Dogs that scratch the door is showing signs of behavioral problems. The most common reason is separation anxiety and their eagerness to be close to their pet parent. Most dogs feel isolated when they are separated from their owner and will break down any obstacle that stands in their way.
This means your dog is scratching at the door to remove the obstacle so they can see you or be closer to you. Some dogs have stronger nails compared to others and can do a lot of damage to a door.
Many dogs claw and scratch the door so intensely they cause their paws to bleed due to splinters or accidentally damaging their nail.
Sometimes a dog can scratch the door too much and file their nail down to the quick which starts to bleed as well. Dogs that have bloody paws from scratching at doors need to visit a local animal hospital or veterinarian to help treat the injury.
If your dog has damaged or destroyed doors in your house, you need to learn the secrets of how to keep a dog from scratching the door. Keep reading to find out!
5 Tips to Keep a Dog from Scratching the Door
1. Prevent the Behavior
Since most scratching behavior is due to separation anxiety you can eliminate the problem by not closing the door.
This only works if your dog is inside and isolated in a room.
However, dogs that are outdoors in the yard and scratch the door to come indoors can be deterred by placing a baby or doggie gate in the doorway of the house.
This allows your dog to see you as well as alert you by barking to let you know they are ready to come indoors.
2. Ignore the Behavior
This might be easier said than done but it’s necessary to help your dog to stop its scratching behavior. Dogs are rewarded by receiving attention from their owner.
The dog doesn’t care if it’s positive or negative attention they just know that they get your attention. Reward your dog for their good behavior while ignoring their scratching at the door.
If your dog knows scratching at the door gets your attention, they will do it excessively.
3. Put Your Dog in a Crate
Dogs actually feel safe and protected in crates since they are den animals while living in the wild. A crate will keep your dog safe as well as your doors.
Dogs that are left home alone and allowed to roam around the house freely tend to jump and scratch at the front door when their owner arrives home. You can prevent the damage by placing your dog in a crate before you leave the house.
Remember you aren’t punishing your dog by putting them in a crate. You are just preventing them from continuing their scratching behavior.
Make sure you choose a crate that is large enough for your dog’s size and make it comfortable by adding a blanket, toys, water and food bowls.
4. Create Healthy Separation
Dogs that experience separation anxiety needs to become familiar with being left alone. Practicing leaving your dog alone in the house while you are home helps your dog to get used to being away from you.
Some super sweet dogs love being near their owners 24/7 and won’t leave them alone even when their pet parent is in the bathroom.
If this scenario sounds like your dog, you can train your dog to remain in one room of the house while you are in another. Again, using baby or doggie gates helps them see you from a distance as well as prevents them from scratching at the interior door.
5. Install a Doggie Door
Dogs that are outdoors and want to come indoors often scratch at the exterior door or vice versa. A doggie door solves the problem and allows your dog to freely go from indoors to outdoors and back again without needing to signal you with door scratching.
How can I protect my doors from my dog
You can protect your doors by using protective plates that attach to the door. The scratch screen is the most popular option because it’s a clear plastic sheet that covers your door and prevents it from getting damaged.
A kick plate is another popular option to help protect your doors. It’s a large metal sheet that covers the lower portion of the door.
A kick plate is common in restaurant kitchens where wait staff needs to use their foot to open the door.
How to Fix a Scratch in a Door
Chances are you are looking for solutions to your dog scratching your doors because they have already been damaged.
Don’t stress because there are a few things you can do to repair scratches on a wooden door.
- Use coarse sandpaper to sand down the scratch marks your dog made.
- Choose wood filler that is similar in color to your door. For example, the white filler is great for white doors and brown filler is an excellent option for the natural wood color.
- Apply wood filler to the door using a small putty knife.
- Allow the filler to dry
- Use coarse sandpaper to file down the filler so that appears to be a smooth surface. You can also use fine sandpaper to create a smooth appearance.
- Stain or paint the door to conceal the filler if needed.
Try to do your best to use the filler to repair the door then place a protective plate over the door to protect it from further damage. Sometimes it’s best to install the protective plastic and leave it there even if your dog no longer scratches at the door.
Pet parents are usually shocked when they arrive home to greet their precious pooch only to find scratches on the door.
Dogs that spend most of their time indoors tend to scratch at bedroom doors, front doors, back doors, and even glass sliding doors.
Training your dog to be comfortable while at home alone is recommended. If the training doesn’t help, look into a comfortable crate for your dog.
The first thing you need to do when you realize your dog has scratched the door is to ignore your dog’s behavior.
Then your next step is to fix the door and install a protective shield. The most difficult part of dealing with your dog scratching doors is to find out why they are doing it. Is it really due to separation anxiety? Or, is it for another reason?
As a pet parent, you know your dog the best and will most likely figure out why your dog is exhibiting this behavior.
Sometimes discussing the issue with a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist will help pinpoint the issue as well.
Dogs that continue the behavior after you made changes and attempted to train them to be home alone need professional assistance.
Don’t be shy to ask for help even if you already protected all the doors in your house.
It’s best to find out the cause and treat it so your dog can have happy peaceful days home alone without feeling separation anxiety. Start taking steps to solve your dog’s door scratching problems today! Visit the PetStruggles homepage for more expert advice & information.