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pet product innovation

September 9, 2012

PetSafe® Expert

PetSafe® Guest

Q&A with Pet Doors

If you're a frequent visitor of this blog, you know we share a lot of our pet ownership stories, animal welfare support, creative training advice, customer care of our products and so on. However, it isn't often you get to hear from the very busy associates who manage the invention and production of our ideas. So, we asked our Pet Access Category Manager Lori Sharp to tell us a little bit about herself, her group, pet doors and other fun facts. Read on to hear her story.

Q: What is your PetSafe story?

A: While working my way through college at the University of Tennessee, I also worked as a sales manager for a local department store chain. I eventually became an Associate Buyer and then a Buyer for the same chain where I spent the next 13 years developing new products, chasing the most current trends, and wearing a lot of hats. In 2005, I had the opportunity to come to Radio Systems Corporation (maker of the PetSafe brand) as a Marketing Specialist in a new Lifestyles division, where we developed over 32 products in my first year. Immediately, I knew this was going to be challenging, but great!

I have had many opportunities to grow within the company over the last 7 years. I spent four years as a Marketing Specialist for PetSafe®, 2 years as a Brand Manager for Invisible Fence Brand® and now I’ve been the Category Manager for the Pet Access group for almost 2 years. I have loved every experience here and hope to be here for many more years to come. It’s a passion, not a job!

Q: What motivates you to come to work at PetSafe every morning?

A: I love the people who work here. We all live by the values of the company. We are encouraged to try a lot of stuff and keep what works. This encourages us to be innovative and think about our own pets. We actually see ourselves as our own customers. Where else can you bring your pets to work with you and take a few minutes to interact with them throughout the day? We are able to experience firsthand how our products are going to work and how they benefit our pets.

Q: Why are you passionate about the Pet Access team?

A: Our team works very closely together on the development of new products. We really put ourselves in the minds of our customers to determine what will be the best benefits to provide for our customers and pets. We spend a lot of time researching and testing our products with actual pet owners. Then, we incorporate feedback to improve the products before they hit the market. We all have pets of our own, and we love that we get to spend our days developing products for them.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about pet doors?

A: Most people think that they have to be a carpenter or professional contractor to install a pet door. If you have a few tools and a little DIY skill then you can easily install a pet door for your pet. For those who may be a little nervous about cutting a hole in your door, we provide installation videos with step-by-step instructions and we also have a great customer care center to help if you have questions.

Some pet parents also worry unwanted animals will gain access to their home through a pet door, but we are luck to live in a time where there is technology to prevent that. We offer an Electronic SmartDoor and Passport Door, which allow you to program a specific pet to the pet door and it will only open for that pet who wears a special SmartKey to open the door. This means no other “intruders” can enter your home.

Q: What advice can you provide when looking for the right pet door?

A: Those considering purchasing a pet door should ask themselves a few questions: 1. Where am I going to install my pet door? Front or back door, in a wall or in an interior location. 2. What type of environment is your pet door going to be facing? Will I need extra protection from the sun, wind or rain that may require an Extreme Weather Pet Door, or a Wall Entry Door, or do I have multiple pets that will be using the door? You should also measure your pet to make sure you know the correct size door to choose. You can take that information into your local retailer or visit the PetSafe website to find the right door for you and your pet.

Q: What is the easiest way to train your pet to use a new door?

A: Most pets will learn to use the pet door almost immediately, but there are a few who may be a little nervous. It is most important to remember to be patient with your pet and not rush him. Don’t force your pet thorough or they may become frightened. Once you have installed your pet door, leave the flap open for some time. You can use a long strip of masking tape to keep it held open by fixing the other end of the tape to the surface above. Make sure that the tape is secure so that the flap won’t accidentally fall down.

Let your pet become familiar with the door by entering and exiting the house freely. Establish a motive for your pet to use the door. Try standing on one side of the door with your pet on the other and offer a treat or toy to entice your pet to come through the door. Remember to give them the treat and provide lots of praise. Repeat this several times until you are sure that your pet understands. Then slowly start lowering the flap and repeating the steps until you are able to get your pet to come through the flap with it fully closed. With a little patience & training your pet will be using the pet door in no time!

Q: How can the simple addition of a pet door to a pet owner’s home change the family and pet’s lifestyle?

A: It’s all about freedom for the pet, and peace of mind for the owner. We always say, “Relax, we’ll let the dog out,” and it’s true! With our eventful lifestyles, a pet door provides busy pet owners a solution by offering the pet easy access to and from the home. Owners don’t want to feel guilty about not making it home in time to let their pet out.

Additionally, a pet door is a great way to provide your pet with access to the outdoors. It provides exercise. It can help with behavior issues such as chewing and scratching at the door, and it’s just good for their health. It’s also a great way to provide access within the home. It can provide access a litter box or food kept behind closed doors to keep curious dogs & toddlers out! A pet door can provide pets with the same freedom that we enjoy: the freedom to come and go as they please.

Do you have a pet door in your home? If so, why do you love it? If not, what’s stopping you?

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