Although getting a dog door installed may not have been an option from our home builder, this was yet another DIY project
we hubby took on after moving in.
Do the dogs really need their own door?
The dachshunds are very much “inside” dogs, but they are also like small children that can’t decide whether they want to be inside or outside. Do kids still do that these days? Or do they just want to be inside with their face glued to a computer or iPhone? I digress. We get up to let them out, they go out, look at us puzzled, and come right back in. One minute later, we’re repeating this same game. It gets old.
Hubby and I both work downtown with a countless number of amazing restaurants to check out, so we also liked the option of being able to stay out after work to enjoy happy hour or dinner without having to rush home to let the pups out.
Selecting a dog door
From my limited experience with dog doors in both hot and cold climates, my biggest annoyance is the cold air that comes in through them, despite the manufacturer’s claims of the opposite. I’ve had dog doors with the double flaps that still leak air!
Luckily, hubby did lots of research and found a dog door company called Plexidor* that makes their dog door flaps out of a thick, durable, stiff plastic. Unlike the typical flexible, rubbery dog door flaps, these would likely not warp and cause breaks in the seal. The obvious drawback is that these dog doors are quite pricey, with the medium-sized wall-mount one we purchased costing us approximately $480, but we were fairly certain this would be a worthy purchase! And it was!
Installing a wall-mount dog door
I’m not going to lie, I have never been so nervous about a home project as I was when hubby literally cut a giant rectangular hole right in the side of our house to install a dog door! I REALLY wanted to hire a professional, but hubby, being both male and an engineer, was not willing to let another man do the job. Lucky for us both, my talented hubby successfully pulled it off.
I won’t go into the specifics of the dog door install, as there are already several lengthy, helpful videos on YouTube by the company itself, but I will just say that this project can be done and doesn’t even need to be done by an engineer. Anyone with the appropriate tools and knowledge of how to use those tools safely could do it!
Some things we had to take into consideration when installing the dog door were
- Placing it between studs – Since we were able to see the “guts” of our home while it was being built, we knew where the studs were. We used a stud finder to determine exactly which areas to avoid.
- Avoiding electrical – Again, since we saw the guts of our home, we knew there were no electrical wires that were crossing through the area we intended to cut. If there were electrical wires, it would have been slightly more work to splice these wires and redirect them above the dog door.
- Accommodating for the height difference between the inside and outside of our house – Our home sits high off the ground, which means that there was about a foot drop off for the dogs when exiting the door to the outside. We made up this height difference for our shorty dachshunds by DIYing a set of steps outside with a bunch of bricks. Easy peasy fix!
Teaching the dogs to use the dog door
Bigger than the challenge of installing the dog door was getting the dachshunds to use it! The dachs had learned to use a typical flap dog door a long time ago, but that skill did not translate to using this “saloon” style dog door with double flaps that opened sideways. It took longer than I would like to admit as a proud dog mom, but several treats later, the dachs finally got the hang of it! We have also successfully taught dogs that we have pet sat how to use it in less than a day!
Do we love the dog door?
Yes!* We have been through all kinds of weather in our neighborhood, including crazy wind, rain, and snow and this dog door keeps all of that outside! We have used the dog door for over a year now and it has stood the test of time with durability. We couldn’t be happier with our purchase and the dachs certainly love their new freedom.
*We were not paid to endorse or advertise Plexidor dog doors. This is just our personal experience with the product.