How to Stop my Dog from Scratching Doors
To stop your dog from scratching doors, you need to teach them to behave while on their own. This can be a difficult task, especially if they have been doing it for a long time. Habitual behavior in dogs can prove to be difficult to change, but it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. If your dog scratches at doors, it may be an indication of separation anxiety. Some dogs become seriously distressed when left alone and scratching the door may be their attempt to express that they sorely miss you. This oneHOWTO article on how to stop my dog from scratching doors shows you what you need to do. In doing so you will have a more contented dog, a less stressed owner and a better bond between the two.
Our first tip to stop your dog from scratching doors is not going to be easy to follow. This is 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. It will also help you maintain a home without ruined furniture and a dog forever scratching your doors.
When you leave your dog alone, you might be overly affectionate before leaving to compensate for being apart. This can have a detrimental effect on your dog. The more affectionate you are before leaving, the more distressed it may feel in your absence. It can also make them feel like they are about to be played with or have some other interaction like going for a walk. This can get them riled up and make them frustrated when you leave after doing so. Scratching doors is a natural response to this.
If you want to stop your dog from scratching doors, show them affection when appropriate and keep your distance when not. This will help them to spend time on their own without stressing over your whereabouts.
To prevent your dog scratching doors, 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. This will help them understand 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. Trust is important between a pet and their owner. If your dog trusts you they'll know that just because you are withholding affection, it doesn't mean they have done anything wrong. After, they should behave accordingly and desist from scratching your doors.
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 may even cry. We know it's hard to do, but it's the best way of stopping your dog from suffering needlessly when you're gone. It will also help stop your dog from scratching 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. Gradually your dog will become less anxious every time you pick up your keys. They 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. 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. Scratching doors is often a way for a dog to try to convey that they miss you. Just wait until your dog is calm before greeting it with affection. This will provide reassurance that they will be cared for without making them too needy.
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 stressed as it waits for you. Remember that the more anxious your dog becomes, the more likely it is to behave destructively and begin scratching the doors.
There are many useful methods to soothe your dog in your absence and stop them from scratching 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, 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. This is important as another reason your dog might be scratching doors is due to boredom.
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. The type of affection you show can be helpful. Rather than getting it over excited, you can give slow and long pets. This will help soothe the dog and help to prevent the kind of behavior which leads to scratching doors.
You will also need to make sure your dog's needs are being met. Sometimes a dog will scratch the door because it is lacking something. If they don't have good access to somewhere to defecate and urinate, it could contribute to their scratching. Ensure they are well fed and watered. It could be that they are being deprived and are doing it out of hunger. Bear in mind, however, that some dogs have bigger eyes than their bellies, so just because they beg for food, doesn't mean they are malnourished. Also make sure you have the right living space for your dog. If you have a place which is too small it might be leading to frustration in your dog.
Do you have any advice on how to stop your dog from scratching the doors? Tell us in the comments section!
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- 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.