How To Stop Door Scratching

Is your dog scratching at the door?  Does your door look like it is 100 years old and needs to be replaced?  Hopefully this articles has some solutions to the problem.

Scratching at the door can be a significant problem, especially if your dog has thick nails and he begins to damage a door.  Even if you have a small dog, constant scratching at a door can cause damage and it’s annoying.  There are some solutions to this problem, depending on why your dog is doing it.

Why is your dog scratching on the door?

Seeking attention.  Some dogs scratch on the door to get attention.  These dogs are also likely to scratch or paw at your leg when you aren’t paying attention to them, or do other things to get your attention.  This is attention-seeking behavior and the best way to stop it is to ignore your dog.  If you respond to your dog when he scratches the door for this reason, you are just reinforcing the behavior because he is getting the attention he seeks.  This is often the reason that a dog will scratch at an interior door.  So, try to ignore the behavior and it should stop.

To go outside.  On the other hand, many puppies learn when they’re young to scratch at the door to let their owner know they need to go outside.  This is useful for a puppy but it becomes a problem when the puppy grows up into an adult dog who can damage the door by scratching on it.  The dog needs to learn a new method to let you know he needs to go outside.  You can solve this problem by hanging a small bell by your door and teaching your dog to hit the bell with his paw or nose instead of scratching on the door when he needs to go outside.  Most dogs learn to do this quickly when you praise and reward them for hitting the bell and take them outside to potty.  This works for dogs who are scratching the door to go outside, however, you should NOT use the bell for dogs who are seeking attention.  They will drive you crazy ringing the bell!

Too much energy.  Some dogs scratch on doors because they have too much energy.  They are bored and looking for something to do.  Scratching on the door is a kind of activity or exercise for them.  These dogs need more exercise!  If your dog falls in this category, try to take him out for more exercise each day.  If he’s a little more tired from some healthy exercise, he won’t be tempted to scratch on the door for fun.

I’ve had really good results using a small air horn, the kind you can buy in a sporting goods store where they have the soccer equipment.  When the dog is outside scratching at the door I give a blast of the horn at the crack of the door without him seeing me. When the dog is scratching at the inside door I do the same but without him seeing the horn.

Try these methods and one of them should work for your and your dog before you have to replace your door.

Until next time…….

About the Author: Wayne Booth is owner of in Nashville, TN.  Wayne has been teaching people how to become Professional Dog Trainers since 1990 and he is the Training Director of Canine Behavior Specialists Network,

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