How To Get A Dog To Stop Scratching Doors

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How To Stop Your Dog From Scratching the Door! (2024)

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Scratching at Doors

Do you have a furry friend who just can’t seem to resist scratching at doors? Whether it’s the front door, back door, or even the closet door, their incessant scratching can drive you and your family members bonkers. The persistent scuffling not only damages your doors but also disrupts your home’s peace and tranquility. If you’re at your wit’s end trying to curb this annoying behavior, don’t despair! In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons why dogs scratch at doors and provide you with a comprehensive guide to effectively address this issue.

Before we dive into solutions, let’s understand the underlying causes of why dogs scratch at doors. Identifying the triggers can help you tailor a personalized approach to resolving the problem. One common reason is territorial behavior. Dogs are territorial creatures and may scratch at doors to mark their territory and ward off perceived threats. Other reasons include separation anxiety, boredom, attention-seeking, and a need to go outside for potty breaks or exercise.

Understanding the Reasons for Dog Scratching

Territorial Behavior:
Dogs have a natural instinct to protect their territory, which includes their home. They may scratch at doors to mark their territory with their scent glands located in their paws. This behavior is more common in dogs that are anxious or insecure and feel threatened by strangers or other animals.

Separation Anxiety:
Dogs with separation anxiety experience distress when left alone. They may scratch at doors in an attempt to escape and reunite with their owners. This behavior is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as pacing, whining, and destructive behaviors.

Bored dogs may scratch at doors as a way to entertain themselves and relieve pent-up energy. This is especially true for dogs that do not get enough exercise or mental stimulation.

Some dogs may scratch at doors simply to get attention from their owners. They may have learned that scratching gets them what they want, such as being let outside or getting a treat.

Need to Go Outside:
Dogs may scratch at doors to indicate that they need to go outside for a potty break or to relieve themselves. This is especially true for puppies that have not yet been fully housebroken.

Tips and Expert Advice for Curbing Dog Scratching

Now that we’ve explored the reasons for dog scratching, let’s delve into effective tips and expert advice to help you resolve this issue:

Provide Sufficient Exercise and Mental Stimulation:
Bored dogs are more likely to engage in destructive behaviors, including scratching at doors. Ensure your dog gets plenty of daily exercise and mental stimulation through walks, playtime, and interactive toys.

Train Your Dog to Stay Calm When Alone:
If separation anxiety is the culprit, gradually train your dog to stay calm when you’re not around. Start by leaving them alone for short periods and gradually increase the duration as they become more comfortable.

Redirect Scratching Behavior:
When you catch your dog scratching at a door, redirect their attention to an appropriate scratching surface, such as a scratching post or a piece of cardboard. Praise them when they use the designated scratching surface.

Remove Potential Triggers:
If your dog is scratching at doors due to territorial behavior, try to remove any potential triggers that may be causing them anxiety. This could include closing curtains, keeping strangers away from the door, or providing them with a safe space where they can retreat to.

Rule Out Medical Problems:
In some cases, excessive door scratching could be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as allergies or joint pain. If you’re concerned about your dog’s health, consult a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

FAQ on Dog Scratching Behavior

Q: Why does my dog scratch at the door when I leave?
A: Your dog may be experiencing separation anxiety and scratching at the door in an attempt to escape and reunite with you.

Q: How can I stop my dog from scratching at the door when I’m not home?
A: Gradually train your dog to stay calm when alone, redirect their scratching behavior with appropriate surfaces, and provide them with a safe space where they can retreat to.

Q: Is it okay to punish my dog for scratching at the door?
A: Punishment is not an effective method for addressing door scratching. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement and training to redirect their behavior.

Q: What is the best type of scratching surface for dogs?
A: Choose a scratching surface that is made of a durable material, such as sisal or cardboard, and is tall enough for your dog to stretch up to.

Q: How long does it take to train a dog to stop scratching at doors?
A: The time it takes can vary depending on the severity of the behavior and your dog’s individual personality. With consistent training and patience, you can gradually reduce and eliminate this behavior.


Curbing your dog’s door-scratching behavior requires a combination of understanding the underlying causes, implementing effective training techniques, and providing your furry friend with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. By addressing the root of the problem and applying the tips and expert advice outlined in this article, you can help your dog overcome this annoying habit and maintain a peaceful and harmonious home environment.

Are you interested in learning more about dog behavior and training? Check out our blog for additional articles on topics related to canine care and well-being.

How to stop dog from scratching door to come inside? Updated February ...

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