There was a neighborhood around the corner from us where thefts where happening. The doors and windows were locked, but appliances were disappearing while the homeowners were at work.
These resourceful thieves would remove the siding of the house, cut into the wall, remove the appliances and then replace the siding. From the outside of the house, you couldn’t tell a robbery had just occurred, and any onlooking neighbors would have assumed they were hired as repairmen.
This incident has always made me hyper-aware of security issues. Proactively cutting a hole in my door has never seemed like a very attractive idea to me.
Most doggy doors let in cold air, bugs, and allow your dog to run back and forth as they please.
It is a frustrating situation.
Electric Doors Make Everything Easier
That is one reason why I was so intrigued when I learned that electronic doggy doors were being developed. For the first time, the dog owner could enjoy the freedom that comes from a pet door with the peace of mind that their TV won’t as likely be stolen while they are at work.
There are several options on the market, and they share many of the same characteristics. If you want, I have some doggy door comparisons over on my blog (http://www.dogsbynina.com/ )that you can use to get a better idea of their individual differences.
The first thing I like about these doors is how rigidly they are constructed. The doors seal fairly tightly to prevent a constant draft. You might still notice it on an excessively cold day, but at least it is more draft resistant than earlier models.
Most of these work on a programmed timer. This gives your pet set windows when they can go in and out. You can even set it only to allow your pet to go one way.
For example, you can let your pet out before you head to work and then set the door to only allow them to come inside. Now, they have the freedom to keep playing, and when they get bored they can go inside, and the door contains them in the house.
You can also attach the “Passport Key” to your pet’s collar and set the door only to unlock when they are trying to access it.
These added settings give the homeowner a level of control that regular doggy doors can’t easily match
The downside is that these doors aren’t fool-proof. The determined thief could devise a battering ram and knock out the door.
As durable as they look, they are only rated for up to 100 pounds of pressure. Most humans could devise a way to overcome that.
Secondly, adding a doggy door always leads to unintended risks for other small animals and children. The pet mouse gets out? Now you have to worry about him going outside. Have kids in the house? It may take some training to convinced them not to use the dog’s door.
Granted, the Passport Key design makes it harder for them to access the door. But the risk is still there and should not be under-estimated.
Perfect For Multiple-Dog Households
One dog is the inside dog. He’s cute, fluffy and goes to the groomer every month.
The other one has been around since he wandered in as a stray pup and we gave him some food out of pity. He chases the coyotes away from our chickens in exchange for regular feedings and ear scratches, so it is a pretty good arrangement.
But he needs to stay outside most of the time because he smells like the cattle barn.
The beautiful thing about these new systems is that you can attach the Passport Key to the collar of the per who will be using the door. The door is left in the locked position, except when it senses the key.
This helps provide that level of access control that allows you to give one dog greater access to the out of doors without jeopardizing your living room rug.
(Granted, you might find him trying to bribe the other pup for his collar…)
A Happy Medium
By no means are these doors perfect? Perhaps one day they will make one out of steel with a 500-pound locking hinge. But that door would probably be too heavy for the pup to use and too expensive for dog owners to purchase.
Outside of this fantasy door, we are left to choose from electronic doors. They aren’t perfect, but they do help fill the gap between what is ideal and what will get the job done.
And your pet will love the added freedom it gives them.