You want to stop your dog from scratching the door because it’s destructive, costly, and can cause damage to your dog’s paws and teeth. The question is, how do you make the dog stop?
Before we get started, it’s important to understand common reasons why dogs do this. Anxiety is one culprit. Other reasons range from not enough exercise to not enough behavioral training.
Naturally, you’ll want to fix the cause of the problem. In the meantime, you may need suggestions on how to protect your doors and furniture.
This post is designed to do just that with 11 actionable items you can start using today.
Door Scratching – A Common Problem With a Solution
Good behavior is the number one thing we want to train our dogs from day one. As pet owners, we do our best to make sure our dogs are well-behaved. Sometimes, however, dog training can slip off the rails.
Everyone has a certain lifestyle. Sometimes, it can get in the way of correcting bad behavior in dogs. It’s understandable! We’re all busy people.
What if I told you there was a way to get everything under control again? It takes commitment, but you’re going to be happier and your dog will stop destroying your doors.
Before we get into the best solutions for dogs scratching doors, it’s important to understand why it happens in the first place.
Most of the time, it boils down to anxiety.
Managing a Dog’s Anxiety
Many dogs are prone to anxiety. In fact, it’s likely the number one reason your dog is scratching at doors.
Anxiety is a complicated response to a number of triggers. Everything from thunderstorms to the sound of a motorcycle can trigger anxiety in dogs.
Sometimes, anxiety is triggered by underlying disease. Dogs with severe anxiety should be seen by a veterinarian. In some cases, certain medications and underlying disease can cause changes in behavior.
If there’s a medical cause, the veterinarian should be able to help get your dog back on track.
After a veterinarian has ruled out an underlying cause for anxiety, it’s up to you to determine the triggers.
Common triggers of anxiety in dogs include:
Fear of Loud Noise
Dogs are often afraid of loud noise. Thunderstorms and fireworks are two of the most common.
Believe it or not, the worst thing you can do for your dog in these situations is to over-protect him/her.
Making a lot of fuss and over-protecting your dog may confuse and encourage more anxiety. Listen to your voice. Does it get higher in pitch? What about your gestures? Are you a little frantic in trying to calm your dog down.
The best thing to do is try and get ahead of the anxiety with calming supplements (or a prescription from the veterinarian). Act as if the noise is just an everyday occurrence without getting too wound up. Eventually, your dog will see that it isn’t such a big deal
Dogs with separation anxiety often display their fears in the form of destructive behavior. They may shred paper, break lamps, dig into furniture, chew shoes, or continuously scratch at the door.
The reason dogs do this is because they are insecure, bored, or afraid. Dogs are pack animals and like to be with their pack leaders – the pet parents. Naturally, we can’t be with them 24/7. We have to go to work, get groceries, etc. Addressing separation anxiety through training is important for your dog over the long-term.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
There are plenty of good reasons for limiting where your dog can go in your house. You may want to keep a pet-free area for guests, entertaining, or to protect furniture. Maybe you have a guest coming over who’s allergic to pet dander.
Whatever the reason, it’s understandably difficult for a dog. This is especially true if he/she isn’t used to being in a room alone.
If your dog can still hear you on the other side of the door, he/she is going to get pretty excited. Naturally, they want to be with you. You don’t like missing out on the fun and neither do they.
What they don’t understand is that digging and scratching at the door isn’t going to win them any favors.
Unscheduled Bathroom Breaks
As your dog gets older, you quickly get into a bathroom routine with your pup. In the early stages, however, your puppy may not understand how to communicate his/her needs.
Your puppy may start doing things to get your attention. This might include scratching at the door, jumping on your lap, raising his/her paw to you, and vocalizing/barking.
The best thing to do is create a regular schedule so that you’re letting your dog out every three hours or so. Keep in mind that puppies will need to go out more often.
As they get older, they’ll be better able to hold their bladders for longer periods of time.
Generally speaking, 5 hours is about the longest length of time a dog should have to hold it in. Of course, many of us work and the reality is that time can extend beyond that.
Save Your Doors and Your Sanity
You might be a little overwhelmed when looking for something to protect your doors. Dog paws can cause serious damage to your doors and to your dog When a dog scratches at the door it can result in cracked nails, splinters in the paw, loose or chipped teeth, and damaged gums.
The type of door protector you need will depend on the cause of the problem. For example, if your only scratches to go outside, consider installing a doggie door.
Pet doors allow your dog access to the outdoors without damage.
Assess Your Needs
Before heading to the store, have a look at your door to determine what type of protector you’ll need. For example:
Look for heavy-duty door shields that can stand up to the environment. Conditions like extreme cold, hot sun, and high humidity should be taken into consideration.
If you’re trying to protect a screen door, you will want a protector large enough to fit all three sides of the doorframe.
Sliding doors require a protector that attaches to the door with adhesive tape. For a sliding door, you don’t want a protector that covers a doorknob.
Sticky tape and adhesive may damage the paint on a wooden door. If you’re looking for a protective shield for a wooden door, make sure the product is compatible.
Closed-loop handles require adhesive protectors.
Saving a door jamb usually requires a full cover that fits both the frame and the door. You may also want to look at a customized option if available.
What to Buy and Where to Shop for Door Protectors
Once you have an idea of what you need, you can start shopping. Hardware stores in your neighborhood should be able to help. At the very least, they should be able to order something in for you.
If that doesn’t work, you might want to check out the following options:
PROTECTO Door Scratch Protector 35 x 15″ Heavy Duty Shield to stop pets from furniture scratching.
PROTECTO Door Scratch Protector Premium Dog Door Cover for Interior and Exterior Use
11 Genius Ways to Stop Your Dog From Scratching the Doors
It’s really important to break your dog of bad habits. It starts with chewing the door handle and then escalates into other forms of destructive behavior. The next thing you know, your dog is jumping on people or destroying your home.
Assuming the veterinarian has ruled out underlying conditions, let’s look at how you can protect your doors while retraining your dog.
Here are 11 steps to consider.
#1. Increase Your Dog’s Exercise
Exercise involves all of your dog’s senses and improves cardio endurance and strength. All dogs need daily exercise. The type and amount will depend on the size and breed of your dog.
FitPAWS Canine Fitness Kit includes a K9FITbone and a Balance Ramp that can be used separately or together.
Not only does this provide a good core workout (strength & stability), it also serves as a “job” for dogs that need something to do all of the time.
#2. Substitute the Closed-Door Policy
Some dogs do better when they can see you. Rather than closing them off completely, consider installing a pet gate. There are a variety of sizes and strengths to accommodate all breeds.
This is a lightweight, foldable gate for small dogs. No installation required. Perfect for puppies.
#3. Dog Training Professional
We’re all busy and some dogs are just easier to train than others. If you’re looking for a great way to stop unwanted behavior, considering hiring a trainer. Some people attend classes and others choose to hire a trainer over the short-term for guidance.
#4. Learn How to Do It Yourself
Some dog behavior trainers charge anywhere from $30 to $80 per hour. It’s a high price that not everybody can afford.
Sometimes it’s not the right option for the dog. There is a lot of distraction in a group setting. You could hire a private trainer for better results, but that’s going to cost a pretty penny.
So what’s the solution?
Pay less than $100 for an online course and learn from the pros.
CHECK IT OUT:
# 5. Increase Mental Stimulation
Mental stimulation is part of a dog’s overall exercise routine. However, some breeds require a higher level of mental stimulation. They may need a “job” to do, puzzle games, and more human interaction.
The more you’re able to engage your dog, the better your bond with him/her will be. Take your dog with you on errands if possible (but don’t leave in car unattended).
A few excellent options for challenging your dog mentally and physically include:
#6. Decrease Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Separation anxiety can be a real challenge for pet parents and dog owners. It’s best to try and get your dog used to you being out of the house before, for example, going back to work. Of course, sometimes things come up quickly that prevent you from being able to do that training.
A few pro ideas include:
- Practice getting the dog used to being in the room alone for very short periods of time. Try 5 minutes at a time and do it during a time when everyone is calm and there is nobody else in the house.
- Make it seem like a treat to be in that room. Give your dog toys he/she doesn’t usually get (special treats!)
- Gradually crate train. Begin by leaving a crate where you are in the house. Leave the door open and encourage your dog to do inside. Favorite chew toys and a familiar blanket may help.
Invest in a doggy camera like Petcube, Inc. so that you can see what your dog is doing, speak gently with the dog, and even toss your dog a treat now and then for good behavior.
#7. Keep in Touch With Your Pooch
The one thing I always wished I had when I was working in the office (out of the house) was a doggy camera.
Nothing would have made me happier than being able to check in on my dogs everyday. In fact, it would have relieved me of the guilt I felt having to leave every morning.
These days, it’s not an issue for me. However, if I had to do it over again, I would get a Petcube.
They offer a few choices but I think the best one for me would be the Petcube Play 2. With one of these cameras I would be able to monitor my dogs with a wide-angle view and two-way audio!
How cool would it be to talk to your dog while you’re out of the house! You could actually stop your dog from scratching at the door by getting his/her attention. Actually, you can even play with your dog when you are out of the house with the remote interactive laser toy!
#8. Reclaim Your Pack Leader Status
Dogs can get the best of us if we’re not careful. It’s natural for a dog to look for the pack-leader. If there is no pack-leader, the dog will take over.
Nobody explains the concept better than Cesar Milan. You can find his books and videos here:
#9 Make the Front Door “Boring”
Let your friends, family, and neighbors know that you are training your dog not to attack the door. Set up barriers to the door, move any toys or dog food away from the door, and block with a baby gate if you can.
#10. Prepare for setbacks
Try not to get discouraged. It’s not always easy to train a dog, especially when he/she has settled into a pattern of behavior.
#11. Don’t go it alone
Engage your friends and family if you can. Remember that there are countless resources available online including courses and books.
At the end of the day
Naturally you want to protect your home against damage. You also want to protect your dog from bloody nails and teeth. Splintered wood can wreck havoc on a dog’s gums. When looking for a good quality door protector, remember to assess your needs before shopping.
Get your door measurements, take note of whether you need indoor or exterior protection. Depending on your situation, you may want to invest in a dog door. That way your dog can come and go as required.
Ultimately, the main goal should be to stop the behavior in the first place. This post has listed several suggestions and options for you. Take a course, hire a trainer, read a dog behavior book, or invest in more challenging games for your pooch.
All or any of these things should help in time. Consistency is key. Patience is very important. Good luck in your dog training behaviors.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read this post. Please like or share!
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