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Advice on Dog Doors...

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Savannah Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
Barked: Tue May 1, '12 8:33am PST 
I want to get one. I was going to get a storm door with the dog door already installed, but since we live in a pre-building standards house, the back door is an unusual size and I would have to have a custom made storm door. The storm door that is currently there was apparently custom made. I am now thinking of buying a dog door and having it installed in the current door which is about 3/4 of an inch thick and made out of some kind of medal over a core...which feels light, not real solid or massy. Maybe insulation or foam?

So first...please recommend a dog door and second...has anyone ever done this and could advise me?
Ch. Jones NY

Design Jewelry,- not dogs!!
Barked: Tue May 1, '12 5:14pm PST 
Savvy, I put a dog door in one of those metal storm doors. I actually mounted it on a piece of plywood that was about 10 inches longer and 10 inches wider than the door, then cut the hole for the size of the dog door. My reasoning was that the plywood would make a stronger "frame" for the door, BUT also that since those doggy doors DO NEED replacing fairly often and I usually can't ever find the same brand/exact size, I could have some breathing room if my hole was too big for the next door. I painted the plywood the same color as the storm door.
That said, make sure you really WANT the dog door... I found my dogs were constantly racing outside and barking... not cool, especially in the evenings when people are outside enjoying the QUIET evening air. Worse yet, they dragged everything they could, including frogs and toads and snakes, inside the house, and since they had the WHOLE house, it wasn't cool. Especially the night I found a LIVE SNAKE warming itself in my waterbed!!!!
I ended up scraping that door entirely and went back to manually letting them in and out.
I DID put a doggy door off a puppy pen in my "dog room". It goes thru the wall, again I used the plywood frame, and I LOVE that one. It also has it's own pen outside, and that pen is covered so I don't have raccoons, stray cats, snakes and all of that coming in with the dogs. An occasional frog but they are confined to the inside pen!!!
I put only those dogs that DON'T sit outside and bark in that pen. They can go out whenever, but all the stuff they bring back inside is at least contained in that one pen. I have a bunch of heavy stuffed beds in the pen. Right now Jones and Hilda are in there and they can be out day and night because they NEVER bark. It IS too cold in the Winter, but is great the other three seasons.
Originally it was for puppies and worked great for them, too. They all housebroke themselves, which was nice!! When I had the puppies (poodles) in there I also mounted another doggy door on the outside wall since it was an old house and an 8 inch thick wall. That worked great and was warm enough in the Winter for daytime use.

Barked: Tue May 1, '12 8:43pm PST 
I love dog doors. I won't ever own a house that doesn't have one, if I've got a fenced yard.
We currently have two. The first one is the type with two flaps that magnet closed to keep the temperature correct in the house. That leads into the garage, which has a regular single flap door. Both have panels that can slide in and lock closed if needed.

I don't know of any brands, but try to get a solid one made with a metal frame with an actual locking panel, not a plastic framed one. The plastic framed doors tend to not last as long. Our old house had a super-duty dog door that was bomb proof. Metal frame, thick flaps, magnets to keep the flaps closed, and two locking slide-in panels. The current one is plastic and somewhat cheap, but works good enough.

Savannah Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
Barked: Wed May 2, '12 7:48am PST 
I'm now thinking about having it installed, since my carpentry skills are non existent. Thing is, I don't have a wall space adjacent to the area that is fenced that doesn't have a piece of furniture blocking it, so first I have to rearrange the furniture.

I do want one...I have been leaving the storm door open so they can run in and out, but it will soon be buggy and we get pretty outrageous mosquitoes...don't want that inside.

Right now the worst thing they have brought in is seed pods from the sweetgum trees. The doggy door will open onto a tiled area. The rest of the house has to be accessed through a gated doorway. I plan to close the interior door at night, so no going out and barking all night long. In the daytime most of the neighborhood is at work, so they can go in and out as they want...Plus, Grandma is always home and can make them stay in if they are too noisy or rambunctious.

Still thinking this through, so appreciate all input.
Hucky and- Ringo

Barked: Wed May 2, '12 9:51am PST 
Savvy, doggy doors way to go. I have 1 that goes from my kitchen to the mud room and then 1 from the mud room to the section of the yard with a 6' stockade fence for the dogs during the day. I love the fact that if they want in, they stay in, if it's a nice day and they want out, they can go out.If we go out, I don't have to rush home to let them out and I don't have to get up early on my days off to let them out. I live in the country and I have never had any unexpected critters using the doors. Although you can lock them if you want, I haven't locked mine in 9 yrs. The bigger the door the more expensive so we made ours ourselves. Not very hard to do.

Edited by author Wed May 2, '12 9:55am PST

Savannah Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
Barked: Wed May 2, '12 11:07am PST 
got any how to's on that, Hucky?

I was going to get a small one...the little girls are the ones who need to run in and out in a hurry. But if I have to get a hole cut in the wall, I'll get a Savannah sized one. (Or a garage door?)
Hucky and- Ringo

Barked: Wed May 2, '12 12:41pm PST 
Well Savvy, if you buy one and install it yourself, all you really have to do is cut a hole in your wall or door to the size it tells you in the directions. If you cut through the wall, you'll have to frame out the inside of the hole in order to install the door. Just like installing sliding glass doors.

If you make your own like we did, we cut a hole in the wall to the size we wanted, framed it out then made a door out of 1/4 plywood, hinged it and screwed it in.You could also line the opening with weather stripping. To be able to close it or lock it, we cut 2x4's the height of the door and grooved it out so that we could slide a thicker peice of wood down the grooves.

If you're going to cut through a wall, make sure you are clearing any wires.

My house came with a store bought doggy door but that didn't last long when we got Huck. We were outside in the yard and the doggy door was locked. Well Huck decided he wanted to go inside so he rammed into the doggy door and broke the whole thing. That's why we ended up making our own.

Edited by author Wed May 2, '12 12:43pm PST