If your Golden Retriever is anything like mine, then you know a dog’s separation anxiety can result in serious scratching and damage to doors. My golden not only panics when I leave but also scratches the door when I am home just to get my attention. After continually having frustrations, I had to find a way to stop this.
Generally speaking, the best way to stop a dog from scratching the door is to train it not to. It requires an initial stern “no” followed up with ignoring the call for attention. Because boredom, separation anxiety, and needing to go out are all reasons a dog scratches the door, there are other methods one can use in accordance with training to prevent the issue.
The first step in all that is pinpointing the reason your dog wants your attention. From there on you can implement a number of different ways to stop your dog from scratching at the door.
- How Do I Stop My Puppy From Scratching At The Door?
- How Do I Stop My Dog From Scratching At The Door When I Leave?
- Why Is My Dog Scratching the Door At Night?
- Related Questions
How Do I Stop My Puppy From Scratching At The Door?
Puppies are usually the main culprits when it comes to door scratching because they are untrained. There are two ways to get your puppy or older pal to stop scratching the door. While other ways help prevent it, taking this path corrects the behavior.
1. Dog Training
Naturally dogs scratch at doors as a way of letting you know that they are looking for your attention. It may be because they need to go out or because they have separation anxiety from you and need your attention.
Addressing the dog scratching can be done in two ways. The first is to let the dog know that it is not acceptable. If the dog continues then you must ignore it by showing them they will not get your attention.
2. Confronting It
If it has become clear that the dog is scratching at the door because they are trying to get your attention and not because they need to go out, confronting it is the first step you can take. Telling the dog “NO!” in a firm voice to show them it is not acceptable is important.
Some people may want to reward them for the good behavior but this can also encourage the sequence to happen again. If the dog realizes that they have to start the action and stop it to get a treat, they will likely continue.
3. Ignoring It
Once you have told the dog, ”NO!” firmly, see if they persist. If they do, the best thing you can do is leave the room. The act is to get your attention so if you can get away from the dog where you are out of sight and they don’t see you, this shows them that they will not get what they want.
4. Give Better Access To Outdoors
It’s natural for dog owners to not have endless hours each day to let their dog out unleashed or even go on long walks. Even when dogs go on walks, some want more exercise and playtime outside.
There are a few things you can do whether you have yard space or not that can help with eliminating the scratching door behavior. One of them is giving more access to the outdoors.
5. Long Leashes and Fenced In Yards
If you are lucky enough to have a house with some land, it is easy to allow your dog to have more outdoor time by themselves. A long leash that has ample extension so they can run around is a great way to solve this problem. If you have a fenced-in yard you may not even need a leash to begin with.
6. Dog Parks
While many apartments have dog parks in their complexes, not everyone has personal outdoor space. Dog parks are a great way to find a fenced-in area that allows your dog to run around and play with other dogs.
In the meantime, you can sit on a nearby bench and work or just relax. This will tire the dog out and get rid of that need to want to be outside all the time when they are home.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Scratching At The Door When I Leave?
Whether you are coming or going it can be difficult to prevent your dog from scratching the door by telling them no. You can however implement several different types of guards and protective door gear that stops the door from being scratched.
7. Heavy-Duty Doors
Dogs scratch doors. They will be excited to greet newcomers and it’s also their way of letting you know they need to go out. While you can discourage the behavior and train the dog, you still may encounter instances where the dog will jump up and scratch the door.
Even if it doesn’t bother you that they jump on the door, several different heavy-duty doors and products will limit the damage and need for a replacement door.
8. Heavy Duty Clawguard Protectors
Clawguard makes a few different door protectors. But this one, in particular, is a door scratch shield that will protect part of the door, the frame, and the wall.
Because dogs typically scratch near the handle where the door opens, this shield covers the area that is most likely to be scratched. It is easy to put on and take off as it fits right over the handle
Why Is My Dog Scratching the Door At Night?
To effectively solve the problem of the dog scratching the door at night you must figure out why the dog is doing it in the first place. While we have hinted at a few different reasons, it’s important to take a personal look at your dog and understand the situation.
Once you understand what they want you can choose the appropriate method or combination of methods to stop the scratching of the door.
9. Separation Anxiety
As mentioned, separation anxiety is a real thing for a dog to experience. When you get them as a puppy there is a lot of time that goes into training the dog and spending quality time with them. If you don’t sleep with them at night this can be alarming for them. It can lead to the dog scratching at the door when you leave.
If a dog is not getting enough attention from you and is bored inside the house it is very common for them to scratch at the door at night to get your attention. It may be because they want to go out and play with you or are trying to indicate they want to go for a walk.
You can’t give in to this behavior every time because they will continue to do it more frequently. This is why bringing your dog to a doggy park during the day or even giving them some roaming freedom outside can be a great fix to this problem.
11. Needs to Go to the Bathroom
If the dog doesn’t have easy access to go to the bathroom this is a very good indicator that it is time for them to go out. Sometimes owners naturally forget to let their pups out as much as they should so this is their way of telling you.
By giving them more time outside, you can correct this issue. It also can be somewhat of a positive in some cases because it means that you trained the dog well enough to not go to the bathroom inside the house.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Scratching a Glass Door?
Glass doors are not immune to a dog scratching them. You can use the same sort of shields and protectors that you would for a wood door. You can also use a protective film to go over the original glass that is scratch-resistant.
The concept most resembles the way you put protective glass over an iPhone. It functions the same way so that if there are scratches the film will take the beating and not the actual glass door. Once it becomes unbearable to look at you can replace the film with a new one.
Why Does My Dog Whine and Bark At The Door?
Whining, barking, and scratching at the door are symptoms of behavioral issues that are indicating something is wrong in the dog’s eyes. That seems like a strong term but essentially it is the same as a child throwing a tantrum or doing something out of the norm to get what they want or to get your attention.
While whining may be slightly better than scratching the door it is still important to use the same methods listed above to correct the issue. The whining can become more disruptive and at bad hours.
It would be common for the dog to do it first thing in the morning when they wake up, at night before bed, and when someone is leaving or coming to the house.
What If My Dog Persists To Scratch The Door?
Sometimes it seems like no matter what we do the dog persists in its behavior and continues to do the one thing we don’t want them to do. In this case, scratching the door can cost a lot of money and lead to the dog misbehaving in other areas depending on the frequency in which they do it.
The best thing you can do is hire a professional dog trainer to help you so that they can break this habit. It doesn’t matter whether they are a puppy or an older dog because ultimately the behavior needs to stop. While it is easier to train a puppy to stop this habit, good trainers can help with a dog at any age.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a work-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. I have been blogging for the last 5 years. I worked for other mom blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to mom’s life and homemaking.