Your doggie loves you and loves to spend time with you but sometimes it can be a bit much. Like when your dog learns that scratching the door gets you to open it! So, what can you do about this? Once they have learned this behavior it is a little tricky to get them to stop (so apologies in advance for the state of your door!). That said, you can certainly train them out of it. In this article we will discuss how to stop your dog from scratching the door.
Dear dog, please stop scratching my door…
While a nicely written letter is more likely to be chewed than to do any good, there are other things that you can do to keep your dog from scratching on the door. In order to determine how to keep your dog from scratching at the door we need to understand WHY your dog is doing it in the first place.
How to stop your dog from scratching on the door – common reasons for scratching
There are a number of reasons why your dog might be scratching on the door. First and foremost, they might simply want to come in! This is not always the case, however. Some other reasons that your doggy is scratching may include the following:
- Separation anxiety – How early was your dog weaned? Typically 10 -11 weeks is best and dogs that are weaned earlier sometimes develop poor social skills as a result. This is because time that the pup would normally play with the other puppies helps your dog to get used to other dogs, learn how hard they are allowed to bite when playing, and more. A puppy weaned to early can become codependent on you and this is not good! You will want to start taking your pup out to dog parks or getting them used to your friends so that your puppy doesn’t rely on you completely for socializing.
- Boredom – Your puppy might simply be bored. Sometimes giving them a few toys, turning the television on (or playing some music) to accompany as background noise can help to placate your pup.
- Brief walks – Taking your dog for a walk is not a race to get back to the house. You will want to take your time whenever possible, letting your dog soak in the sights. Seeing other dogs and people is good for socializing your pup and it also ‘tires them out’ a little. This can definitely help to curb scratching behaviors.
How to stop your dog from scratching on the door to come in
If it’s just a matter of your dog wanting to come into the room with you there are a few strategies that you can employ to deter this behavior. So, how to stop your dog from scratching on the door… well, these strategies come highly recommended:
- The Catch and Stare – Your dog doesn’t know anything about door-damage or the fact that a door is a boundary. You will want to assert the latter by opening the door and giving your dog a firm stare while saying ‘no’. Once your dog looks apologetic, tell them ‘sit’ and reward with a treat. Repeat as needed until your dog associates the scratching with ‘no!’/displeasure.
- Time-out box – You can create a time-out box with an old crate or anyplace in the house that your dog can’t get in trouble in. The important thing to note is that you MUST catch them in the act of scratching or they won’t understand the time-out. Stand outside the door and when your doggy scratches then open it, say ‘no!’ and ‘time out!’ and move your dog to the crate or bathroom/designated spot. Let them stay there alone for 3-5 minutes before taking them out. Tell them to ‘sit’ and give a treat after they comply to show there is ‘no hard feelings’. After awhile your dog will associate time-outs with punishment.
” The more modern doors work with a transponder in your dogs collar.”
- Citronella collar – Remote control collars that spray citronella provide a modern solution for corrective behavior adjustment. When your dog scratches or does something else bad you can trigger the collar with a remote and the unpleasant scent will let your dog know that they have done something wrong. Once your dog has learned to associate the ‘scent’ with you saying ‘no!’ then you have a humane way to communicate displeasure with their behavior. This can be an excellent training aid.
- Doggie door – If your dog is scratching on the back door to come in from the yard, you could always make a compromise and install a doggie door. If you have security concerns with this you should know that some of the more modern doors work with a transponder in your dogs collar. This means that the doggy door remains locked unless the ‘key collar’ is close, so you can have a doggy door and still keep your home secure!
Keep your dog from scratching on the door – The ‘preventative measure’
If your dog has just started doing this the best thing that you can do is ignore them. The habit comes when your dog realizes that you will come running to answer the door every time that you hear them scratching. So if this behavior started yesterday or even this week, you can try this approach first. If it’s too late, then the previous tricks should still have you covered!
Today we have discussed the reasons why your doggy is scratching on the door as well as some things that you can try in order to deter this behavior. While the scratching can be terribly obnoxious, we advise you to be patient and use the methods that we have outlined to nip this behavior in the bud. With a little time your puppy will realize that this behavior is unacceptable and everyone will sleep a little better. Just hang in there, folks!