Every dog owner understands the pain and frustration of seeing scratches on your doors. This is especially true if it is wood and you have tried all you know to stop it, but your pet keeps leaving grooves in it.
The scratches are not less painful if the door is metal, although it is usually easier to cover than when it is done on wood. However, all hope is not lost for pet parents with a seemingly naughty, door-scratching dog.
This article shares tips and tricks you can employ to stop your dog from scratching the door. You will also learn a few reasons your furry friend keeps doing it; it may be a sign of a health problem that needs immediate attention.
How to Stop Your Dog from Door Scratching
The first thing to check is why your pet is scratching the door. Eliminate the possibility that it is not part of an exercise or play routine you earlier started before moving on to other possibilities. Determining why this is happening will help you decide which step to take to stop the problem.
The door is not the only thing in danger; constantly scratching the door can harm the dog if a splinter gets under its paws or in its eyes. Here are some tricks and tips to try and see which long-term solution works best for your peculiar situation:
1. Do Not Always Close the Door
You can try leaving that particular door open for some time and monitor your pet to see if it continues the destructive habit. If it stops, you have your answer; your dog does not like closed doors or may have separation anxiety.
However, this option may be a little difficult to employ if the door is an exterior one. You do not want to leave your door open constantly. So, what you can do is install a pet gate so that your pet can see you without leaving the door open. The canine may fare better if it can see you through the door.
2. Keep an Eye on Your Pet
If you have to work in an office, it means leaving your dog alone at home. That is if you do not live with someone. If that is the case, leaving the canine alone may cause some fears or anxiety. This is particularly true if it is a new dog from a pound; it may already have hidden fears of which you are unaware.
However, you can keep an eye on it by installing a doggy camera. That way, you can monitor its movements and know when it is necessary to go home. Some camera options allow you to talk to your dog, relieving any anxiety it may feel.
If you get one of those types, it will feel as if you are there with your pet. This will make it easier for it to adapt to any new changes that may cause the problem. Your dog will eventually get used to your house and being alone, which may help with scratching the door.
3. Remove Attractions from the Door
Sometimes, the door your dog usually attacks and scratches may have an attraction of which you are not aware. Do not even bother trying to decipher the attraction; you may never be able to tell what it is in a million ways.
What you can do if you suspect this problem is to remove every physical attraction, such as toys, food, and even books. Also, create a barrier to the door as much as possible without putting the dog in harm’s way. Then, monitor it to see if it keeps trying to scratch the door.
If the problem persists, you must contact a dog care expert or dog trainer for further evaluation. That way, you can determine what is drawing your canine friend to that door and find a lasting solution.
4. Create More Exercise Time
The door-scratching problem may have a simple cause: your dog needs more outdoor time. It may not be getting enough exercise or play time outside the house, which makes it feel edgy, anxious, and trapped.
If you are usually busy, hire a dog walker or have a friend come in and walk your pet for a few hours. It will help relieve the stress on the dog and put your mind at ease. Every dog needs some minutes of running time or exercise every day, so make out time for it.
How long you spend walking or running with your dog depends on the dog’s breed, age, and size. You can consult a vet or an expert trainer to determine what to do in this case if you are unsure.
5. Install a Different Door
There are heavy-duty dog doors that are stronger, sturdier, and more durable than the regular doors in your home. This type of dog door can withstand scratching, but it also allows your dog to go out and come in when it wants. If the problem is with movement restriction, this pet door is an excellent idea.
Note that this doggy door does not come cheap, so it may not be for everyone. However, if you are considering investing in a dog door, use a professional installer to ensure it is done right. Also, ensure you take the time to teach your pet how to use it correctly.
It is of no use if you install it without showing the canine how to use it independently. Additionally, your dog will make a mess sometimes, so be ready to handle it without showing your annoyance. Besides, you can train your pup to avoid mud and dirt as much as possible.
6. Make Separation Easier
If you know your dog has separation anxiety, you must take steps to make it feel safe. That may mean investing in expensive therapies and healthcare, but it is usually worth it. But it does not have to cost an arm and a leg; you can simply create a safe space for it when you are not around.
This may mean acquainting it with family and friends so that you can leave it with them when you have to be away. Practice leaving your dog with them from time to time until it becomes a normal routine.
In addition, provide toys, puzzles, treats, and snacks that your dog loves when going out. And you can do a crate training so it is not too used to having people around. That way, it will get used to staying home without you or having people around.
7. Ignore the Dog
One trick you can try is to ignore the dog’s antics, especially if the dig-scratching issue is an attempt at bad behavior. Dogs are creatures of habit and will keep at one thing if it gets them results. But if you ignore them long enough, they will move on to other things.
So, try as much as possible to ignore your dog if you are sure it does not have a health problem. You can try offering snacks and chew toys as a positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits good behavior through dog training. That may help to curb the naughty attitude.
It will take some time and patience, particularly if the door is taking too many hits in the process. However, you will be thankful in the long run because it usually pays off.
Why Does Your Dog Keep Scratching the Door?
As mentioned, there are different reasons your dog may have a habit of scratching your door. It may be due to anxiety over separation from you or a way to get your attention. Also, something may attract it behind the door or it simply needs to go outside.
1. Anxiety Over Separation
Some dogs do not fare well when they are apart from their owners, and your dog may be experiencing separation anxiety if it begins scratching the door. You may also notice it whines and barks more than usual, which are signs of distress or an underlying sickness.
Get professional assistance from a dog trainer, animal behaviorist, or veterinarian to determine the best way to approach this issue. One or more of them can help you create a plan to calm your dog’s anxiety and make it more comfortable.
There may be something behind the door that attracts the door. We mentioned within the article that the attractant may not be immediately obvious, so you can skip trying to figure it out. However, if you know what it is and can deliver it without harm, it may stop the door-scratching issue.
Also, it may simply be curious to know what is behind the door out of boredom, without having any particular attractant. If that is the case and you can allow it into that room, try it to see if it stops the problem. But you must create boundaries so the dog does not always think it can get what it wants.
Your dog may need to go outside to pee or poo if it keeps scratching the door and whining. If there is no hatch through which it can go out at will, it has to rely on you to open the door every time it needs to go to the bathroom. So, get attuned to and create a schedule for your dog’s bowel movements and needs.
There is also a chance that there is someone or something on the other side of the door, and the dog is trying to draw your attention to it. Ensure the house is safe and nothing needs your immediate attention inside or outhouse the house.
Finding a lasting solution for a dog’s door-scratching habit can be challenging but not impossible. Dogs can be simple and habitual creatures, and learning their behaviors goes a long way in solving this problem.
However, there may be peculiarities in your case that needs detailed attention. So, follow the simple tricks and tips in this article to stop the door-scratching issue. If it persists, speak with your dog’s vet or another professional for further assistance.