I Swore I’d Never Do This…

You know how there are those things in your house that are in no way pretty or fun to look at, but they’re functional and kind of necessary so you deal with them? You know – things like toilets, trash cans, and televisions. Well, this is one of those things. I swore up and down for years that I’d never have one of these in my house. But I caved…

Yup, we got a doggy door.

If you’ll remember, our back door used to look like this after we replaced our original door (which is the one that’s BACK on now) with a door Corey’s parents gave us.

I loved all of the natural light, and it looked fabulous, but there was a small issue…

Our dogs had completely and totally destroyed the outside of it with their scratching. Honestly, it was my fault because I rushed through the job originally and didn’t prepare the door properly, but in the end I just couldn’t handle the scratches. I’d been dying to either fix the door or go back to the original one…and then we got Hadley.

You see, this dog loves to be outside. She’s obsessed – which is weird for us, because neither of our other dogs are huge on hanging out in the backyard (especially Cullen, who would never go outside if he could help it). We weren’t used to getting up and letting the dogs out as often as she was wanting to go outside and, lest you think we’re just lazy, she was so bad that she would frequently ask to go outside less than a minute after coming in.

It was annoying, to say the least.

So, we finally broke down and decided to get a doggy door so that she can go in and out as she pleases. I hated the idea of ugly-ing up our dining room, but in the end, functionality won out.

I’ll admit, I was surprised at how easy it was to install the door – I’d imagined it would be some huge ordeal, but all it took was an afternoon and we had a brand new (or, not at all new, but different-looking) door!

First – we tested out the size of the door to figure out how big of a hole we needed to cut, then Corey traced the door with a pencil and got to cutting.

And soon? There was a giant hole in our door.

Not gonna lie – at this point, I was a little freaked out. There’s something slightly disconcerting about having a hole in the door you’re planning on hanging in the back of your house. But, I powered on and got ready to paint the door. We decided not to paint the outside of the door yet (though I’m sure we will in the future!), and we wanted the inside to be black again, since we loved the look on the other door.

This time, though, I took a few precautions and prepared the door a bit more than I had the last time.

I used liquid deglosser to wipe the door down before I did anything – I didn’t see much of a difference after doing this step, but I’ve heard it’s what you’re supposed to do, so I did it. The idea is that it cleans the door off really well, and it’s supposed to cut down on some of the grime that can build up and help the paint stick better. I also primed it with Zinsser Bull’s Eye primer, which is the only primer I will ever use.

A coat of primer and two coats of paint later, and we were good to go. Corey installed the doggy door (all there was to do was put both pieces in and add some screws – no problem!) and then installed the actual door.

And just like that we had a new(ish) door with a doggy door that would hopefully make our lives a lot easier.

The dogs weren’t so sure about the doggy door at first…

But with a little coaxing and a ton of treats, they got the hang of it!

We’ve had the door in for a few weeks now, and the dogs absolutely love it. Cullen (of course) won’t use it unless forced, but that surprised no one. Hadley and Ranger, though? They use it all the time, and Corey and I no longer have to argue over who has to go let the dogs out.

And, really? In the end, it doesn’t look nearly as ugly as I thought it would.

We still have a little work to do to the door – there’s a weird glass enclosure over the window that has blinds built into it, and I hate the look of it – but I’m pleasantly surprised by how it turned out. And, really, even if it was super ugly, the added functionality is enough to make me completely and totally love it.

Have you ever done something in your home you swore you wouldn’t? Anyone else have a doggy door and love it?




  1. Kate says:

    I actually think it still looks classy! I’m actually thinking we’re going to have to install one of these when we get home – our Boomer is totally used to it at my parent’s house and I can’t imagine her not having access to outside after being used to it for 2 years! Cheers!


  2. coasterkim says:

    I love it and I totally see the convenience of it, but I have a really stupid question. That’s a pretty big door. Aren’t you afraid a person could climb into your house through there??? I would be but maybe I’m the weirdo!


    Amanda Reply:

    Haha, there is a cover for it that we put on at night and anytime we leave the house. So, it’s only open when we’re awake and at home – but technically, yeah, someone could fit in there!


  3. Brooke says:

    Be been trying to convince the hubs to get a doggy door for years! Mine also want in and out all day long. I think the door looks good, it mirrors the bigger window above.


  4. Corinne says:

    I kinda like it! Definitely a good choice since Hadley loves to be outside.

    I don’t personally have a doggie door, but in the summer, I’d love to have one. The only problem is, Chloe MUST be on a lead when she’s outside. She’s small enough that she can fit between the fence posts. The previous owners had a makeshift doggie door that made me want to scream. They cut a square in the screen door and put duct tape around the edges. Talk about ugly!!!! I fixed that the first weekend in the house.


    Amanda Reply:

    Ahh! That sounds awful!


  5. Debbie says:

    I’ve been thinking about installing a small doggy door in the door that goes to my basement, because I keep the cats’ litter box down there and we have to keep the door partly open. So it really wasn’t hard to install? I am a bit worried I will screw it up!


    Amanda Reply:

    It was definitely easy! As long as you have the tools to cut the hole in the door, etc. it’s a no-brainer!


  6. Maddie says:

    I never see a difference with deglosser either, but I use it because people say you should ;-).

    We don’t have a doggy door, but we don’t have a back yard. If we did, I’m sure we’d have to get one. Pancakes loves being outside (even yesterday when it was 0 degrees in our town), so much so that she’ll want to go right back out after she comes it. I feel you on the annoying part!

    My grandma had a doggy door and she always yelled at us, because as little kids we’d always crawl through it. How weird is that? Hahahaha


  7. Corinne says:

    The previous owners included a Mr. Fix-It who didn’t know what the heck he was doing! He couldn’t paint at all, so some areas of my house look like they have mold coming out of the ceiling because he got dark brown paint on the white and didn’t wipe it off. Any kind of plumbing issue was fixed with plumbers’ putty. You name it, he probably did it LOL. The terrible doggie door was the first of MANY things I’ve discovered since moving in!


  8. Katie says:

    I think the fact that you guys took the time to do it right and painted makes the whole thing look polished! It really does not look bad! Sooo nice to not have to let the doggies out, I can’t wait until we own a home and can do the same thing!


  9. Melissa says:

    Dogs have a funny way of making us do things that we say we’d never do. I think it looks great. I wish we had this for Sky. He loved being outside and would wake us up at all hours of the night to let him in and out.


  10. Geek in Heels says:

    It looks great — very classy and not like a typical dog door at all! Question: not sure how the weather is where you live, but would you recommend a dog door for those who live in temperate climates? (For example, it’s been in the 20s here the past few days…I can’t imagine the cold draft a dog door would mean for us!)


    Amanda Reply:

    I think it depends on the size and brand. A smaller door wouldn’t be a problem at all, and some brands have stronger magnets on the flap to prevent draft. The brand we got had several reviews that mentioned a draft, but we haven’t noticed any problems – if there is one, its very minor! I’d suggest looking for one meant for colder climates that seals a bit better. :)


  11. Kristie says:

    That looks great and so convenient. I’d love a doggy door for my dog but first I need a fenced in yard. Since Hadley is still a puppy, will she still fit through there when she’s done growing?


    Amanda Reply:

    She should be almost as tall as she gets – most of her growing from here on out will just be filling in. This is the large size, and the extra-large is meant for dogs like Great Danes and Mastiffs, so I definitely think this will be a good size for her, even when she’s full-grown!


  12. Anne says:

    I have to say, I have always been curious how you install a doggy door into an existing door. Anyhow I’m impressed you put your feelings aside about the doggy door and put your dogs’ love of the outside ahead of your own desires ;). But isn’t that usually how it goes for us pet owners? :)


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