leaves through the flap. She is so stuck in an old routine she doesn't even bother to try and problem solve it.

Ideas?
 

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Since she goes through it when she sees your male go through the doggy door/flap, I would assume she knows what its used for. So I would just give her more time to feel comfortable using it as a means to go outside/inside. I'm sure she will figure it out.
 

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I have always had a dog door for almost 10 yrs. I still stand near the door and say go potty or go etc... sometimes I close the dog door and I want them to always have the connection that it is the way outside still.
They have never had any accidents in the house, so I figure it's working. LOL
Try treats for a while too...I think that helps
 

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She will get the hang of it over time! Shepherds are super intelligent!
 

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This is the way I taught my three to go through the door.

I put them on one side of the door, went through to the other side, and closed the door. With lots of yummy treats in my hands, I called to them in a happy voice. To encourage them if they didn't come through right away, I pushed at the flap so they could see it opening and closing.

They figured it out pretty quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Since she goes through it when she sees your male go through the doggy door/flap, I would assume she knows what its used for. So I would just give her more time to feel comfortable using it as a means to go outside/inside. I'm sure she will figure it out.

Her body language after receiving the command makes me think otherwise. She does that little excitable body motion where she shifts her weight back and forth on her front legs, like "Ok, I understand, here I go" but then she is looking at the door as if it were the old storm door where they could push the latch in to let themselves out. The doorknob confuses her. She doesn't even look at the flap in fact her body is in front of the flap with her looking up at the knob.

I swear it is like she forgets and has forgotten every single day for 2 weeks. It has me a little worried that something more might be wrong but I do not see any other strange behavior. I know it seems like I haven't been patient enough but that is not really it, this is highly uncharacteristic. These dogs LOVE to show off how smart they are. After my male figured out that he could come and go as long as the slide was up he got so much praise you would have thought he won the lottery. Now he comes and goes about every 5 minutes to show off.

Oh, I have been giving them treats for good entrances and exits.

I saw some stuff online that suggested taping a portion of the flap up so she can see daylight. I guess I will try that. I never thought I would see the day where I had to spoon feed her training. I could probably teach her how to turn the doorknob faster.
 

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It could be that she doesn't think she can fit through the opening. Even though she may have gone through a few times, she may question her ability to actually fit.

I had a horse for 16 years. We had many vet visits. He was a big boy (16.2) and he NEVER remembered that he could fit into the vet's stock. You could see he understood to move forward but he would squish his body all together and actually squat when he finally went in. It was very weird to watch.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The problem is she never even looks at the flap as an option. The last 3 days she has gone out with him so she follows him straight out. I am curious to see what happens the next time she is in alone.
 
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