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Building A Step For A Dog Door

Building a pet door step

Pet Door Step Project:

I decided to install a dog door in my home for my two dogs.   The idea was purely selfish as my family and I were getting tired of getting up from the couch to let the dogs in and out.  Its rough enough with one dog but obviously doubles with two.

The best installation location for this new dog door was plagued with a height issue from step one. [No pun intended] On the interior side there was a baseboard radiator and on the outside the porch deck was 7 inches lower than the interior floor.

My height issue was that the lowest spot that this door could be  installed was still 16″ inches above the outside porch deck.  At that height I mine as well have installed a Giraffe door because it was way too high for my dogs to use.

Solving the Height Issue:

I almost scrapped the idea until I realized that building a step for a dog door was the solution.  By placing this dog step on the exterior side I would be able to reduce the distance in half, matching the interior house height.

Having a step cut the height in half and made the transition through the door much more comfortable for the dog.

Measuring For The Step:

I watched closely and measure my dogs steps and determined that 24 to 28 inches would be plenty for them to exit the pet door, land on the step and then take an additional step prior to them needing to step off the landing. I actually laid tape measure on the floor and watched the dogs walk by it.  for my dogs it seemed that 24 inches was perfect.

I decided to make my step or stoop 24 x 24 inches square.

Building A Dog Door Step Video:

Building the Step:

I used 2×8 framing material to build my step frame.

By using 2×8 framing stock [actual measurement is 7-1/4 inch]  and 3/4 inch mahogany decking I was able to build a step at 8 inches which was exactly half the height from the porch deck to the bottom of the pet door.

The best part was I did not need to rip material on a table saw.

Note – If your door step is going to be exposed to rain and snow use pressure treated framing material.  My step is on a covered porch, I chose to use standard framing.

Using my 24″ square measurement I determined that if I wanted to have 3/4 PVC trim applied as well as a 3/4 inch overhang on my Mahogany decking that I was going to have to deduct 3-inches on the framing.  24 minus 3 equals 21 inches.

I cut the following pieces in order to make a 24-inch square frame:

I cut these parts and screwed them together with three 2-1/2 inch decking screws.

Once the frame was complete I picked up some scrap 1×4 mahogany and some left over pieces or 1×8 PVC and moved onto the next step.  [again no pun intended]

Trimming the Step:

This particular dog step is going to sit on a decorative porch with nice columns, trim and Mahogany decking.  The only way my wife was going to allow the step and dog door to go in was if it looked similar to and matched the existing porch.

That meant that the step had to be a mini-porch in looks.

I used 1×8 PVc trim to apply to the step frame sides and did this prior to installing the decking.

I used my Dremel Saw-Max with a carbide disk which I received from Home Depot to review.   The Dremel  is  powerful enough to cut through my PVc trim and Mahogany decking and is super easy to control.  It allows me to follow a cut line easily, with one hand and is compact and efficient on small DIY projects like this.

If your a DIY-er this is a safe alternative to using a circular saw or miter saw.  Here’s my reasons why:

Ok back to the project!

Applying the PVC Trim:

Installing the Mahogany Decking:

Finishing the Door Step:

Training the dogs To Use the Dog Step and Door:

The one rule when training is never to shove your pets through the door and avoid scolding them if they are nervous.

Open the flap and let them see the outside and use food treats to coax them to go through it while open. After a few repetitions hold the door open less and less until the animal gets comfortable touching and pushing on the flap.  I used treats to lure them outside, then I’d go inside and repeat the process.

After doing this a few times they get the hang of it.  Project completed!




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