Dogs scratching doors in the house is a common problem many pet parents experience but don’t know how to fix. While you might feel like your dog is just trying to destroy your property, they are actually attempting to communicate with you by exhibiting this behavior. So how do you stop your dog from scratching the door?
Why does my dog scratch the door?
- Boredom – Dogs that are locked up inside all day while their owners are at work often become bored and run out of things to do. This boredom causes them to entertain themselves and a door is a common object that keeps them busy. If your dog is scratching at the door because they are bored, make sure you provide them with plenty of toys that stimulate their mind such as interactive and treat dispensing options.
- They like to see what’s going on behind the door – Many dogs are naturally inquisitive and like to see what’s going on around them at all times. If they are secluded in a room with the door shut this prevents them from finding out what’s happening and makes them focus on removing the obstacle standing in their way, which in this case is the door.
- They want to go outside – Dogs that are house trained often hold their urine and feces for more than six hours at a time while they wait for their owner to come home. Imagine having to do the same thing and how it would make you feel. Chances are you would break down the door to get out too. Since dogs naturally don’t go to the bathroom where they sleep, they will do everything they can to hold it inside. If your dog holds their urine and feces all day or night and attempts to destroy the door you need to find a better solution such as installing a doggie door.
- They have separation anxiety – Dogs naturally are programmed to be part of a pack. Since they are no longer with their mother and siblings, you are their new pack. It’s natural for them to want to be around you all the time. Chances are when you are home they follow you around the house, watch movies with you on the sofa, walk with you outside, watch your garden and sleep in your bed just to be close to you.
Separation anxiety is common because humans need to leave the house, go to work, grocery shop, and basically live a fulfilled lifestyle that involves leaving the home. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety they might try to destroy the door that prevents them from being with you.
Solving your dog’s separation anxiety can include using a baby or dog gate to secure them in an area of the house, putting a specially made shirt on them that helps them feel safe, and taking them with you whenever you can.
- They want your attention – Does your dog scratch at the door when you are home but have them secluded in another room? Chances are your dog wants your attention and doesn’t want to be locked away because they feel like they are missing all the fun. Try to pay attention to your dog more often and use other objects such as a dog gate, or playpen to seclude them in an area but place them where they can still see you.
Dangers of Dogs Scratching Doors
As your dog scratches and bits the door they can experience the following problems:
- Cracked nails
- Splinters in their paws
- Bloody paws
- Loose teeth
- Damaged and bloody gums
Methods for Preventing Your Dog from Scratching the Door
- Install a doggie door – If your dog just scratches at the door every time they need to go outside to urinate then installing a doggie door is beneficial. A doggie door will give your dog the freedom to enter and exit the home anytime they need which will lower the risk of them scratching the door to get out. We like the PetSafe doggie door because it a solution that works on all types of doors.
- Install a door protector – Since dogs scratching doors is a common problem pet parents are concerned about the pet industry has worked closely with manufacturers to create durable door protectors. You can find durable and long-lasting door protectors online at affordable prices. We recommend the Heavy Duty Clawguard because it’s a cheap and effective solution.
- Dog training – Sometimes your stubborn little pup just likes entertaining themselves by scratching at the door which becomes their favorite hobby. Hiring a dog trainer or learning to train our dog will help stop the behavior and prevent your dog from scratching the door.
- Put up a barrier – If your dog just likes to see their surroundings a barrier is a great way to solve the problem and prevent your dog from scratching the door. Use a baby or dog gate to create a barrier where the door should be. It’s as easy as placing the gate in the doorway which takes just a few seconds to install. The barrier will prevent your dog from leaving the room but also allow them to see out.
- Create a routine – If you can’t install a doggie door, creating a bathroom routine is essential to prevent your dog from scratching at the door to go outside.
How to Stop Scratching When You Leave the House
Dogs that scratch the door when their owner leaves the house are often experiencing separation anxiety. This type of anxiety often produces destructive behavior, constant barking, scratching at the door and sometimes high pitch screeching that neighbors complain about.
If your dog scratches the door when you leave the house the problem needs to be solved further than installing a protective barrier. Addressing your dog’s emotional needs and separation anxiety is essential to preventing the behavior from continuing and also helping your dog live a happier life.
It’s important to understand that dogs are pack animals and need to be with their pack. When they are born, they have their canine pack which includes their mother and siblings. They do everything together and stay nearby throughout the day and night.
As a pet parent who adopted a dog, you are now the mother or father to the dog and you and/or your family are their new pack. They naturally become filled with fear and anxiety when everyone in the house leaves and they are left behind.
An excellent way to help your dog stay calm while home alone and prevent them from scratching the door and wall is to help them feel comfortable and not alone. Some helpful ideas include putting a specialized anxiety shirt on your dog that helps them feel secure and calm, putting classical music on the radio for them to listen to so they don’t feel isolated, and bringing them with you as much as you can so they don’t feel left out.
How to Stop Your Dog from Scratching the Door at Night
As mentioned earlier, dogs are pack animals and prefer to sleep with their pack. That means the best way to stop your dog from scratching the door at night is to allow them to sleep in someone’s room so they don’t feel alone.
Another helpful tip is to put up a barrier in the doorway so they don’t have the option to scratch on the door. The barrier is also helpful because it allows them to see out of the designated area or room into the rest of the house.
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Jumping on the Door when Visitors Arrive
Does your dog jump on your dog as soon as the doorbell rings? If so, chances are you have plenty of scratches and small dents in your door. Installing door protectors are highly recommended but there’s also something you can do to help your dog stop jumping on the door.
At some point, your dog has learned their jumping attention has gained them attention throughout their lifetime so they continue to do this behavior. There’s a big chance you can remember yelling at your dog to STOP jumping which only makes them do it more.
The thing about dogs is when they want attention, it doesn’t matter that it comes in a negative or positive form because to them both ways are rewarding as long as they have your attention in some form. This means every time you address the issue by yelling at your dog they feel rewarded so they keep doing it to get your attention.
You can train your dog that jumping doesn’t earn them any attention by ignoring the behavior and helping them to focus on something else. An excellent way to train your dog to stop jumping on the door is to keep a toy near the front door so when the doorbell rings or someone knocks on the door they pick up the toy with excitement instead of jump on the door.
This training takes time and all dogs are different but you can stop the behavior by teaching them to do something different such as greet the visitors with a toy instead. This same technique is also well known for stopping dogs from jumping on people when they walk in the door too.
Stopping your dog from jumping on the door by addressing their behavior and installing door protectors solve the problem and help you live in harmony with your dog!
Conclusion for How to Stop Your Dog from Scratching the Door
Stopping your dog from scratching the door is a difficult problem if you don’t know the root cause. Often times, dogs are are bored, have pent up energy, want to go outside, or have separation anxiety. Some solutions that you can try is installing a doggie door, installing a plastic claw guard that prevents your wood door from getting scratched, or separating your dog with a baby or dog gate. We hope that you found a solution to prevent your dog from ruining your front door.
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Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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