How to Keep a Dog from Scratching at the Door: A Helpful Guide
You might wonder why your dog scratches at the door from time to time. There are many different reasons, but you know that you'd like it to stop. If you're sick of the damage and noise, learning how to keep a dog from scratching at the door can be beneficial for everyone.
How to Keep a Dog From Scratching at the Door
There are a few things you can do in your quest to figure out how to keep a dog from scratching at the door. Figuring out his routine would be helpful so that you can prevent the scratching.
Installing a doggy door could be a good option as well. You could also put up a gate or barrier to stop your dog from getting to the door.
Perhaps the best way, however, is to figure out why he's scratching the door in the first place. This can help you determine the best method to stop the behavior.
Often, dogs scratch doors because of separation anxiety. Overall, you want to train your dog to go without so much of your affection. If you ignore him sometimes when he wants attention, he'll get used to it and may not be so anxious when you leave.
It's also a good idea to leave him with a stimulating puzzle or toy to play with when you're gone. He can focus his energy on this, making him less likely to scratch the door.
You want to avoid being too affectionate when you leave and when you come back. When you come back, it's a good idea to wait a few minutes for him to calm down, and then start showing him affection. Also, don't take him for a walk right away; the idea is to show him that his anxious behavior doesn't achieve anything.
After a few weeks, his anxious behavior should be reduced significantly.
Firmly Correcting Your Dog
Another approach involves shutting him in a room and waiting for him to scratch the door. As soon as he starts scratching, quickly open the door.
Look into his eyes and firmly say, "No." Make your disapproval clear, but don't yell at him or scare him.
Now, wait a few seconds. Allow your dog to calm down, holding your disapproving stare until he does. After a short time, he should have given up on scratching and only want to gain your affection back.
At this point, ask him to sit or perform some other command. Give him a treat when he does. The reason you're doing this is that the positive reinforcement emphasizes the difference between your reaction to positive behavior as opposed to negative behavior.
Do this for about 10 minutes a day for two weeks. You should notice your dog scratching doors in the house less frequently. As the scratching behavior goes down, give him fewer treats, until he no longer relies on them to resist scratching.
Why Does Your Dog Scratch at the Door?
Now that you know a little bit more about how to keep a dog from scratching at the door, you might want to know more about why he does it in the first place. The answer actually depends on the situation.
If he's scratching at the door when he's outside, he's trying to get your attention. He wants you to let him back in the house.
However, the damage your dog does to doors inside the house can be a lot more noticeable. There are a few reasons why he'd do this, making it more difficult to figure out how to keep a dog from scratching at the door when inside the house.
It's possible your dog scratches at the door because he wants to go outside. In some cases, he sees or hears something or someone outside and wants to get to it or them.
It's also possible that your dog is bored or anxious. This could be his way of expressing separation anxiety, if that's an issue. He could also be trying to get your attention for any of an infinite number of reasons.
It Doesn't Just Hurt Your Door
Learning how to keep a dog from scratching at the door isn't just about maintaining your property. Your dog could also hurt himself while he's scratching at the door.
He could crack his nails on the door. He could also potentially get splinters from the scratched wood in his paw pads.
If the door is damaged enough, he could also gnaw on the wood, swallow it, and damage his intestines.
Closing a Door Doesn't Always Open a Window...
It's smart to figure out how to keep a dog from scratching at the door. It'll be good for both your doors and your dog!
Of course, you want to approach the situation with as much empathy as possible. You know that your dog's not damaging your home on purpose. He's just trying to express a need, and it's your job to figure out this need.
It's not hard to learn how to keep a dog from scratching at the door. You just need to pay attention to what your dog's trying to tell you and respond accordingly.
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