You have a dog that is scratching your door to shreds. It’s annoying when you have to listen to constant scratching, and it won’t do the integrity of the door any favors. So, how do you get a dog to stop scratching at the door?
Figure Out Why
First off, you should try to figure out why the dog is scratching at the door. If you can figure this out, you can then move onto solving the issue.
1. Wants In or Out
One reason why your dog may scratch at the door is simply because it wants in or out. If this is fine with you, then just open the door and let the dog through. After all, a dog may scratch at the door to inform you that it needs to go out to do its business.
If the dog scratches at the door only when it really needs to go out or really needs to come in, then this is fine. If your dog notifies you of the need to use the bathroom instead of going inside the house, this should be considered a good thing.
2. Wants Exercise
Certain breeds of dogs need more exercise than others, but all dogs need at least some exercise. If it is around the time you usually go for a walk, and the dog is in front of the door scratching at it, then take it for a walk. Dogs need exercise and it won’t do you any harm either.
3. Wants Play and Attention
Your dog may also want to play or want some attention for you. In this case, you have to judge what is normal and what is too much. Of course, you should play with your dog and give it attention, but then again, at some point, enough is enough.
You cannot constantly walk your dog, play with it, and keep letting it in and out of the house. At some point, enough is enough, and when it comes to this point, no matter why the dog is scratching at the door, it just needs to stop.
At this point you need to discipline your dog. There are many different discipline and behavior correction techniques for dogs that you can use to your advantage.
We aren’t about to list all of the different ways on how to discipline your dog, but the bottom line is that you need to get the message across that scratching on the door is unwanted behavior. A normal dog is going to get the picture and will respect your commands.
Wait It Out
Something which actually seems to work quite well for this issue is to simply wait it out. This is not unlike letting a baby cry in its crib. If you shoot up out of bed to check on the baby every time it cries, it will catch on fast. They realize that their crying gets your attention and that you’ll come running.
This is no different with a dog that is scratching at the door. If you keep going to open the door and you respond to the scratching, you are encouraging the dog to continue the behavior.
It might not do your door any favors for the first few hours or days, but eventually the dog should get the message and stop trying to get your attention by scratching the door. If simple discipline does not work, try this “let them cry” method. It works rather well.
If nothing else does the trick, you have no problems with having an opening in the door, and you just don’t feel like keeping your dog inside or out at any particular time, a doggy door can be a good solution to this issue.
It will cost a bit of money to install a doggy door, you need to modify your existing door, and your home may lose a bit of heat from that opening, it will definitely stop the door scratching because it allows your dog to go in and out of the house whenever it wants.
Some people who have had enough of the door scratching, but don’t want to get a doggy door for one reason or another, may also use some kind of barrier.
It would not be the first time that somebody has used a children’s gate (like those gates that block stairs), to block access to a door. Although, dogs may then scratch at the barrier or even try to jump over it. This really depends on the specific dog in question.
A Scratch Guard
If nothing you’ve tried has stopped your dog from scratching at the door, you could get a scratch guard; there are special scratch guards for doors designed specifically for this issue. They may not stop the scratching itself from occurring, but it will prevent the door from taking damage.
If none of the above methods work to stop your dog from scratching at the door, you may want to see a dog behavior specialist — that or you’ll need to buy a new door sooner or later.