How to Stop my Dog from Scratching Doors
If your dog scratches at the doors, it may be an indication of separation anxiety. Some dogs become seriously distressed when left alone for long times, and scratching the door may be their attempt to express that they sorely miss you and to calm themselves down through destructive behavior.
To find out how to ease your dog's distress so you can leave it alone without worrying about damaged furniture, keep reading this oneHOWTO article on how to stop your dog from scratching doors.
Our first tip to stop your dog from scratching doors is not going to be easy to follow, especially if you love your dog like crazy, but remember that you are responsible for teaching your dog good habits and should avoid spoiling your four-legged friend. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind: teaching your dog to be alone will benefit it enormously in the long term.
When you leave your dog alone, you might be overly affectionate before leaving to compensate for being apart. This has a detrimental effect on your dog, because the more affectionate you are before leaving it alone, the more distressed it will feel in your absence. Scratching doors is a natural response to this.
You must also teach your pet to be alone when you are home. This doesn't mean you have to be cold and distant; teaching your dog to appreciate its own company will help when you leave the house. Your pet should learn that it can go about its life without having you at its side at all times.
Therefore, try to ignore your dog when it demands attention so that it understands that you also need some space from time to time. Building up the dog's confidence and trust is a great way to make them behave.
When you leave home, avoid giving a dramatic farewell. It is best that, for a while before leaving, you avoid paying your dog too much attention. Leave the house without showering your dog with affection. Otherwise, your friend will wait behind the door, anxious for you to return, and maybe crying. We know it's hard to do, but it's the best way of stopping your dog from suffering needlessly when you're gone and scratching the doors.
Pets learn their owner's daily routine very well - shower, breakfast, keys, etc. To alleviate your dog's anxiety every time it sees you reach for your keys, try to repeat this routine without leaving the house. Repeat your "leaving" routine without actually going out, and gradually your dog will become less anxious every time you pick up your keys, as it will no longer associate it with you leaving.
When you get home, don't be overly excited when you see your dog - at least, not until your dog has calmed down and has stopped jumping around. Your dog is very anxious for you to come home, and if you react in an overly excited manner you'll be sending the wrong message.
You'll be teaching your dog to miss you and rewarding it for assuming that it can't live without you by its side at all times. Just wait until your dog is calm before greeting it with affection.
Don't take your dog for a walk as soon as you arrive home. This would be too overwhelming for your dog. As with the greeting, wait a few minutes before taking your dog out for a walk.
You must educate your dog to understand that anxious behavior accomplishes nothing. Eventually it will stop associating your return with going for a walk and will become less and less stressed as it waits for you. Remember that the more anxious your dog becomes, the more likely it is to behave destructively and scratch the doors.
There are many useful methods to soothe your dog in your absence and stop them from scratching the doors or the furniture. You can play low music, which will break the silence and disguise any loud noises that might startle it. You can also use pheromone dispensers, to soothe your dog and keeping it happy and relaxed when left alone.
Our favorite method is to use a Kong for dogs to treat separation anxiety; this is a special kind of toy that holds treats inside. The dog will take quite a lot of time to reach them, which will sharpen its mind and keep it entertained.
Before you leave your dog alone for long hours, walk your dog every morning. Walking and exercising for a long time will mean that it uses a lot of energy and so it will be easier to relax and sleep when you get back home. If your dog is still very anxious, encourage it to lie down.
Do you have any advice on how to stop your dog from scratching the doors? Tell us in the comments section!
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to a vet if it has any type of condition or pain.
If you'd like to read similar articles to How to Stop my Dog from Scratching Doors, we recommend you browse around our Pets category.
- Remember that your dog is your responsibility, its behaviour is a result of how you have taught it. So, be patient and you'll soon see results.