Quality Dog Door

Anybody ever built a _nice_ dog door? The commercially available ones don't meet the grade. Tips or ideas requested.
Requirements: Through-the-wall in wood stud construction - not through an existing door. Seals the weather out Opens both ways. The hanging arrangement with the pivots on center of the sides near the top is okay. Opening, 26 x 11 inches, to accommodate a large dog. But I want a puppy to be able to open it. I'm thinking the material should be wood, but I'm open to aluminum and glass. Must look good.
I'm considering a dog house on the outside to function as a foyer, but for the moment, consider that a separate project.
--
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* Nehmo Sergheyev *
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The best one I have seen operates like a simple passthru. It has heavy plastic sheeting (like they use in forklift doors) in two layers, separated by about 4". I think it would work just as well with canvas or other heavy fabric. Best thing is you can match the size nicely with the dog.
This one had a door on the inside to make it secure when needed. The owner says the dogs took one or two "hits" in learning not to charge thru without a nose poke to see if the inside door was shut.... :)
Matthew

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I'd take a hint from magnetic cat doors. The good ones swing both ways, have a magnet that centers the door flap down, and has felt weather stripping to keep out bugs and wind. The also have a sliding switch that enables you to lock the door, or only let it open in one direction or the other.
Of course the cat doors are plastic, and meant for a cutout in an existing door, but if you could apply the principles to a nice wooden dog door meant for through the wall installation, you might have something highly marketable.
Examples: http://www.petsmart.com/global/product_detail.jsp?cm_ven=ink&cm_ite=sku&cm_pla=unknown&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id%34374302023690&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id%34374302033663&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id 5524441775519&bmUID06519521784 http://www.fancypaws.com/camacatdo.html http://www.smarthome.com/6195.html
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That design isn't just for cats. I have one like that sized (and sold) for dogs. My cats appreciate the space.

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Nehmo Sergheyev wrote:

i have found these to be the best so far. i have been thru several cheap ones. these have have felt and aluminum
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Nehmo Sergheyev wrote:

Sounds big enough for a burglar (assuming you take your dog on vacation with you!). Don't neglect some method to well-secure the door.
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He can always leave the pet alligator at home.

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- JerryMouse -

- Nehmo Most burglars around are black, and they're afraid of dogs. Just seeing a dog door may be enough to deter them, and crawling through one into unknown dog-protected territory would take a determined burglar indeed.
But that's one of the advantages of a dog house on the outside of a dog door. The dogdoor wouldn't be visible from the outside and the extra step necessary for entry, crawling into the dog house, would make the burglary more of a challenge.
On this particular planned dogdoor, it would be open all the time. However, a latch or locking mechanism would be worth having because you never know. The house's occupants may want to leave someday with all the dogs, as you said, perhaps on vacation.
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* Nehmo Sergheyev *
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'Most burglars around are black, and they're afraid of dogs.' Oh My. You better hope Effi never reads this.
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Most burglars around are black, and they're afraid of dogs.
Cite, please.
--
Lyle B. Harwood, President
Phoenix Homes, Inc.
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Sorry, it doesn't meet all your requirements, but I have had this one for about 4 years, lab flies throught in and out and it is never failed.
http://gundoghousedoor.com/gun_dog_house_door.htm
built by a guy who runs a kennel as I remember, because he had your same problem.
Good luck, Mike C.
Nehmo Sergheyev wrote:

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Dumb question, but I'm curious..
What happens with these doors when the dog goes out halfway and then decided to back up? Wouldn't a solid panel door snag and injure the dog?

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- Noozer -

- Nehmo A valid issue. There are lots of accidents with *humans* using regular side-hinged doors. The possibility of an accident with a dog using a top-hinged door shouldn't be discounted. Just like people, dogs get old and frail. Every dog isn't robust and young, and the one-way crawl-through design may not be appropriate for an almost-crippled fifteen-year-old.
Most of the commercial doors have a one-way (work only for dog movement in one direction) top-hinge design. To make the doors two-way, the doors have another door within a larger door. In one example, the aluminum frame hinges in one direction, and the inside-the-frame Plexiglas flap hinges in the opposite direction.
Most of these commercially available doors also don't accommodate the entire dog body they are crawl-through, having the threshold a few inches above floor level.
If the door threshold were closer to floor level and if the door opening were high enough to accommodate the height of the dog, say, up the height of the dog's back, the backing-out snagging [1] could be minimized.
Nonetheless, even with improvements, the top-hinge door-within-a-door doesn't seem like the best. I'm considering a double door (two doors hinged on the sides that meet in the center) with the pivots of the hinges on the tops and bottoms.
And I prefer tempered glass to Plexiglas if a transparent section is incorporated. Plexiglas scratches too easily.
[1] I imagine, most dogs, once snagged form trying to back out, would realize going forward would solve the problem.
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* Nehmo Sergheyev *
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The first thing that comes to mind is the Gary Larson "Far Side" cartoon that is on the November 2005 calendar that has popped up all over my office...
"Here Fifi..."
:-)
    Bob Kaplow    NAR # 18L    TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"         >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! <<<Kaplow Klips & Baffle:    http://nira-rocketry.org/LeadingEdge/Phantom4000.pdf www.encompasserve.org/~kaplow_r/ www.nira-rocketry.org www.nar.org
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If I was a dog, this is the door I would want: http://www.solopetdoors.com /
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Also, seems to meet all your requirements. A bit pricey maybe, but you get what ya pay for.
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Here's an idea. Measure your door. As you go to yard sales, buy a door that matches that size. Cut out a dog door on that one, and swap it out with your nice door --but on a seasonal basis. If you are not satisfied with your handiwork on the one (spare) door, keep buying cheap replacements at sales. Keep honing your skills till you get something you like. When Winter comes, swap back to your nice door.
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