Maggie Masters the Dog Door

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We’ve written a couple of posts about our Maggie, our fearful girl and how she has really started to come out of her shell, let down her guard and be a dog. A recent post called Maggie Magellan described how she’s getting braver about exploring new things and going off on her own without me or her big brother Jack to keep her safe.
We measure her progress in different ways:

  1. How often she gets spooked by something.
  2. How quickly she recovers from being spooked.
  3. How often she tries something brand new.

Maggie’s latest adventure involved some yard work. We had a massive clean-up done on our yard a few weeks ago and ordered one of those big waste bins for all the yard waste. The night before they started, we went out for our nightly walk around the yard after dinner – Jack usually walks up to the end of the driveway with me and Maggie usually flops on the grass outside the door. Jack and I do our thing and come back to a missing Maggie – she’s no where to be found. I call her, nothing. I look in the avocado grove just in case, nothing…then I check the bin and there she is, INSIDE the bin checking out all the leftover smells and crap stuck to the walls and floor. She hopped up and went in there all by herself. I was pretty amazed.

Jack & Maggie checking out the yard waste bin.

Jack & Maggie checking out the yard waste bin.

Her biggest accomplishment lately has been her accepting, no embracing of the dog door. She has lived with us for over two years now and we were never able to get her to use it until about 2 months ago. Then, out-of-the-blue, she discovered it would let her into the backyard without waiting for me to open the screen door on the deck. Heaven – since she loves her backyard.

Maggie waiting to be let in.

Maggie waiting to be let in.

She has totally mastered the getting OUT aspect of the door, but she hasn’t fully grokked the getting BACK IN aspect. Sometimes she does and sometimes I look out on the deck and I see this looking back.
I don’t mind – she’s learning and she’s doing it on her own. We’re so proud of all the accomplishments she has made. I guess I should make this a SlimDoggy Mythbuster post – You can teach an old dog new tricks.



We are joining the Thursday Barks and Bytes Blog Hop Co-hosted by our friends at 2Brown Dogs and Heart Like a Dog. Grab the badge and join the fun!



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  1. Yay Maggie! What a big brave girl you’re getting to be! We share in your excitement at the puppy steps she is making to braving her world.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…“We Need to Talk”My Profile

  2. That is so wonderful that she is happy and learning so much. It must make you feel so good to watch!

  3. Way to go Maggie! Sounds just like me when I was trying to master the deck stairs. I wanted to get in the backyard bad too but it seemed so high. I can fly down them now. 🙂 Keep up the great progress! Love, Lucky

  4. BOL at Maggie’s face as she waits to be let in. She’s really come a long way!
    Sue recently posted…October For Love of a Dog Jewelry #Giveaway Personalized #RainbowBridge BraceletMy Profile

  5. That dumpster looks like it’s full of fun smells for the pups. Glad to hear Maggie’s making progress – but I love her patience, she knows that door will open eventually!

  6. THAT is so awesome. And it shows you are doing all the right things, helping her to adjust and learning to trust. Kudos to you and Steve (and Jack of course.)

    What I’ve learned from having a rescued dog is they will accomplish things on their own time. Delilah has come so far in so many ways, (in fact, I think you’ve given me an idea for a blog post). But she has done it in her own time. I do still feel that there are some things that she will never stop doing, like her obsession with food. But that is something I accept about her.

    Thank you for adding this gem to the blog hop!
    Jodi recently posted…Mr. Grouchy Pants-Barks and BytesMy Profile

    • Glad to provide inspiration 🙂
      You’re right, though we have to accept them where they are at and go from there.
      mkob recently posted…Maggie Masters the Dog DoorMy Profile

  7. Way to go, Maggie!

    Interesting that the stinky dumpster drew her out of her shell. I’ve found that nosework makes Honey much braver. Triggering her sniffer turns off the fear circuits in her brain.

    If I click and treat to teach her how to work with a new object, the process is much slower than if I simply lay down some stinky treats and tell her “find it.” Maybe you can take advantage of Maggie’s curious nose to make coming back in the doggy door less scary.
    Pamela recently posted…Why Adopting A Reactive Dog Was The Best Thing I Ever DidMy Profile

    • She loves using her nose and I do use that to our advantage. The flap on the door kind of freaks her out – not sure why, but everyday she uses it more and more.
      mkob recently posted…Maggie Masters the Dog DoorMy Profile

  8. I’ll just bet that if you put a pile of Beef Liver Taffies from Jones on the inside of that dog door – and locked Jack away for a bit – that Maggie would come in of her own accord.
    Flea recently posted…I Was Afraid of Ebola?My Profile

  9. Great job, Maggie! Love hearing about your progress!!
    Miley’s Daily Scoop recently posted…How to Freshen Your Dog’s Bad Breath Without a ToothbrushMy Profile

  10. you are such a smart girl Maggie! Send you a big kiss, clever girl!
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog MISCHIEF MOANDAYMy Profile

  11. Go, Maggie!! I’m sure she’ll be coming in that door one of these days. Our Sheba is our most timid one….we had given up on getting her to use the stairs up to the bed. Then all of the sudden, one day, boom…there she was going up the stairs!
    We have screen doors on the porch that the dogs can push open. Kobi and Cricket mastered it in no time, and Cricket taught Luke as well. Sheba is the only holdout but I have a feeling one day next Spring she’ll probably all of the sudden start using it!
    I guess sometimes if we just let them do things on their own terms, they’ll do it when they’re ready!
    Jan K recently posted…I Went to College!!My Profile

  12. That is exciting! Slow progress is sometimes the most rewarding.
    Beth recently posted…Happy Tails: Kosmo and a Giveaway!My Profile

  13. What a brave girl Maggie is becoming! I can’t believe the dumpster, that’s pretty scary, especially not knowing where she was! I am teaching our new cat Rhette how to use the dog/cat door, he likes to get mom to push open the flap. Love Dolly
    Dolly the Doxie recently posted…Halloween Gone to the Dogs — Not At Our HouseMy Profile

    • We tried that for awhile, holding the flap for her, but if I didn’t she’d just stand there.
      mkob recently posted…Maggie Masters the Dog DoorMy Profile

  14. Good job Maggie. I bet there was a lot to smell in the bin and I bet she was happy because she got to smell it before Jack!

    Thanks for joining the hop!
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bytes–Fruitables Pumpkin Mango Skinny Minis ReviewMy Profile

  15. It is truly wonderful to learn about Maggie’s progress. I love hearing how dogs can pull through fearfulness. I work on that issue with my Lexus every day as well. She has came a long way from when she was a tiny fearful pup from a horrid backyard breeder!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Siberian Husky meets Bob MarleyMy Profile

  16. Good job, Maggie. It is the little victories.
    Rebekah recently posted…Dog Tested, Dog ApprovedMy Profile

  17. Way to go Maggie, all her accomplishments must just make you smile. She is having a great life learning and doing things at your house.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Wordless Wednesday~My New Fur FriendMy Profile

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